BEHIND THE WHEEL: Volkswagen Golf GTI

MONDAY OCTOBER 14, 2013
Shiang
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After putting down November's issue of Top Gear magazine that celebrates 20 years of automotive journalism featuring 50 of their greatest cars. At #2, a not surprising at all year 2005's Golf GTI. It was a car that I've always wanted as my first car after getting my driver's license but it was deemed too swift by my old man therefore too dangerous for my own good. In hopes to relive some of the true spirits of the GTI, I had to have a go in VW's latest reincarnation to the model.

 

The 3-door is available for the first time alongside the 5-door but the one with less doors should be ignore since its features has been stripped down to having just a shell to the car. If you like adaptive chassis and electric powered leather seats called the Tech Pack which I believe is a necessity, that's another 10 to 220 thousand asking price. You could still spend another 3 to have your GTI riding on 19" wheels that does well in showing off not to your spine. What's missing is the Performance Pack that adds 10 hp, bigger brakes and most importantly a mechanical front differential.

PRO

Looks and feel expensive

Telepathic gearshifts

Overall comfort

Noise

CON

Some heart has been leaked away

Pricier than before

SPECIFICATION

3.8-litre flat-six

400hp 440Nm

7-speed PDK

0-100 km/h: 4.1s

Top speed: 302 km/h

From RM 930,000

GOLF GTI rim

First impression was that it is genuinely, genuinely comfortable. Way more comfy than life in an Audi A4 S-line where both wear 18 inchers. That's that, so what does 6.5 seconds to a hundred feel like? Pretty quick but not as I hoped for it to be. Loaded with 3 people it did not make me want to go faster than a hundred and 40 where in the Mk V, I topped 200. And it is not because that it lacks in firepower but I have grown a lot older than I used to be and so as the GTI. It might be also because I now have driven way a lot more cars than I did but the Mk V remains as something I still regret for not having.

 " The unobtrusive ESP, driver focused involvement is the reasonwhy I've always been lusting for the Golf 5 GTI "

Nothing wrong with the engine, transmission and exhaust because the GTi has always been a wonderfully mixed packaging performance and practicality. You still get the exciting 'thud' from up shifts but it would be delightful if the DSG were to have 7 speeds. On full-throttle, the latest GTI pulls through sharp corners very linearly meaning with the upgraded differential, it would only do wonders to this hot hatch. There was no over or understeer thus making it a car for anyone who wishes to go fast. The GTI is all about its drive because I could think of nothing much to praise of this Golf. Perhaps its new 18" Austin wheels look real good. And I like the looks and the weight to the new steering wheel.

golf gti interior

What I dislike most about the latest Golf is that it is not exactly pretty. It looks inexpensive and inferior for a car from its price range. Fortunately, the GTi treatment managed to hide some of the Golf hideousness. The material used in the GTi was alright but it kept me wishing that it was a little better. It felt like VW are leaving a bigger gap between their brand and Audi on purpose just to sway buyers to either side not hovering on both. I also didn't like the fact that it has 5 driving modes. Instead of the usual modes Comfort, Normal and Sport, now there's Individual where the car can be tailored to your liking which is great. Then there's this Eco mode which makes it 5 to choose from. To me, there are just one too many.

golf gti front

All in all, the Mk 7 GTi is what I'd pick over a 320i, C200 or even an A4 for a budget of under two hundred and 50. Sure what I'm pitting against in no hot hatch but considerably practical small family sedans. Well let's not forget, practicality is overrated because how often do we completely fill our boots? A car ownership should be something enjoyable like living with someone because when it isn't anymore, it's time to get another. So why do people buy in the colour that they dislike just to please the next owner of the car? Why do people buy brands that car considered as 'safe bets' in hopes to get a greater resale value.  My only concern is that, do you marry someone just for the ability to conceive a child?

 

The Mk 6 is just minor improvements that diluted a little of fun but after sobering from driving the Mk 7, it may just made me wanting for a GTI once more.

golf gti front
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