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Review

 

Volkswagen Golf GT Sport

 

An exciting and new way to balance performance and economy


by Stephen Walker


22nd April, 2008

 

www.nextcar.com.au (copyright image)

When a car company gets itself into a situation where it can do no wrong, then the designers and engineers put themselves into a situation where the ideas and innovations are freely flowing. This in turn takes the company to the next level. And so it is with Volkswagen.

The VW Golf is already a winner. In fact, it always has been and, dare I say, always will be! In its fifth generation guise, the Volkswagen Golf has many attributes which attract a wide variety of buyers. The Golf line-up is vast, with numerous engine options. There are 4 cylinder petrol and diesel engines of varying sizes. There is also the 3.2 litre V6 in the overtly sporty Golf R32. The Golf has various model choices. And there are the Golf spin-off models, such as Beetle, Jetta, Eos, Caddy and even more in Europe, such as the Golf estate and Touran amongst others.

In addition to putting together excellent products, Volkswagen has been taking the challenge of fuel economy very seriously. Their research has them going down several paths at the present time. But today we look at how VW has an immediate solution to the conflicting concept of providing good performance with good fuel economy.

The new TSI technology, as Volkswagen call it, provides a 'twincharger' to boost performance. This, with the Golf GT Sport, provides a supercharger and a turbocharger for the little 1.4 litre 4 cylinder engine. European car makers see value in downsizing engines, hence the development of a 1.4 litre engine. Yet, it is important to consider that Volkswagen's 1.4 litre engine fitted with a twincharger provides more power than their 2 litre engine (125 kW vs 110 kW for the 2 litre). Such is the advancement that Volkswagen is making with improvements to fuel consumption. In simple terms, the little engine kicks the car along when a lot of power is not required. Then as more get up and go is demanded, the supercharger does its part when engine revolutions are low. Whilst the turbocharger plays its role when the revs are up. Simple really. Small engine to reduce fuel consumption, supercharger and turbocharger when you want some 'boost'. This is a development that other manufacturers will want to copy.

Pricing for the Volkswagen Golf GT Sport

Model
Recommended Retail Price* (RRP)
Golf GT Sport TSI 6 Speed Manual
$34,990
Golf GT Sport TSI 6 Speed DSG
$37,290
Golf GT Sport TDI 6 Speed Manual
$37,490
Golf GT Sport TDI 6 Speed DSG
$39,790

* Excludes dealer delivery and the various statutory charges.

The VW Golf GT Sport is a 5 door hatchback.

In the market place, the new Golf GT Sport sits above the 'regular' Golf hatchbacks and just below the excessively exciting Golf GTI.

Standard Equipment

Volkswagen equip their products quite well. The Volkswagen Golf GT Sport is no exception.

Importantly, Electronic Stabilisation Programme (ESP) and six airbags are standard. So, too, are 17" alloy wheels (with a space saver spare wheel), air conditioning, cruise control, trip computer, sports cloth seats, power windows and rain sensing windscreen wipers, amongst other features.

Options

Metallic/Pearl Effect Paint $690
Electric Glass Sunroof $1,890
Satellite Navigation (RNS510) $2,990
CD Changer (with RNS510 sat nav) $790
Bi-Xenon Headlights $1,890
Leather Upholstery $2,990
Parking Distance Sensors, rear $790
Anti-theft Alarm System $590

Technical features of the Volkswagen Golf GT Sport

As indicated above, the new 1.4 litre TSI engine is a highlight of this important new model for Volkswagen. The benefit of this technology is the engine's ability to provide good performance, whilst also providing efficient fuel use. Volkswagen wins on this occasion. Because the 1.4 litre TSI uses less fuel than VW's own 2 litre engine which offers a little less power. For example, the 1.4 litre manual GT Sport uses 7.7 litre/100 kms (combined cycle) compared to 8 litres per 100 kms by the Golf with a 2 litre petrol engine. In the automatic, the difference is even greater as the 1.4 uses 7.7 litres compared to the 2 litre's 8.6 litres. The environmental footprint is in favour of the Golf GT Sport with 1.4 litre TSI engine, with both the manual and automatic, emitting less CO2 than a Golf 2 litre petrol engine.

The 1.4 litre TSI engine requires the highly refined 98 RON premium unleaded fuel.

The 2 litre 125 kW TDI (diesel) engine offers even better fuel economy and, additionally, an even better environmental footprint. It uses just 6.3 litres per 100 kms in the manual version (on the combined cycle), whilst the DSG version uses just 6.6 litres per 100 kms.

All Volkswagen Golf engines meet Euro IV standards.

Engine and transmission choice

There is a choice of two engines for the Golf GT Sport. The increasingly popular 125 kW diesel (TDI) is one. However, the diesel is likely to be overlooked because the new 1.4 litre TSI 'twincharger' engine is just so appealing. It, also, offers 125 kW of power. However, torque is well and truly in favour of the 2 litre TDI engine (240 Nm with the TSI vs 350 Nm with the high performance TDI).

The transmission choice is easy, it is either manual or automatic. The manual is a 6-speed unit, which is absolutely superb to use. The automatic is the now famous 6-speed DSG unit, which first appeared with the Volkswagen Golf GTI 3 years ago. The 6-speed manual is fantastic, the DSG is even better, as it is a transmission which adds so much to the driving enjoyment. And that is because it operates incredibly well as an automatic and, as an manual, the DSG is so much fun because the sequential sports change is just so fast in processing the demand for a gear change.

Warranty

The warranty period is 3 years or 100,000 kms, with roadside assistance. Conditions apply, of course.

On the road in the new Volkswagen Golf GT Sport

www.nextcar.com.au (copyright image)

It's here that the Golf GT Sport really shines. For many drivers, it is a difficult task accepting that a 1.4 litre 4 cylinder engine will move a car the size of a Volkswagen Golf. But not only does the 1.4 twincharger engine move the Golf, it moves it very well indeed. If you didn't know the engine was just 1,400 cc you may well put yourself into a situation where you nominated a much higher figure as your suggestion of the engine size. But there's more ..... (we're told we always want more) the little 1.4 twincharger has a very nice exhaust note. And the car is great to drive, offering the driver some true enjoyment behind the wheel. Both gearbox are a delight to use, yes, even the manual is a good thing. Handling, steering, braking and roadholding are very suitable for both urban and long distance driving. The usual VW Golf attributes such as roominess (relative to external dimensions) and comfort are present. Additionally, all controls are user friendly in the finest Volkswagen tradition.

We'll do some complete road tests on this exciting new addition to the popular VW Golf line-up.

Conclusion

The Volkswagen Golf GT Sport, fitted with an exceptional 1.4 litre twincharger engine, is one mighty enjoyable car. That's from the driver's point of view and, also, from an environmentally conscious perspective. The concept is brilliant, in fact. And the drive is even better!



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Other Volkswagen content: here.


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