Volkswagen Golf GTI
road test

This car excites and delights on every outing!

Have you ever noticed how some cars are more enjoyable than others? The new Volkswagen Golf GTI is one such car! It's a car to be enjoyed and then enjoyed even more as you explore its potential. You immediately gain this impression from the first sense of motion in this car. Let me tell you ..... this is a feeling you only get in a handful of cars. The new GTI is one such car. The first 100 metres is sufficient to give you a lasting impression. And that impression tells you that you are going to enjoy driving this car. The 2 litre turbo engine is a wonderful power plant. It provides exceptionally useful acceleration. The acoustics are good too! The DSG transmission in the test car was superb! It's an excellent match for this engine.

The 2 litre FSI Turbo is Volkswagen's first turbocharged direct injection engine. A brief look at the details tells you that it has four valves per cylinder, double overhead camshafts, common rail fuel injection system. It emits low exhaust emissions which are compliant with Euro IV limits. The recommended fuel type is premium unleaded of the 98 RON variety. Power is rated at 147kw @ 5,100 rpm and torque is an impressive 280Nm @ 1,800 to 5,000 rpm. You can expect a 0 to 100 km/h time of around 7.2 seconds (manufacturer's figures). Based on these details, is it any wonder that my time with the GTI was so enjoyable?

But the GTI is much more than a great engine. The GTI comes standard with a six-speed manual gearbox. But the test car was fitted with the optional six-speed DSG (Direct Shift Gearbox) automatic transmission. This is an excellent gearbox. It pre-selects the next gear and thus the gearbox is ready and waiting for the driver to change gear (when driving in manual mode). When driving in automatic mode, the gearbox acts, as you would expect, as an automatic! And for those who want 'paddles', there are steering wheel mounted paddles for a sporty drive. Personally, I prefer either the auto or, for spirited driving, I would rather use the manual shifter (conventional up-down shifter). For me, paddles are best used in canoes! By the way, DSG changes gear faster than the anyone could ever hope to do!

On the road, the GTI delights the driver with a firmish (but not harsh) ride matched to predictable handling, superb steering, excellent brakes and good traction from the front-wheel drive. These attributes promote a feeling of complete satisfaction. The spirited performance mentioned above is self-inflicted when you approach hilly terrain. The sound of the exhaust invites higher revs as you enjoy the delights of this superbly sorted car.

Behind the wheel, only one conclusion could be reached ..... and every time it was the same conclusion ..... this motoring editor wished the chosen route was longer!

Another great feature of the Golf GTI is the pricing structure. The Australian automotive market is highly competitive as we all know. The price of the new GTI proves it! The manual is priced from $39,990 (RRP) and the automatic is $42,290 (RRP). In my view, these prices represent excellent value.

The test car was fitted with the optional leather seat package ($2,990) which includes electrically heated front sports seats with electric lumbar adjustment, electrically-operated glass sunroof ($1,890) and satellite navigation system ($2,990). These options lift the price considerably, but oh what a car!

The test car was coloured Tornado Red. It was admired by many, just as you would expect. Other choices include Candy White and three optional colours, Reflex Silver Metallic, Shadow Blue Metallic and Black Magic Pearl Effect.

Volkswagen Golf GTI

Volkswagen Golf GTI
Location: Manning Point NSW

Click the image for a larger view

Volkswagen Golf GTI

Volkswagen Golf GTI
Location: Manning Point NSW

Click the image for a larger view

Volkswagen sales are booming. The new 5th generation Golfs are playing a major part in VWs recent sales successes. You can be sure that the GTI will support Volkswagen's desire for even more sales. Packages which are presented as desirable as the Golf GTI are always going to find a good home!

But the engine, gearbox, drivability and pricing of the new Golf are only part of the story. The Golf GTI is a complete package. There can be no doubt about this fact!

At 4.2 metres long, the Golf cannot be considered a big car. But it is well designed as it provides an excellent driving position and comfortable accommodation for 4 adults. There is seating for five, but to maintain reasonable comfort, as is the case in all small cars, the fifth person needs to be a child. Luggage space is quite reasonable. We've loaded 3 adults with more than enough luggage into a Golf quite easily. Although luggage for five may be a tight squeeze.

The GTI is well equipped. Standard features include alloy wheels, power steering, tinted windows, dual zone climate control air conditioning, cruise control, auto dimming interior rear-view mirror, electrically operated heated external rear view mirrors, trip computer, remote locking and 6-disc in-dash stacker with the audio system.

Sporty touches include rear spoiler, dual exhaust (chrome tips), aluminium pedals and footrest, aluminium/leather gear knob, sports front seats (with side bolsters) and, importantly, sports performance which people will notice!

Safety equipment includes air bags all-round (just as expected in this market segment), anti-lock brakes, electronic stability programme including electronic differential lock, front fog lights, rear fog lamp and anti-slip regulation (traction control).

Certainly no-one can complain about the equipment levels of the new Golf GTI. The equipment levels are just right.

Volkswagen Golf GTI

Volkswagen Golf GTI
Location: Taree NSW

Click the image for a larger view

The Volkswagen Golf GTI is a very welcome addition to the Australian car market. It's stylish presence is only exceeded by the excellent engine and transmission combination. Equipment levels are just right for the market segment. And the pricing is sufficient to frighten some competitors. But best of all, the GTI is an excellent drive. It's a car which excites and delights on every outing.

Stephen Walker
12th September, 2005


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Other Golf GTI articles

Golf GTI Engine Awarded Engine of the Year
24th June, 2005
Volkswagen's 2.0 FSI Turbo engine, the power behind the Golf GTI, has been awarded engine of the year in the 1.8 to 2.0 class at the International Engine Of The Year Awards ..... more

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The equal fastest bowler in World Cricket today, Brett Lee, now drives Volkswagen’s hottest and latest offering, the Golf GTI ..... more

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We're amongst the first to drive the new Volkswagen Golf GTI in Australia     more

Volkswagen Golf GTI
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The new GTI arrives with a real blast and it is priced from just $39,990 (RRP) ..... more

All New Volkswagen Golf GTI
3rd March, 2005
The 'Red Hot' new Volkswagen Golf GTI has made its Australian debut at the Melbourne International Motor Show 2005 after already showing unprecedented sales success in both Europe and Great Britain ..... more

New Volkswagen Golf GTI for 2005
2nd September, 2004
The Golf GTI remains in the news with the announcement of the 5th generation GTI's pending appearance at the Paris Motor Show. It'll be in Australia mid-2005. As expected, we publish the first images in Australia, ahead of major media players ..... more

Volkswagen Golf GTI
1st September, 2004
A British car magazine has proclaimed the original VW Golf GTI as the greatest car of all time! Meanwhile, expect to see the 5th generation Golf GTI appear at this months Paris Motor Show. This new model will be available in Australia mid-2005 ...... more


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