Car reviewed is based on Australian Specified model and may differ to that available in your country of residence.
The Easter long weekend afforded an opportunity to take Golf GTI out on a country sprint through some twisty South Australian back roads to the picturesque seaside village of Port Elliot.
We travelled up the South Eastern Freeway out of the city of Adelaide towards Mount Barker, a sleepy hamlet situated in the Mount Lofty Ranges 33 km away. From there 70km of mouth watering B-roads await us, cutting through beautiful vineyards and country sides along the way.
The GTI was in its element the moment the road opens up. One of the car’s highlights is its 280Nm of torque, which is available from just 1700rpm and pulls strongly up to around 5500rpm.
The blissfully quiet ride on the freeway quickly turns into ferocious rumble on rippled country roads which can become a little tiredsome after a while. It is a different story with the engine note though. The low frequency deep burble when the throttle is opened is rather addictive and it drives you to floor the right pedal at every opportunity. The only sound competing with the melodious exhaust notes is the car’s excellent 300W Dynaudio sound system. Pity it is a $1,100 option.
Our car is fitted with a good old fashion 6-speed manual gearbox. The shift is smooth and together with a light and sharp clutch with short travel, it is the pick for drivers out there. As you hit your first corner, the heavily weighted steering wheel will invoke an unmistakable smile on your face. The perfectly weighted steering allows you to punt the car around a corner like a go cart, yet in city car parks it’s light enough to make parking effortless.
Powering out of a corner is a tidy affair with very little body roll, even on 2/3 of throttle application. This is helped by the car’s clever Extended Electronic Differential Lock (XDL). The system uses the electronic stability control’s hydraulics to apply pressure to the wheel on the inside of the corner to maintain traction.In most front wheel drive cars, torque is sent to the wheel that’s under least load. This causes wheel spin and results in understeer, not in the Golf.
Grip from the 225/40 Continental Conti Sport 2 tyres are also impressive. Torque steer is almost non-existance in the GTI, a remarkable accomplishment by Volkswagen for a front-wheel-drive car. The car’s ride is firm without being harsh – a perfect compromise between sportiness and comfort. It is this Jekyll and Hyde character that makes the Golf GTI a superb all rounder and the benchmark for hot hatches, even after 3 years.
Fuel consumption for this month averaged around 8l/100km with just over 1000km on the odometer, a drop of just over 2l/100km compared to last month when the car was brand new. This includes roughly 70% city driving.
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