VW Golf GTi 2.0TSI 210 3dr16 | 08 | 2010Scotcars rating

    It's the model which sparked a whole new generation of fun, and the latest GTi still shines

    IT MAY BE more than 30 years since a secret project among a group of Volkswagen engineers in the early 1970s created the original Golf GTi, but even now the letters GTi generally get the hairs on the back of any driver’s neck tingling.

    Thank goodness then that VW’s original plans to build a short production run of just 5000 of the MkI models was ripped up after the car’s immediate success. That success continues today with the latest GTi, the MkVI which boasts a number of significant changes and improvements concealed under the car’s freshened body image.

    Of course, a GTi has to stand apart from the other Golfs in the range and the latest model does so with a number of immediately apparent styling cues, including angular headlamps which contain unique inner graphics and are neatly offset by a shiny black honeycomb grille. The look is further enhanced by the car’s front bumper and integrated splitter.

    Sharp styling

    The mean, sporty look gets further attention with the addition of black extensions to the car’s side sills, chromed tail pipes are now housed in the GTi’s deeper rear bumper and there’s a spoiler is mounted above the rear window.

    The sharp styling continues when you ease yourself into the cabin which is an enhanced version of the excellent compartment found across the whole of the MkVI Golf range. And not only do the heavily cushioned seats support and secure your body well, but cloth-trimmed versions have a homage to the neo-tartan patterns that once featured in GTis of the Eighties.

    As you would expect of anything coming out of the Volkswagen Group, everything you touch in the cabin has that feeling of longevity, robustness and high quality. It really is a very pleasurable place to sit. But while GTis are obviously good to look at and sit in, they’re built to be driven; and the latest model is as comfortable tootling round town during the week as scampering cross-country the way GTis were intended.

    It's definitely no slouch

    Ok, we’re not going to get bogged down in techno-speak here (we’ll leave that to Messrs Clarkson, Hammond and May at Top Gear), but I can’t roadtest the new GTi without at least referring to what’s under the bonnet.

    While, at least on paper, the GTi’s turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engine is the same as that found in its predecessor — even down to its bore and stroke — it’s not. This latest engine boasts a 10hp increase over the old GTi taking it up to 207bhp and revs up to 5300, that’s an increase of 200rpm.

    As you would expect, it’s no slouch. This latest GTi will hit 62mph from standstill in 6.9sec in manual guise and tops-out at a highly illegal 149mph. It even does it’s bit for the environment (at least in terms of the hothatch brigade) by producing CO2 figures of 170g/km — that’s 54g/km less than a Focus ST.

    Out on the open road — a six-speed manual gearbox is standard, but VW’s six-speed DSG double-clutch unit is an option — the GTI’s well honed suspension provides the sort of sharpness and response all hothatch customers demand. Just for good measure, the body has been lowered by 22mm at the front and 15mm at the rear as a result of its firmer spring and damper rates.

    More than 30 years after the GTi was born, and with prices now starting at £24,250 for the three-door — the five-door is an extra £585 — it’s still difficult to ignore. More refined it may be, but the Golf GTi still oozes all the sporting character which made it famous.

    Jim McGill

    Quick Stats
    Price OTR/As Tested £24,250 / £25,950
    Engine / Power: 1998cc / 208bhp
    How fast?: 0-60 mph 6.9secs, Max 149mph
    How big/heavy?: H1479mm W2048mm L4199mm / 1230kg
    How thirsty/CO2?: Combined 38.7mpg / CO2 170g/km
    InsGP/Road tax: 34 /
    Alternatives: Ford Focus ST, VW Scirocco, Vauxhall Astra VXR

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