• Sheer joy in VW Golf GTI Performance

    by  • April 2, 2014 • Car Reviews, Test Drives

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    2014 Volkswagen Golf GTI Performance exterior front left static

    The Volkswagen Golf GTI Performance marries practicality with driving pleasure

    How about 0-100kph in 6.4 seconds in a car you’d be comfortable bringing to any occasion? Meet the Volkswagen Golf GTI Performance (Mark 7).

    It’s a fabulous car. While it’s not particularly good looking, it is stunning to drive.

    Those in the know will recognise the GTI badge, the large red GTI brake calipers and the double exhausts on the outside.

    Inside, they’ll spot the tartan upholstery, red stitching and the golf ball gear knob. The large flat bottomed steering wheel also carries the GTI logo.

    Expect approving looks and thumbs up from strangers.

    The 2.0litre 230bhp test car was fitted with the performance pack, which optimises steering response and makes the car feel more planted on the ground, as well as adding 10bhp to the output.

    I loved the drive in the regular Golf Mk7 so I was expecting great things from the GTI – and it delivered.

    2014 Volkswagen Golf GTI Performance interior cockpit

    The cockpit in the VW Golf GTI is driver friendly

    I found myself on more than one occasion taking the long way home in this six-speed manual and it was so much fun on the mountains we spent double the time there that we usually do.

    With its ordinary looks and powerful engine, the Golf GTI can fit in at any occasion, driving as serenely or as ostentatiously as you like.

    In traffic, the Golf GTI Performance runs along as quietly and composed as any normal car – it even has Start/Stop technology for extra fuel efficiency.

    However, put your foot down on the open road and the hot hatch springs into action and you hear the grown of the engine and feel the sheer exhilaration of 0-120kph in seconds.

    I was also very impressed with it on winding roads, as it allows you to take bends precisely and with ease.

    The suspension was great and the car was also very stable, feeling very much like a four wheel drive.

    And for the everyday, it’s a pleasant place to be. The seats are comfortable, legroom is great in the front and quite adequate in the back.

    The boot, which has a removable shelf, is a decent size. It can be extended by easily lowering the rear seats.

    The back seat is big enough for two average sized adults, and the middle seat converts to a pull down armrest with two cup holders.

    There’s also a reading light for rear passengers and a ski hatch through to the boot.

    2014 Volkswagen Golf GTI Performance interior gearstick

    The gear stick in the VW Golf GTI carries the distinctive golf ball knob

    In the cockpit, the analog dials in the instrument panel are big so you have no problem seeing exactly what speed you’re doing. There’s also a digital speed readout.

    The cruise control was also very good. Operated from the steering wheel, it was always on, easy to use and kept the set speed if you changed gear.

    The large touchscreen infotainment controller, meanwhile, gives an uncluttered centre console.

    The USB and aux ports are housed in a covered cubby at the base and the actual CD player/infotainment unit is hidden away in the glove box.

    Sound quality was excellent and I found it easy to hook up my phone and to stream music.

    I was delighted to find that the overhead sunglasses storage could fit my oversized sunnies (most don’t). There were also other decent sized cubbies scattered through the cabin.

    The things I didn’t like about this car are few and far between, however, I have to mention the air conditioning and my constant bugbear, the electric parking brake.

    I found the manual air conditioning hard to regulate – it was either too hot or too cold.

    While the electric parking brake functioned perfectly well (and there was also an auto hold button) I felt that the light didn’t stay on long enough for you to visually check that you’d engaged it when leaving the car.

    Those minor gripes aside, I found the Golf GTI to be excellent. It’s versatile enough to work as the sensible everyday family motor but it will bring a big smile to your face on pleasure jaunts.

    The Golf GTI Performance is truly a fun car to drive and I absolutely loved it.

    The Volkswagen Golf GTI Performance is available now, with prices starting from €35,845. Options in the five-door test car included 18″ Austin alloys and Bi-Xenon headlights. It cost €40,039.

    The Volkswagen Golf GTI is the Irish Performance Car of the Year 2014.

    Tech Spec
    Engine: 2.0TSI 230bhp (petrol)
    Acceleration: 0-100kph in 6.4seconds
    Maximum Speed: 250kph
    CO2 emissions: 139g/km
    Combined fuel economy: 6l/100km
    Annual road tax: €280

    Visit the Volkswagen Ireland website or its Facebook page for further details.