The original Volkswagen Golf GTi may not have been the very first of the hot hatches, but it is undoubtedly the most recognized. Known to many simply as The GTi, it has become one of the most enduring automotive icons of the last thirty-plus years – and for very good reasons.
Performance For Everyone
The secret to the GTi’s longevity is its remarkable all-round ability. Volkswagen may have refined the car over the decades, smoothing out the rough spots and adding ever-greater levels of comfort and equipment, but you don’t have to look very hard to find the boy-racer lurking beneath the cultured surface.
It will handle the rigours of day-to-day family life without missing a beat. Safe, sure-footed and dependable in all weathers. Yet, should the mood take you, you can also get the adrenalin coursing when the loved ones aren’t looking. Such a competent driving machine is unlikely to let you get into serious trouble – the steering is superb and tuned ever-so-slightly to the cautious side of understeer – but you can still kid yourself that you could have taught Vettel or Hamilton a thing or two, if you’d only had the same chances…
This Year’s Model?
Part of what makes this car so good is the process of evolution, rather than revolution. Like its predecessors, the 2014 GTi benefits from incremental improvements rather than radical changes that might upset the fine balancing act the vehicle achieves.
In the pursuit of better fuel economy, this GTi is not just lighter, but also incorporates the stop-start engine technology that can have a surprisingly dramatic impact on consumption. As every enthusiastic driver would hope, there’s also more power. The two-litre TFSI motor delivers 220 horsepower and 258 feet-pounds of torque which, importantly, is available nice and low down the rev range. This guarantees you get crisp response to right-foot input, particularly in the middle gears when you want instant acceleration for rapid, safe overtaking maneuvers.
Power is delivered via either six-speed manual or the impressive six-speed dual-clutch system. If standard acceleration of 0-60 in six point five seconds and a top speed of 152 mph aren’t quite enough for you, there’s a Performance Pack available that will shave a tenth off the sprint and add two mph on the top end. You’ll also get a torque-sensitive limited slip diff to combat any tendency to loose traction through wheel-spin, plus vented disks to haul you back to legal speeds if you get a bit over-exuberant.
That the 2014 GTi is based on the every-day Golf is never in doubt, but even a quick glance tells you that this is something a bit special. The 17-inch alloys give it away – and the red brake calipers. The stance is that bit more purposeful. It’s telling you that while it’s perfectly capable of taking the kids to school and doing the shopping run, it would rather take you out and show you a good time. It would rather put some thrill back into your daily commute, or remind you of when you used to get into your car just for the sheer pleasure of going for a drive.
If those ideas appeal to you, but at the back of your mind there’s an insistent voice reminding you to be sensible then we’re happy to tell you that with the Volkswagen GTi you really can have your cake and eat it. Please form an orderly queue down at the local Volkswagen dealership and demand your slice.
About the author: Neil Hilden is a motoring enthusiast and amateur racing driver. He enjoys sharing his tips and stories through blogging. The Infinity is an up and coming tyre brand in the UK, visit the link to find out more.