Two years after the introduction of the Golf (called the Rabbit in North America) in 1974, Volkswagen made its project to reject a sports version. This is how the GTI was born. Ironically, while Volkswagen no longer sells the Golf in our market, the Golf GTI continues to satisfy a clientele of driving enthusiasts. Remember that the eighth-generation model arrives for the 2022 model year.
this winter, The Car Guide tested the 2022 Volkswagen Golf GTI on the roads of Quebec. Here is the full account of our impressions.
A machine that never runs out of breath
As has been the case for several generations, the hood of the Volkswagen GTI houses a turbocharged 4-cylinder engine. The small-block 2-liter makes 241 horsepower and 273 lb-ft. If the Golf GTI impresses with its power, it is mainly with its torque that it stands out. This mechanism represents at least the best of German engineering. Regardless of the version chosen, the buyer can opt for a six-speed manual transmission or a seven-speed dual-clutch DSG automatic transmission.
If the first will appeal to purists and fans of three-pedal driving, the second will attract people stuck in traffic every day. From lip service, we admit that the automatic is definitely more user-friendly for everyday use. However, manual transmission has a tendency to disappear and we recommend that you take advantage of it while it’s still there. Also, the Golf GTI’s transmission is well designed and works like a charm. This is a dilemma that awaits you!
The Golf GTI is a compact hatchback that doesn’t just have sporty pretensions. He is a real athlete. It drives, brakes and turns as it should. We really appreciate his agility. On the other hand, if you choose the 19-inch rims, you have to sacrifice a little comfort because the ride is firm. Additionally, we found the traction control system to be particularly distracting, making it more difficult to pull out of a parking lot when there’s a thin layer of ice or snow. Unlike the Golf R, the Golf GTI does not have four-wheel drive. You’ll have to dig into the center screen to deactivate the traction control system – don’t look for the physical button like in the old days…
Even if he has a heart in his belly, this car is anything but greedy. After more than 700 kilometers behind the wheel, the on-board computer showed a rating of only 8.3 L/100 km. For its part, Natural Resources Canada has announced a rating of 8.5 L/100 km with the automatic transmission. The manufacturer does not require the use of premium fuel (91 octane).
Too much technology on board?
Aesthetically, it’s hard to fault the Golf GTI. It was always evolutionary compared to the outgoing model and is still the case. With its emblematic red line between the hood and front bumper, its minimal GTI badges, its exhaust outlets as well as its specific rims, the Golf GTI maintains a sober and sporty appearance that is slightly deviating from regular Golf. Exactly, about the rims, whether the basic versions and Autobahn or the Performance, they inspire us. It’s all a matter of taste.
On board, on the other hand, Volkswagen wants to change the Golf GTI and distinguish it from the seventh generation model. From now on, it is equipped with fully digital instrumentation. Goodbye physical needles! The dashboard and the infotainment system are combined. Note that we noticed abnormal delays when browsing the multimedia system. Also, the rare physical buttons placed on its base are easy to manipulate accidentally. In other words, there are gaps in terms of technology, but also of ergonomics.
While the leather seats in the Vienna are elegant and comfortable, we love the plaid fabric seats, a true symbol of this model.
Your wallet will hurt
In 2023, everything is expensive and the Golf GTI is no exception. In its basic version, it is offered from $34,759. With a finance rate of 7.79%, it will cost you $807 per month (taxes included) over five years. At the top of the range, we find the Performance version with the DSG box at $43,559. Monthly payments will be $1012 if you finance it over five years at a rate of 7.79% (taxes included).
In conclusion, the Volkswagen Golf GTI is a sporty compact that has shone with its many capabilities for decades. To the delight of driving enthusiasts, it has survived the abandonment of the ordinary Golf in North America. Long live the Golf GTI!