Want a new car that doesn’t give off the “over-40 Dad” vibe but is still enjoyable to drive every single day? Meet your new whip.
Model: Golf GTI Autobahn
Model Year: 2015
Base MSRP: $24,785
MSRP as Tested: $30,865
Engine: 2.0 Liter turbocharged inline-four cylinder with a 6-speed manual
Power: 210 horsepower at 4,500 rpm and 258 lb-ft of torque at 1,500 rpm
- A more robust low end power curve
- Every-day comfortable
- Satiates the gearhead
- When hustled the 6-speed shifter gets flustered and rubbery
- Clutch is softer than we’d like for a performance vehicle
- Infotainment system lacked USB port for a universal phone connection
Volkswagen’s GTI has been loved by hot hatch enthusiasts for years. It rides the fine line between every day comfort and sports car performance that has intrigued buyers and kept them coming back for generations. For 2015, the GTI is all new and in its 7th generation. We take it for a spin and find how well this “red-rocket” handles the road.
The 2015 redesign has more aggressive styling. Compared to the standard Golf, the front fascia looks menacing.
Smooth character lines and a low sleek profile are classic, youthful, and confident. We can all agree: the GTI is a looker.
Inside, the GTI has a lot of appeal. Our Autobahn edition came with full leather seats, a navigation system, 12-way power drivers seat, and a 6-speed manual. A large panoramic sunroof helps offset the overly dark feeling interior.
This generation’s 10-extra horsepower and a large increase in torque is noticeable when accelerating out of corners.
The classic GTI badge along with a custom lower front fascia, dual exhaust, and a classic red-striped grille sets it apart from the mundane “regular” Golf.
Low slung doesn’t mean uncomfortable. The GTI didn’t beat us up, no matter how bad the roads were broken up.
The GTI’s interior is now slightly bigger with an emphasis on shoulder room. A brand new touch-screen infotainment system featuring gesture control and full-color driver-information-center keep you in the loop.
If you’re patient, later this year Volkswagen plans to offer a performance package for the GTI that includes a torque sensing limited slip differential, larger brakes, and another 10-horsepower.
Sometimes it’s hard to believe a four cylinder could sound this nice but this GTI actually satisfies. 210-horsepower from a polished 2.0L turbocharged engine completes the package. Don’t miss the classic red GTI stripe grille.
Planted on rails. That is the phrase that best describes the GTI. We never ran out of grip on any of New Hampshire’s winding back roads.
The vehicle mode selection button offers three options to suit your driving style. Sport, Normal, and a customized individual setting where you can mix and match throttle and steering feel. The all new push button start satisfyingly brings the direct injected TSI engine to life.
Bespoke 18-inch GTI wheels sit in front of red-painted brake calipers. Needless to say, we never felt nervous driving deep into corners.
The GTI’s footprint, wheelbase, and profile have been tweaked for 2015. It is longer, wider, and of a shorter stature than its predecessor.
While our test example came with the standard halogen headlights and LED fog lights, you can option out your own GTI with Bi-Xenon headlights and LED running lights for $995.
Our Autobahn edition GTI came with a clever backup camera that hides behind the VW logo when not in use. Unfortunately, you can hear its electric motor operating loudly.
There is no doubt that the GTI started the trend of hot hatches. So, we appreciate the 2015 model has been redesigned by adding to what makes it great, while not straying from its classic features. It’s sporty, classy, and doesn’t need the spoilers or bulging vents you’ll find on other competitive vehicles. Volkswagen focused on refinement, while still maintaining the original recipe that makes the GTI so great