What is it?
This is the new Golf GTD – Volkswagen’s new performance diesel. The German car maker seemed to have forgotten about the Golf GTD, the first car to combine the likeable attributes of a diesel in a performance-orientated chassis.
Not seen in the UK since the Mk4 Golf, this once sought-after model has been a glaring omission from its line-up for well over a decade.
But with the new, sixth-generation Golf comes the long-awaited return of the GTD.
What’s it like
The car runs the top-spec version of Volkswagen’s 2.0-litre common-rail diesel, a unit that’s new to the Golf.
Its 168bhp and 258lb ft of torque are a lot to send through the front wheels, but even without the XDS electronic differential recently brought to the new Golf GTI the new GTD still manages to place it all on the road cleanly and efficiently.
Even so, this is no rocketship. With a kerb weight of 1404kg, the GTD’s acceleration is no match for the GTI’s, at 8.1sec versus 6.9sec in six-speed twin-clutch guise.
Where it does hold an advantage is at the pumps, where a combined 50.4mpg translates to an overall range of over 600 miles from the 55-litre tank.
The GTD’s chassis has been tuned along the lines of the GTI’s, and it shows. There’s a determined nature to the handling, along with impressive body control. And with adaptive damping, the ride feels every bit as smooth and composed as standard Golf models.
The GTD looks the part, too. Styling changes include a deeper front bumper with larger cooling ducts, new headlamp graphics, chrome highlights in the grille, wider sills, a hatchback spoiler and a revised rear bumper with twin chromed tailpipes nestled together on the left-hand side.
Further visual attitude comes through a 15mm reduction in ride height and, on our test car, optional 18-inch alloys shod with 225/40 ZR18 Dunlop SP Sport Maxx tyres. Standard versions of the GTD receive less flashy 17-inchers.
Should I buy one?
Throw in one of the best-quality cabins of any mass-produced car and you’ve got a hugely appealing package. But with a price of £23,020 in five-door guise, it will take a big diesel fan to choose the GTD over the similarly specified £23,740 GTI.