VW resurrects the sporty diesel Golf

Our Verdict

Volkswagen Golf GTD

The Volkswagen Golf GTD, VW’s fleet-flavoured hot hatch, has the Golf usual charms and a little added dynamic appeal – but it still lacks edge

4 June 2009

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.

Join the debate

Comments
34

8 June 2009

[quote Autocar]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.[/quote]

What was the GT TDi then?

I used to have a Mk5 GT TDi.

 

 

It's all about the twisties........

8 June 2009

[quote Autocar]

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.

[/quote]

Sorry Greg but this is such sloppy journalism. Its reads like an extract from the VW press release.

How exactly is this model so groundbreaking when VW has been offering a GT TDI 170bhp since 2005? Ok, so the engine is now common-rail rather than pump duse and the suspension has been slightly re-tuned but other than the questionable bodykit this car offers nothing new. It certainly does not warrant the extremely ambitious price or GTD tag which should have been saved for a 2.0 TDi Twin-Turbo with 200bhp+.

Its interesting how you say: "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". The Audi TT with this engine has Quattro as standard as engineers believed 258lb ft of torque impaired the driveability too much when all put through just the front wheels.

Oh, and while we are on the subject consider this:

An Audi TT TDi 170 costs just over £3000 more than this car and for that you get standard 4WD, an aluminum spaceframe chassis and much more style.

Or if you prefer how about a Scirocco TDI 170 (inc adaptive dampers) for £21755?

Both far more desirable. I cant see how you can speak so highly of a car which is so blatantly overpriced and brings nothing new to the table.

Rant over ;-)

8 June 2009

Yeah, up until last year I had a GT TDi 168bhp which looked a bit like a GTi --- similar grille but without the red piping, GT badging on steering wheel, grille and rear, together with a nice set of alloys and sports seats, might have had 'sports' suspension too --- it might not have been called a 'GT TDI' but it was virtually as fast as this example and handled very tidily, only downpoint was that it was a bit noisy. I also ran the 138bhp for a while, same story but slower (0-60 in 9 seconds by memory) although still plenty rapid.

8 June 2009

IMO it doesn't look as good as the GTI version. With the exception of the GTI, I find the Golf a little bit dull to look at. I think it's too expensive but I've no doubt it will sell well (the previous 170bhp diesel sold well). I'm wondering why doesn't Ford do a fast diesel Focus to compete?

The comments section needs a makeover... how about a forum??

8 June 2009

Nice car, shame about the price.

VW you gotta knock 3 grand off the retail price of this thing, before it can be considered decent value for money.

8 June 2009

I am quite impressed with VW at the moment. We are in a bad economic climate and yet they are just making their market wider by the minute - especially the Golfs! Again the looks are pretty good but maybe they should change the style more because I find the Golfs to very similar. Obviously you can't change it fully but something more than this.

8 June 2009

Yeah waay too over priced. I really don't under stand why people love these cars...

8 June 2009

"There’s a determined nature to the handling, along with impressive body control."

Reads to me as:

Understeer. Too much weight over the front wheels. Determined to get you round but can't quite.

Now I have never driven one of these in anger so I can't really comment on the handling traights but a number of you have been impressed with the previous full fat GT TDi (they have now removed the T and i to save weight!). So the "determined" handling might not mean that it is battling understeer.

However I could see this running as a better proposition:

A 200+ BHP unit (as already suggested) plus the R32 running gear to handle the torque. That should turn out to be an even sharper tool, especially if it had a rear bias.

Position that at around the £23k mark?

Golf R GTD

(BTW why are the emissions so high?)

Back to FWD Sad

8 June 2009

the far better proposition is the 1.4 GT which is quicker to 60mph and has a higher top speed and has better handling. and is £18,600 compared to the diesels £21,850. can always use some of that £3250 spare cash to get some dealer options.

8 June 2009

If only it were about £1,500 cheaper then it might have carried over most of the appeal of the Mk5 GT TDi 170. Unfortunately now it's just too expensive.

Both the SEAT Leon FR TDi and the Skoda Octavia vRS TDi offer you about 95% of the GTD for about 85% of the price. Or if they're not upmarket enough for you then how about a Scirocco with the same engine and more equipment yet lower list price? Then there's the top of the range Audi A3 S-Line for only £1,200 more?

Two items of sloppy journalism in the main article. I don't recall there being a GTD in the Mk4 range. The Mk4 had a GT TDi just like the Mk5 did. Also why tell us about the test car having optional 18 inch wheels, yet show us pictures of a car riding on the standard 17 inchers?

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