What is it?
The GTD has been omnipresent on the road since its introduction in 2009, mainly because it has always been cheaper to buy and run than the GTI but hardly any slower on the road.
In fact, it's arguable that any other car capitalised so effectively on our addiction to easy-access torque during the turbodiesel era. Throw in some understated but recognisable GTI styling cues and you have a runaway success.
In 2021, it’s unlikely the latest Golf GTD will outshine its GTI sibling quite so brazenly as it has in the past, if at all. However, this has little to do with the intrinsic ability of the Mk8 product and everything to do with the PR crisis engulfing diesel, because on paper the GTD is better than ever (if also at little more expensive).
Power has risen 16bhp to 197bhp, torque is up 15lb ft to 295lb ft, and while the new WLTP economy regime means direct comparisons with the old NEDC-assessed GTD are impossible, the new 2.0-litre Evo engine’s two SCR filters with dual AdBlue injection should make the car cleaner in terms of NOx emissions. (The official WLTP figure is 54.3mpg – some way in excess of the GTI’s 38.0mpg combined.)
Elsewhere, the you'll find the same MacPherson struts at the front and multi-link rear suspension arrangements used by the GTI, controlled by passive dampers as standard but with the option of Volkswagen's adaptive DCC dampers, which cost £945.