VW has found a close to ideal balance between the Golf GTI’s ride and handling in all normal situations, although the test car came with optional Adaptive Chassis Control which, gallingly, is standard on the cheaper Scirocco. Unlike some others systems where the differences are either too small to spot or so big that either the ride or handling becomes unacceptable, the Golf just feels pleasantly taut in Sport mode and commensurately relaxed in Comfort.
The trick differential works very well too, giving the GTI an unlikely degree of traction even at the exit of wet roundabouts, without causing more than a vestigial degree of torque steer.
Grip levels are predictably excellent, as is the car’s composure as it flows from apex to apex. The car may be 23mm wider than the old Golf but its steadfast refusal ever to become ungainly even with the electronics disabled means that, at public road speeds, you never find yourself using a millimetre more room than you anticipated.
But again, having got the fundamentals spot on, Volkswagen has not managed to sufficiently finesse the fine nuances past the point where a car progresses from being merely fun to drive and steps into the rarefied world of the truly outstanding driving machine.