What is it?
The new Volkswagen Golf GTI, of course. On UK soil for the first time. Which, considering this nation’s penchant for hot hatches (and the hot Golf in particular), is virtually a homecoming.
As we found out when we first drove the GTI on the continent, there is much to rejoice at. Volkswagen’s fettling of its 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine has rendered modest power gains, but a whole heap more torque. In fact, the new GTI produces 37lb ft more than even the previous Golf GTI Edition 35 managed from its detuned Golf R engine.
This extra torque comes regardless of whether you opt for the £980 Performance Pack or not, although we’d recommend you do, because while the 10bhp gain may be negligible, the tick also gets you Volkswagen’s new electronically activated mechanical limited-slip differential and uprated brakes.
The Performance Pack also has no effect on the car’s claimed economy, which has increased to an admirable 44.1mpg combined with the six-speed DSG dual-clutch automatic gearbox-equipped car tested here (the manual manages a claimed 47.1mpg). The GTI’s CO2 emissions – 149g/km for the DSG, 139g/km in manual guise – keep it several handy VED bands ahead of its rivals, too.