The GTI’s affinity for British roads is alive and well. When equipped with the optional Adaptive Chassis Control system, the GTI has compliance to spare on uneven surfaces in Normal mode.
But it also has enough support in its suspension to maintain an unerring sense of precision in its controls, even when stretched. Its Sport mode is also supple enough to use out in the real world – and we can’t say that about every hot hatch.
Out of this flows the Golf GTI’s enduring dynamic persona; welcome back to the pragmatist of the class. That sounds like a contradiction, but the car’s charms are convincing all the same.
Its steering is quite light and never takes you by surprise with its directness – new steering rack and all. Its handling is poised but proportionate – accurate and never a handful on the road. And its ride is very nicely judged for the UK. There’s just enough edge to it to remind you that you’re driving something a bit zesty, but not a smidge more.
This is a use-it-every-day kind of performance car, just as the Golf GTI always has been. But by almost inevitable extension, it’s not a spectacular, attention-grabbing drive. If you’re in the market for glittering driver engagement, instant cornering response, neck-testing grip levels and the like, it’s not for you.