What is it?
This is the new VW Golf 1.4 TSI GT. It’s the small capacity, turbocharged petrol version of arguably Europe’s most iconic car, and this is the first chance we’ve had to sample a petrol-powered VW Golf on UK roads.
In the early days after the new VW Golf’s static launch at the Paris motor show, the car received a bit of a panning — as new Golfs often do — for not being different enough.
However, this time the criticism seems justified, for this sixth version really does change very little. This time, for instance, the Golf’s glasshouse is more or less unchanged, and VW has made few claims about new chassis technology or improved cabin space; both are more or less carried over.
What’s different, says VW, is the quality. Just as the rest of the field reaches Golf finish levels, VW has moved the goalposts once again.
The VW Golf 1.4 TSI GT gets the 158bhp version of the 1.4-litre TSI engine. This is a tiny 16-valve petrol turbo unit with continuously variable inlet valve timing. Its headline feature is a crank-driven supercharger, which is on hand to augment the more usual turbocharger when extra torque is needed.
The engine in the VW Golf 1.4 TSI GT drives through a six-speed manual gearbox as standard, but our test car had the optional seven-speed paddle-shift DSG, with full auto facility, that seems to suit it even better.