What is it?
This is the new VW Golf GTI, the Mk6, although it’s not quite brand new. Beneath the new VW Golf GTI’s freshened body lurks an upgraded version of its predecessor’s underpinnings and floorpan. Given the praise heaped on that car, it’s a great starting point. Still, there is still plenty that is new about Wolfsburg’s latest hot hatch.
The styling changes successfully set the latest VW Golf GTI apart from the standard Golf. At the front, the angular headlamps with unique inner graphics are neatly offset by a shiny black honeycomb grille and a front bumper with an integrated splitter.
Further back, black extensions are added to the side sills, a spoiler is mounted above the rear window and a deeper rear bumper houses chromed tail pipes.
Step inside the VW Golf GTI and you find an upgraded version of the standard Golf’s excellent cabin. The heavily cushioned seats support and secure your body well, and offer a broad range of manual adjustment. They are, however, mounted higher than those in the VW Scirocco, so you get a slightly less sporty driving position.
It might appear the same on paper (right on down to its bore and stroke) but the VW Golf GTI’s turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engine is, in fact, different to that found in its predecessor. Part of Volkswagen’s new EA888 engine family, it produces 207bhp, an increase of 10bhp over the old Golf GTi and generated 200rpm further round the dial, at 5300rpm. Torque remains the same as before, peaking at 206lb ft from just 1700rpm.
What’s it like?
The first thing that hits you is just how flexible this latest Golf GTi engine is; it’s as happy on the autoroute behind Nice as it is screaming up the snaking roads leading into the surrounding mountains.
You can feel the shove begin to swell from 1500rpm, and it remains wonderfully consistent. It is only when you approach the abrupt 7000rpm cut-out that it begins to run out of breath. And boy, does it sound good; there is a delicious rift of induction blare and a hearty rumble through the exhaust.