Breakthrough new tyre from Pirelli makes this special edition Golf GTi that bit more interesting

What is it?

As you would expect of a car called edition Pirelli, this is a VW Golf that is all about tyres. In fact, it’s the first time the exotic Pirelli P Zero has been seen on a relatively humble hot hatch (it was originally conceived for cars with 400bhp or more).

Other than the posh set of boots, the GTi Pirelli gets bespoke alloys (the spokes of which are in the shape of the Pirelli logo), a bespoke ‘Sunflower’ paint job, and tyre tread patterned upholstery. Otherwise, it’s basically an Edition 30 Golf GTi, which means lower, stiffer suspension and a 30bhp power hike over the standard car.

What’s it like?

Much like the Edition 30 on which it’s based, the Pirelli feels like a bit of an opportunity wasted. The extra turbo punch and the flat torque curve are great, but the lowered ride height spoils the fluidity of the standard GTi’s chassis.

The cosmetic tweaks are a bit of a mixed bag, too. The alloys, with their Pirelli logo spokes, are genuinely natty, but the rest of the styling add-ons aren’t quite so successful. The blanched yellow paint job is okay, but somehow it isn’t quite as garish as you’d hope. The tyre-tread pattern seats are somewhat of an acquired taste, too, although they are at least comfy and supportive.

The Edition Pirelli’s saving grace is those tyres. We gave Pirelli a bit of a drubbing in 10 October’s tyre test, but this is a whole new generation of tyre, and it shows. The ride feels marginally better than in the Edition 30, there’s more traction out of slow corners, and the car’s resistance to wet-road understeer is deeply impressive.

Should I buy one?

Er, you’ll struggle a little: VW UK currently has no plans to import the Pirelli. But since it is essentially the same car as the 30th anniversary Golf GTi, then the best bet is to buy one of those and bung on some new P-Zero tyres. Do that, and you’ll have a great hot hatch with a cracking set of boots.

Matt Rigby

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