The system for the Volkswagen Golf GTI is easy; take a superb automobile, add horsepower, add styling prospers, and make one thing particular. For the previous 35 years in the US, the GTI has performed this as a rule.
Certain, there could have been some misses in there, however for over a decade now, it has been all hits. The 2018 GTI continues this development. Though it’s only a refresh of the seventh-generation GTI we first noticed in 2015, the approaching mannequin 12 months’s modifications make the automobile higher in virtually each means. The GTI is at the moment the most effective new automobile accessible in these United States of America that may be bought for an MSRP of underneath $30,000.
Which may be a daring assertion, but it surely isn’t with out benefit.
The GTI merely does all the pieces properly. It’s like that pair of Allen Edmonds that goes with all the pieces, seems good, is made properly, can be utilized every single day, and by no means goes out of favor. Opponents don’t have the historical past, aren’t made as properly, and have styling that gained’t age as gracefully. There are issues some fashions can do higher than the GTI however, general, none are as nice.
Strolling as much as the 2018 GTI, you’ll immediately acknowledge its pedigree. With new LED fog and brake lights, the night time signature is modified, however the form stays the identical. LED headlights with adaptive entrance beams adorn increased trims. A brilliant crimson horizontal strip visually connects the headlights to a revised grille and bumper. These reworked fascias carry a powerful character line that travels alongside the facet and all the best way again to the taillight clusters.
Along with the crimson spotlight on the grille, the 2018 Golf GTI boasts a number of different visible variations from its typical Golf brethren. The decrease entrance fascia incorporates customary LED fog lights housed inside a collection of horizontal strakes on both facet of a singular mesh-pattern grille. Purple-painted brake calipers peek behind bespoke GTI wheels and delicate facet skirts assist to provide the GTI a sportier look. Round again, brilliant exhaust ideas sit on both facet of a singular rear diffuser, whereas a roof spoiler additional differentiates the automobile.
The GTI continues to be powered by Volkswagen’s turbocharged 2.Zero-liter direct-injected four-cylinder engine. The EA888 engine household, which debuted in 2008, has been steadily refined during the last decade. In all variations of the 2018 GTI, the engine produces 220 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque. It’s complemented by a normal six-speed handbook transmission or a six-speed DSG computerized that requires a $1,100 markup on any trim.
This engine is powerful, and energy is on the market early and infrequently. It has a smoothness many different four-cylinders merely don’t possess. Paired with the handbook transmission, it looks like a seamless extension of the motive force’s proper hand. Regardless of the six-speed handbook’s tall gearing, torque is at all times available — a driver can virtually attain freeway speeds in second gear. Switching between second and third gear on the twisty roads of rural Michigan proved a downright pleasing activity.
Navigating these roads is made extra pleasing by the GTI’s agency chassis, which might simply be labelled “phrase class.” Using Zero.6 inches decrease than the usual Golf, the GTI’s steering is exact, the suspension agency but comfy, and physique roll is minimal. Someway the GTI manages to take to spirited driving with aplomb whereas remaining a snug automobile with a compliant experience. The GTI’s suspension undoubtedly punches above its value vary.
The inside of the GTI continues to be one of many mannequin’s sturdy factors — spacious and sensible, whereas retaining a contact of Euro magnificence. Our tester, which carried an MSRP of $31,165 (plus an $850 vacation spot cost) got here geared up with Volkswagen’s Eight-inch touchscreen, leather-based, keyless entry with push-button begin, and a sunroof. Not like some opponents, the seats are properly bolstered however comfy, and the seat monitor is lengthy sufficient to offer legroom for nearly each driver (I’m taking a look at you, Ford Focus ST).
Nonetheless, whereas our tester topped $31,000, it doesn’t should be that means. Since Volkswagen affords the identical horsepower and each transmissions in all GTI trims, you gained’t really feel such as you’re lacking something by going barely downmarket. So far as I’m involved, Clark plaid fabric seats are necessary for a GTI. They give the impression of being nice and are heated. The mix of plaid seats and sunroof additionally makes a triumphant return in 2018, and comes customary on the $30,470 2018 GTI SE. The bottom GTI drops the sunroof, LED headlights, blind-spot monitoring, and replaces the Eight-inch infotainment display screen with a 6.5-inch model. At an MSRP of $26,415, it’s actually a efficiency cut price.
The 2018 Volkswagen GTI continues Volkswagens custom of providing a efficiency automobile with working-class roots for an inexpensive value. This new mannequin takes the seventh-generation mannequin’s system for achievement, refines it, and makes it higher. So is there a draw back?
The one doable drawbacks with the GTI is the worth and Volkswagen’s enduring high quality considerations. Each the Honda Civic Si and Ford Focus ST are cheaper than the GTI. The Subaru WRX is a bit more costly, but it surely comes with all-wheel drive. All are aggressive automobiles, however the GTI feels extra premium and refined. It’s the greatest every day driver of the bunch.
As for high quality points, the platform the GTI rides on, MQB, has been in manufacturing for 5 years. Hopefully, that’s sufficient time to get any points labored out. Most reliability surveys have proven current GTIs to have common reliability. Fortunately for 2018 consumers, all GTIs at the moment are backed by Volkswagen’s Folks First Guarantee, providing complete protection for six years or 72,000 miles (whichever comes first). Anybody on the fence a few GTI has six years, or 72,000 miles, to determine if it’s a high quality product.
The GTI continues to be a incredible automobile just because it does all issues properly. It possesses a distinctly premium really feel whereas remaining sensible and enjoyable to drive. There isn’t a catch. For the worth, there’s additionally no equal.
[Images: ©2017 Adam Tonge/The Truth About Cars]