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Volkswagen Golf GTI DSG 2014 review

EXPERT RATING
8
The Golf GTI is a long time favourite. In fact, you won't meet many people who don't like it -- drivers that is.

The Golf GTI is a long time favourite. In fact, you won't meet many people who don't like it -- drivers that is. It's the perfect balance between performance and practicality, a car with an enviable pedigree and at an affordable price (although that price easily blows out with a few accessories).

VALUE

The manual is priced from $41,490, while our test car fitted with DSG and a number of options tipped the scales at almost $53,000. The new GTI gets progressive steering, satnav the Driver Fatigue Detection system, Driving Profile Selection, Multi-collision brake and Extended Electronic Differential Lock (XDL) as standard.  Options include Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) and the surroundings monitoring system Front Assist with City Emergency Braking.

Sports suspension is standard as adaptive chassis control with five different drive modes from which to chose. In case you're driving on a "race track" the ESP now features a Sport mode with delayed intervention to allow drivers to exploit the full potential of the chassis. The car rides on 18-inch alloys with 225/45 series tyres are standard.

ENGINE / TRANSMISSION

The 2.0-litre turbocharged direct injection engine delivers 162kW of power from 4500 revs (up from 155kW) and 350Nm of torque from a low 1500 revs. That's substantially more torque than the 280Nm of the previous model and has made it possible to reduce the gear ratios for lower engine speeds, adapting them to the engine's lower rev levels.

Internal engine modifications have also been made, including a new and innovative thermal management system contributing to a 19 per cent reduction in fuel consumption. Available with a six-speed manual or six speed DSG style gearbox, and with either in place puts away the dash from 0-100km/h in 6.5 seconds. Fuel consumption using premium 98 RON petrol is 6.2 for the manual and 6.6 litres/100km for the auto (we were getting 9.2 from our DSG).

DESIGN

It's slightly larger but about 100kg lighter than the previous model. This is the seventh generation GTI and the fourth generation that we have driven personally. It keeps getting better and better with each outing, always managing to find the perfect balance between ride and handling.

They feel soft but point them at a corner and the sit flat, dispelling any worries about ending up in the trees. We loved the fifth generation Pirelli special edition and the more recent Golf Edition 35 that celebrated 35 years of the car. This latest GTI is all that and more. With 162kW of power it produces double the output of the original Mark 1 Golf GTI with its 81kW.

SAFETY

Like the standard Golf it gets a full five stars for safety.

DRIVING

It's never been about outright performance with the GTI. It's about the history of the car, the way it drives and handles and the excitement it is able to generate  a combination which keeps bringing buyers back for more. And what about the new exhaust note - it's throaty and sounds a bit like a WRX these days?

Some reviewers have criticised the car's stop/start system which they say now works off the accelerator rather than the brake pedal. As such they say it is slower to restart, delaying the car off the line. The truth is the car will still start automatically as soon as you lift off the brake pedal, provided that is the auto brake function is not activated. But, if you just don't plain like auto/start stop  and many drivers don't  you can switch it off (but you have to do this each time you get back into the car).

VERDICT

Love it. Goes and looks better than ever. The manual would be our choice every time simply because it is more fun to drive.

Pricing guides

$15,990
Based on 338 cars listed for sale in the last 6 months
Lowest Price
$7,950
Highest Price
$34,999

Range and Specs

VehicleSpecsPrice*
118 TSI 1.4L, PULP, 7 SP AUTO $14,901 – 19,990 2014 Volkswagen Golf 2014 118 TSI Pricing and Specs
103 TSI Highline 1.4L, PULP, 7 SP AUTO $12,990 – 21,990 2014 Volkswagen Golf 2014 103 TSI Highline Pricing and Specs
110 TDI Highline 2.0L, Diesel, 6 SP $10,884 – 19,990 2014 Volkswagen Golf 2014 110 TDI Highline Pricing and Specs
90 TSI 1.4L, PULP, 6 SP MAN $8,999 – 15,000 2014 Volkswagen Golf 2014 90 TSI Pricing and Specs
EXPERT RATING
8