Find a car review

Make
Model

2017 Volkswagen Golf GTD review – is it still a proper hot hatch even though it's a diesel? - Engine and gearbox

Frugal and refined but at the cost of excitement

Evo rating
Price
from £27,225
  • Fit and finish, looks great
  • Chassis doesn't allow much fun

Engine and gearbox

The Golf GTD uses a 2-litre four-cylinder turbodiesel that puts out 181bhp. As we've already said, its 280lb ft of torque is more than enough to make things feel brisk.

Despite the synthesized noise hiding the engine’s dieselly grumble, its typical oil-burner performance delivery can’t be hidden. Instead you end up embracing the engine’s strong mid-range grunt and drive the GTD in a different manner to, say, a GTI. It doesn't have the same instant and gratifying fun factor of revving the standard GTI right to its red line, but you can make swift progress with surprisingly little effort. Some may even prefer this easy-going speed. It’s also refined when cruising, with barely any engine noise, fake or otherwise, entering the cabin.

Subscribe to evo magazine

If you're passionate about the world's greatest performance cars, experience the thrill of driving with evo magazine. Try your first 5 issues for £5.

The six-speed manual gearbox has a short and slick action. There’s an almost magnetic feel to slotting through the gate, with only a tap of the gearlever being enough to switch from third to fourth. Being able to perform fast changes easily, and with some relatively closely stacked ratios, it’s very easy to keep the engine in its torquey mid-range.

The new GTD gets VW’s wet dual-clutch DSG transmission. The gearbox has proven to be an impressive piece of equipment in the Audi S3 and Golf GTI Performance and it’s the same in the GTD, offering up quick shifts and a smooth auto mode as and when you need it. The GTD’s old six-speed DSG didn’t suit the diesel engine’s power delivery quite as well, often picking the wrong gear at the wrong time. It held on to gears allowing the engine to rev into its ineffectual top-end and would kick down too readily not making the most of the mid-range. The GTD’s new DSG gearbox is better when left to its own devices, but pulling the paddles manually does get the best from the engine. Still, we’d recommend the manual as it's cheaper and more engaging.

Advertisement
Advertisement - Article continues below
Advertisement

Most Popular

Visit/features/17721/the-best-family-cars-that-are-fun-to-drive
Best cars

Best family cars that are still fun to drive

Saloon, hatchback or SUV, family cars come in all shapes and sizes, and needn’t be a snore to drive. These are some of the team’s favourites.
13 Sep 2019
Visit/abarth/201755/2020-abarth-595-pista-arrives-with-162bhp
Abarth 595

2020 Abarth 595 Pista arrives with 162bhp

The supermini has been given a new Garrett turbocharger, paint options and tweaks inside
13 Sep 2019
Visit/buying-advice/19675/used-car-deals-of-the-week
Features

Best used cars for sale this week

We’ve delved into the classifieds and chosen our favourite cars for sale this week
13 Sep 2019
Visit/features/22872/goodyear-eagle-f1-supersport-the-toughest-test-advertisement-feature
Advertisement Feature

Goodyear Eagle F1 SuperSport (advertisement feature)

We went to Bedford Autodrome to find out what evo readers think of Goodyear’s new Eagle F1 SuperSport Ultra Ultra High Performance tyres
10 Jul 2019