Volkswagen Golf GTI review – is the hot hatch stalwart still the one to beat? - Performance

We can think of few more rounded, gratifying and superbly executed everyday performance cars. Classless, understated and utterly wonderful

Evo rating
  • Superbly rounded. Fast yet frugal, fun to drive yet shows no form of compromise on the road
  • Edgier, faster rivals more exciting to drive. Expensive.

Performance and 0-60 time

The Golf GTI’s 242bhp figure might sound a little bit conservative in 2019, especially as rivals punch significantly harder, with lower price tags. So does the Golf GTI feel in any way slow? When it’s mated to 258lb ft, not in the slightest. It feels genuinely quick, with a delivery that’s really useable and meaty yet still much keener to rev out than expected.

> Also read: Volkswagen Golf GTI Mk1 road trip - Wolfsburg Calling

Subscribe to evo magazine

Subscribe today to have every issue of evo delivered straight to you. You'll SAVE 39% on the shop price, and get evo for its original cover price for a whole year!

The engine starts to pull hard from just 1500rpm and actually does its best work between 2500 and 4000rpm. But far from becoming breathless after that, it revs out sweetly to the red line, exhibiting extended powerband characteristics that suit the six-speed manual and double-clutch DSG semi-auto transmissions available equally well.

Naturally, with the Volkswagen Golf R as the alpha predator in VW’s hot hatch line-up, the GTI can only be allowed to excite and thrill up to a point. It can sometimes feel like a car that’s operating well within itself. It’s certainly possible to buy more bang for your buck, but a 0-62mph time of 6.4sec and 155mph top speed are respectable enough by class standards.  

Most Popular

Visit/ferrari/203127/ferrari-omologata-revealed-latest-bespoke-commission-a-v12-super-coupe
Ferrari

Ferrari Omologata revealed – latest bespoke commission a V12 super coupe

One-off Ferrari Omologata revealed with bespoke body 789bhp V12 engine
25 Sep 2020
Visit/bmw/m3-saloon/20529/all-new-bmw-m3-competition-revealed-an-icon-reborn
BMW M3 saloon

All-new BMW M3 Competition revealed – an icon reborn

This is the all-new BMW M3 Competition saloon which will join the M4 Competition coupe in BMW M’s new M3/4 family
23 Sep 2020
Visit/peugeot/508/22305/2020-peugeot-508-sport-engineered-unveiled-bmw-3-series-rival-turned-to-355bhp
Peugeot 508

2020 Peugeot 508 Sport Engineered unveiled – BMW 3-series rival turned to 355bhp

Peugeot’s first Sport Engineering model has finally been uncovered, the hot 508 featuring a range-topping hybrid powertrain
24 Sep 2020
Visit/hyundai/202950/updated-hyundai-i30-n-revealed-with-optional-dual-clutch-box
Hyundai i30 N

Updated Hyundai i30 N revealed with optional dual-clutch ‘box

It was the hot hatch that upset the status quo, and now the i30 N is back with more power and tech
24 Sep 2020