Find a car review

Make
Model
Long term tests

VW Golf GTI

Would anyone buy the Golf GT over the GTI, asks Henry Catchpole

The digital readout clicked over to 16,000 as the GTI’s wheels rolled onto the forecourt of Autohaus in Northampton just in time for the Golf’s first service. That’s a lot of miles, but the Golf’s internal computer decides when the car needs to be fettled, and it obviously wasn’t too concerned that we’d done two trackdays and probably more than your average amount of caning along B-roads in that time. Mind you, to date I’ve only needed to top the oil up once.

When I picked the car up later that day (washed and Hoovered) the bill presented to me was the princely sum of £154.38 – that’s less than £10 for every thousand miles. Like a man who struggles with his Fs and Ts, you can’t say fairer than that.

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.

I mentioned last month that the tyres had been replaced, and the Michelin Pilot Sport 2s are proving to be very good – slightly quieter on the motorway but with a bit more grip out of the corners than the standard Bridgestones. Just so you know, you won’t be best friends with your local tyre-fitter if you spec Bridgestones – apparently their super-stiff sidewalls make them a right pain to get off.

GTI was swapped for GT for a couple of days this month. The latter’s intriguing turbocharged and supercharged 1.4-litre TSI engine produces 168bhp, 177lb ft and a 0-62mph time of 7.9sec. It’s certainly got poke, and although there’s not the thumping mid-range punch of the GTI, it feels a very long way from the asthmatic 1.4 Golf in which I learnt to drive.

Advertisement
Advertisement - Article continues below

Like the T-FSI, the TSI engine is very impressive for not behaving like an engine with forced induction, but you find yourself wanting to hear some evidence of all its complicated huffing and puffing. It’s a bit like buying a ‘Hits of the ’90s’ compilation and not having any Spice Girls on it – more refined, but secretly a bit of a let down.

The chassis was perhaps the biggest surprise: well damped, beautifully precise and nothing like the sponge pudding you might expect considering the mk5’s bulk. The wheels look nice but, parking the Eeyore-grey machine opposite a red GTI at Stansted, I do confess to feeling a few pangs of envy. Perhaps some cars can be a little too Q.

The GT TSI costs £2000 less than a GTI, but it’s only one insurance group lower (16 to the GTI’s 17) and fuel consumption isn’t vastly improved (it was only a couple of mpg better than the GTI on motorways and doesn’t exactly sip on B-roads), so I was left wondering two things: if you can afford a GT why wouldn’t you make the small leap to a GTI, and what would my Golf be like if you strapped a supercharger to it…?

Running Costs

Date acquiredSeptember 2005
Total mileage17,548
Costs this month£154.38
Mileage this month789
MPG this month30.6mpg
Advertisement

Have You Considered

Visit/volkswagen/golf/21122/volkswagen-golf-mk8-spied-near-free-of-camouflage-before-october-debut
Volkswagen Golf hatchback

Volkswagen Golf Mk8 spied near-free of camouflage before October debut

18 Sep 2019
Visit/mercedes/gle/201748/2019-mercedes-gle400d-review-a-worthy-original
Mercedes GLE

2019 Mercedes GLE400d review – a worthy original

12 Sep 2019
Visit/porsche/porsche-911-carrera-4/201744/2019-porsche-911-carrera-4-and-carrera-4-cabriolet-detailed
Porsche 911 Carrera 4

2019 Porsche 911 Carrera 4 and Carrera 4 Cabriolet detailed

12 Sep 2019

Most Popular

Visit/best-cars/201772/best-v8-cars-past-and-present-our-favourite-eights-and-the-cars-theyre-found-in
Best cars

Best V8 cars past and present – our favourite eights and the cars they’re found in

Whether it’s smooth and sophisticated or motorsport-like in its aggression, the V8 remains one of our favourite engine types, warts and all
20 Sep 2019
Visit/hyundai/i30-n-hatchback/201775/hyundai-i30-n-versus-hyundai-i30-tcr
Hyundai i30 N hatchback

Hyundai i30 N versus Hyundai i30 TCR

Can Dickie Meaden beat Steve Sutcliffe in a straight(ish) race? We sent them to the Circuit Nuvolari with a pair of Hyundai i30 Ns to find out.
20 Sep 2019
Visit/volkswagen/golf/21122/volkswagen-golf-mk8-spied-near-free-of-camouflage-before-october-debut
Volkswagen Golf hatchback

Volkswagen Golf Mk8 spied near-free of camouflage before October debut

All-new eighth-generation Golf is only weeks away from its reveal – this is all you need to know.
18 Sep 2019
Visit/features/22773/goodyear-eagle-f1-supersport-chosen-by-those-in-the-know-advertisement-feature
Advertisement Feature

Goodyear Eagle F1 SuperSport - chosen by those in the know

The perfect choice for those looking to extract every last drop of performance, we run down Goodyear's Eagle F1 SuperSport range
12 Jun 2019