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in Affordable Sports Cars

MSRP: $24,395 - $30,695
Invoice: $23,419 - $29,467
MPG: 25 City / 34 Hwy
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Volkswagen GTI Performance

Most reviewers agree that the all-new 2015 Volkswagen GTI offers a blend of agility and speed that surpasses the previous model. The GTI accelerates briskly with either transmission, they say, and tracks straight under hard acceleration. Test drivers especially like the GTI’s crisp steering and nimble handling. At the same time, they say the ride is smooth and composed, especially when equipped with the new adaptive suspension.

  • "Mk7 GTI has markedly sharper performance than its predecessor; it's a significantly hotter hatch. Not that the GTI needed more performance, but it's got more of an edge now. Fundamentally, we're talking about the distinction between quick and fast. And if that's an important one for you, you're going to love what VW's done to the place." -- AutoTrader
  • “Compared to today's GTI, still a damn good car, the new one pretty much seems a class above. It's smoother and quieter and more solid but the refinement doesn't cut into athleticism." -- AutoWeek
  • "The GTI has always been a hoot to drive, but with new design and engineering tweaks for the seventh generation, the car has reached a whole new level of playfulness." -- Autoblog
  • "It's a confidence inspiring car, with predictable steering and enough power to never leave you doubting. Sharp lane changes don't disrupt it, and it'll easily keep up if you're trying to chase a Google Street View car down a cul-de-sac - if that's key selling point." -- Jalopnik

Acceleration and Power

The 2015 Golf GTI has a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that makes 210 horsepower. An available performance package adds 10 horsepower. A six-speed manual transmission is standard, and a six-speed automated manual transmission is optional. The GTI gets up to an EPA-estimated 25/34 mpg city/highway, which is good for an upscale small car.

Some test drivers say the all-new VW GTI feels zippier than previous models, adding that it’s quick from a stop thanks to the ample torque of its turbocharged engine, which is responsive at nearly any rpm. Automotive critics say both transmissions are well-suited to the engine’s power, noting that the automated manual shifts quickly and that the manual transmission’s light clutch makes the GTI an easy car to drive. 

  • "While the 6-speed manual transmission delivers easy drivability through a light, progressive clutch, DSG-equipped models up the ante with a smooth yet quick-shifting dual-clutch automatic that responds to paddle shifter taps with impressive alacrity." -- AutoTrader
  • "The new GTI feels quicker, absolutely, and while it might be a bit less revvy, it has substantially more torque throughout the rpm range. The thrust presents itself as a nice kick in the stomach off the line with either the manual or the DSG automatic." -- AutoWeek
  • "Midrange acceleration is particularly responsive, and the GTI's powerplant is well matched to the 6-speed dual-clutch DSG gearbox, which shifts with an ideal blend of speed and smoothness." -- Popular Mechanics
  • "Here, 5,000 revs go by and it's hardly breaking a sweat. ... It's so strong and so sweet that you can't help but to keep pressing it, and pressing your luck with the highway patrol." -- Jalopnik
  • "Not only is there copious grunt down low in the rev range, things don't really begin to taper off until you approach the redline. Both the slick stick and surgical-feeling dual-clutch are excellent for extracting the most from the motor - choosing a gearbox here really comes down to personal preference." -- Left Lane News

Handling and Braking

The base GTI has an all-new driving mode selector with Normal, Sport and Individual settings, which adjust steering feel and throttle response. An available adaptive suspension system adds a Comfort mode, and automotive critics say that it improves the GTI’s ride over rough pavement. Test drivers praise the 2015 GTI’s sharp handling and crisp, communicative steering, noting that it firms up nicely in Sport mode. They also say there’s virtually no torque steer, meaning that the GTI tracks straight under hard acceleration.

  • “But the GTI's biggest surprise is its ability to negotiate corners. Thanks to the advanced front differential, torque steer has been all but eliminated, balancing power-on acceleration and accurate, intuitive steering." -- AutoTrader
  • "Super-quick new steering (just 2.1 turns lock-to-lock) remains one of the GTI's best traits: It's among the best electric power steering systems on the market. You feel absolutely no torque steer, yet the system lets you feel some of what the front end is doing." -- Road and Track
  • "The new 2015 GTI feels planted on the road at all times. Bumps don't upset the car, even mid-corner. The body rolls a bit more than you might expect, but it's well-controlled. The real-world result is high confidence in the car's handling, which makes it feel as though you're never going as fast on a twisty road as you really are. Your driver's license should beware, because this car encourages you to drive faster." -- Motor Trend
  • “Comfort mode subtly softens up the already livable ride of the standard suspension, which does a commendable job of both limiting body roll while providing occupants with a reasonable degree of protection from poorly maintained roads." -- Left Lane News
  • "Indeed, on a winding, mountain road, one gets the impression that the GTI has already begun preparing you for the next turn before the current one is even over. It's a wonderful balance between a car that is so foolproof that it feels as if it could outdrive you itself (like a Nissan GT-R) and one that cedes all control to its operator (like an SRT Viper). Volkswagen found the middle ground that kept our pleasure synapses firing, yet our mind consistently at ease, even while taking turns a thousand feet up above the bay." -- Autoblog
Review Last Updated: 12/9/14

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