When we initially got our hands on our first Golf 7, the 1.2 TSI, we were more than impressed and I was really looking forward to testing their flagship model; the GTi.
Some still have a hard time distinguishing between models and I’m going to break it down for you. The 7 has a much sharper body than the 6, or the rounder curves of the 5. The front lights on the 7 are also completely restyled and the tail lights are more rectangular than round. The front and rear bumpers have also been revised with it leaning toward the more aggressive side of things. By looking at the front of the car, you will just know it’s the GTI.
The wheels, which have been so similar throughout the models up until now, have also been changed, while the original theme has been carried over. This time, however, the wheels appear more razor blade like, with a high polished finish, showing off black inserts. I must admit that it’s really looking tasteful.
While the interior seems very similar, there are small changes here and there. The sporty steering wheel, with its array of multifunction buttons, keeps all the info and multimedia setting at hand. Steering feels light at low speeds, but has increased feedback as the speedo picks up with speed.
The Multimedia, which has an option DynAudio unit fitted with a million speakers, sounded pretty good and it came with an Ipod adapter which was located in the centre dash console. Bluetooth pairing is a treat and almost a one-touch operation.
The 2.0 Turbo charged 4 cylinders makes 162kw and 350nm of torque. I can’t seem to think why they have not decided to play with the big boys and up the power to likes of Renault and Opel, but mating this to the DSG box gives the car a good balance of power and economy. Driving around casually saw us hit the 8l/100km mark and, while switching to the eco setting, gave us pretty impressive figures of 6.3l/100km.
The adaptive chassis control (fitted optionally to this vehicle) allowed us to switch between a Sport, Normal, Eco or an individual setting. While the damping changes are not as noticeable as they are on the BMW’s, there is a difference felt between Sport and Eco. It also changes the throttle response pretty drastically, having you coast mostly everywhere in Eco mode. Switch it to Sport and the DSG shifts a little harder and the engine note sounds a little meaner. 0-100kph will come up in a good 6.5seconds and will run on to a top speed of 244kph in a near heartbeat.
I really can’t fault the new GTI. There is a reason why there are so many on the roads lately and it’s not because they are cheap. It’s a cracking good every-day hot hatch, which might be a little down on power, but on the overall it’s just so driveable, slow or fast. It’s got a perfect balance of power and good economy.
Priced at R382 800 this is surely one of the best buys if you are looking for an upmarket hot hatch, which will double up and run the family around too.
Our test car was priced at R427 300 and was fitted with the following:
DynAudio Sound System
Park Distance Control
Adaptive Chassis Control
Kessy – Keyless Entry
For more info, head over to www.vw.co.za