With Electronic Differential Lock (EDL), a 6-speed, dual-clutch Direct Shift Gearbox (DSG), and a turbocharged engine, I enjoyed every moment behind the wheel of the 2013 Volkswagen Golf GTI. Too bad it drinks premium gas and costs a good deal of money at the pump...
What is the Volkswagen Golf GTI?
This German icon offers all the benefits of a compact hatchback on top of a wonderful combination of ride and handling. It's a fun little sports car that's easy to drive and comfortable enough to put a smile on your face during long trips -- unlike the Honda Civic Coupe Si I recently reviewed.
2013 Volkswagen Golf GTI Price and Specs
The award-winning 2.0L 4-cylinder TSI engine under the hood of the 2013 Volkswagen Golf GTI produces 200 horsepower and 207 lb-ft of torque via a standard 6-speed manual gearbox or the aforementioned 6-speed DSG (which comes with paddle shifters, by the way). What a wonderful performer!
Pricing starts at $29,275 for the base GTI 3-Door model and rises to $32,775 for the top-of-the-line 5-Door Wolfsburg Edition. While that puts the latter into luxury-car territory, I can assure you that it's worth every penny.
On the flip side, I recorded an average fuel consumption of 9.5L/100km despite driving mostly on the highway. Granted, I took full advantage of the exciting powertrain, but how could I resist?
Driving the 2013 Volkswagen Golf GTI Wolfsburg Edition
What do I have to tell you about the drive? The sound of the engine, the lively differential that allows spirited acceleration, the sharp steering, the fabulous DSG: What a treat! The gearshifts are lightning-quick, especially in sport mode, and the paddle shifters are mounted on the steering wheel (not the steering column), which keeps them within reach no matter what. Braking, meanwhile, proves linear and convincing.
Life on the road with the 2013 Volkswagen Golf GTI Wolfsburg Edition isn't all sunshine and rainbows, mind you. While the human-machine interface is quite user-friendly overall, with a decently sized main display and conveniently located controls, there is no back-up camera, and the navigation system managed to confuse me.
What's more, synchronizing my smartphone with the car through the Bluetooth device turned out to be pretty complicated. I eventually realized that the way to do it is by following the tiny instructions on the instrument cluster instead of the centre screen. To top it all off, the voice recognition system had a few problems understanding what I said.
Inside and Out of the 2013 Volkswagen Golf GTI 5-Door Wolfsburg Edition
The 18” wheels, black grille with red striping, bi-xenon headlights, LED daytime running lights, and aerodynamic rear spoiler integrated into the hatch make the 2013 Volkswagen Golf GTI look so dynamic and attractive.
Interior fit and finish seem to be just as sharp as the exterior. The Wolfsburg Edition's Jacky cloth sports seats, contrasting stitching on the leather-wrapped steering wheel, and red stripes on the seat belts add to the car's refinement. Even though Volkswagen is not a luxury brand per se, you definitely feel like you're in a premium environment with the great attention to detail.
Beyond their trendy look, the seats prove comfortable and supportive. The rear ones also provide an impressive amount of room, and when you fold them down, the hatchback configuration boosts cargo versatility.
Comparing the 2013 Volkswagen Golf GTI
The Scion FR-S and Subaru BRZ offer a sportier driving experience. The Honda Civic Coupe Si is another great alternative, although it's not as upscale as the GTI. Let's not forget the 252-horsepower Ford Focus ST, which retails for about the same price.
Ultimately, the sophisticated drive and superb build quality of the 2013 Volkswagen Golf GTI make it hard to beat; however, reliability issues continue to affect its reputation.