Deep within us we all have a bit of an addictive personality. Caffeine? Cigarettes? The colour green? Sometimes we get hooked on things and we just can’t seem to shake them. Additions can be both life-altering and life-threatening, but they can also be life-enhancing. Addicted to running? That’s not such a bad thing. To carrots? Whatever works for you, at least it’s not meth.
How about an addiction to a certain brand of automobile or more precisely a specific model? I’ve met more than a few VW addicts over the years, and even more GTI-obsessed Vdub lovers.
I often giggled at their unwavering love for the brand and model, shaking my head at the thought of such an undying love for a particular model (all the while harbouring my own MINI-inspired addiction… shhhh).
And then I spent the week with the new Mk7 VW GTI and everything changed. I finally understood the obsession, the deep-seeded affection and attraction to the hot hatch that truly is the granddaddy of all hot hatches.
Volkswagen GTI, I finally get it. And I love it.
How could they possibly make the GTI better?
This is a question I was asked a few times by GTI lovers and owners alike when I told them I was driving the new 2015 VW GTI. How on earth could Volkswagen possibly make it hotter than it already was?
Well, for starters, they made the 2015 GTI lighter and upped power numbers. That alone is enough to increase the heart rate of diehard GTI fans and Vdub lovers the world over. Because who doesn’t love more pull, am I right?
How did they do it? Volkswagen went and tweaked their already fabulous 2.0L TSI turbocharged engine so that it pushes out 10 more horsepower for a total of 210, and a whopping 51 more torques for 258 lb-ft starting at just 1,600 rpm. Um, yeah, you read that right.
But does it feel fast?
That’s the thing about Volkswagen, they’ve never been a big numbers manufacturer. They play in a segment with hot hatches that are all about (at least recently) pushing big numbers in the power department. The GTI has often “lagged” behind in terms of horsepower output, but that’s never sullied its performance from behind the wheel.
On the road, the 2015 VW GTI feels rather stupid quick. The pull form the 258 torques is giggle-inducing, and the ease with which the 6-speed manual transmission rows through gears and helps you build up speed (more quickly than you’ll realize, I bet) is just fantastic. This is a sublime little hatch to drive. Everything is tight; everything is measured; everything works harmoniously together.
Of course, there is a 6-speed DSG transmission available as well. Volks’ dual-clutch transmission is so good that I’d say manual or auto, you’ll be satisfied, however, there is always something more rewarding about rowing through your own gears, golf-ball shifter in hand.
Throwing this thing into corners is uber fun and something you’ll want to go again, and again, and again. The 2.0L engine is so playful and so willing to perform, the GTI really just wants to please. And please it will. With “Sport” mode activated, the brake intervention function of the ESC system is limited so you can have a little more fun. Deactivate DSC completely and you’re in for a really good time.
One of the most impressive features of the 2015 Volkswagen GTI is the steering. Direct steering changes according to your driving (less effort required at lower speeds, and more sensitive when you get out on the road and hit the twisties), and its noticeable and truly is effortless. The GTI goes where you want it, always, without much coaxing.
It looks pretty much the same, though.
I’d urge you to take a closer look at the 2015 GTI if you think it looks exactly the same as the MkVI. In fact, I’d urge you to park next to one (if you’re lucky enough to be piloting a ’15).
Right away you’ll notice how much wider and squatter the Mk7 is in comparison. Sharper lines and a less bubbly front end give it a much more mature and aggressive look that’s both loaded with sex appeal and masculinity. Subtle design features like the red pin-striping that adorns the front grill, stretches into the LED headlights, and even carries over into the interior door sills as well as door panels (they light up at night), along with subtle side-gill GTI badges, a discrete roof spoiler, and gas-door cover cut at an angle allude to speed and performance coupled with sophistication.
German through and through.
Behold the polarizing plaid-cloth seats, golf-ball textured shift knob and steering wheel and updated centre console computer system, and the German-ness continues. Everything has its place, everything has a function and everything is easily accessible.
So, would you own one?
Here’s the thing, as much as I adored my time with the 2015 Volkswagen GTI, and as much as I truly do now understand the pure obsession with the brand and the model, I don’t think I’d part with cash for one.
With a starting price in the high-$20k range, this thing ain’t cheap. And while it is practical (my son’s seat fit beautifully and he had plenty of room in the back seat, and the trunk is a good size, too), it’s almost a bit too civilized for me.
Don’t get me wrong, the GTI can have fun when asked, but it has to be asked. Perhaps one of its German traits I’d rather it didn’t have.