Is it possible that the car I wanted in my twenties is the same car I want in my forties? I should want comfortable luxury cars to drive, not sporty Euro hot hatches. At least that’s the marketing message these car companies are spewing at all of us. I remember being in college and this rich kid had a sweet VW GTI. His Dad was an Eastern Airline Captain. (For those of you who don’t get it, Easter went out of business in 1991, three years after I graduated from college, meaning that he was not a rich kid for long.) But I digress and the point is that as appealing as the VW GTI was to me in 1988, it’s just as appealing in 2015. Of course it is now four generations older, but the overall concept is the same. Build a sporty hatchback that is affordable, fun to drive, and a true performer.
The GTI thing started back in 1975 (in Germany) and made it to the U.S. in 1983. Horsepower has more than doubled and today we have the benchmark for all hot hatches in the 2015 Volkswagen GTI. For this seventh generation GTI, the wheelbase has been extended 2.5″ from the outgoing model and standard equipment includes18″ Wheels. Drivers also have a drive select feature which includes Sport, Normal or Individual settings. Under the hood is an all-new 2.0L TSI inline four cylinder, 16V, turbocharged/intercooled engine that produces 210 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque. The outgoing model only had 200hp and 207 kb-ft of torque. And if you opt for the Performance Package, you get 220hp and 258 lb-ft plus Torque Sensing Limited Slip Differential.
Of course you have all of the important features such as Bluetooth, iPod interface, plaid seating surface (for the cloth models) and optional Fender Premium Audio System. However, the most important feature is the unbelievable price. A base, 6-speed manual 2-door GTI will start at $24,395 (add $1,100 for the DSG or twin clutch transmission) and 24,995 for a base 4-door with 6-speed manual.
I can go on and on about how wonderful this car is to drive both as a daily driver and a weekend canyon carver. Back in my twenties I only cared about speed, but today I’m so much more dialed in just like the GTI. The added torque is the most significant improvement. It’s a 25% increase. 25%!