My heart howled in ecstasy when the test unit of the Volkswagen Golf GTI pulled up. It was black. Anything that came in black would almost always feel just about right, just about badass. Especially so when the Golf GTI had red grille frame lines running across the front. It indeed appeared sporty. When I later started my drive officially on the streets, it was as though a cool antihero in black bodysuit has started his engines to come out and play.
The sun was blazing that afternoon but it did not stop me from exposing the sun roof en route to office. If I did not know any better, I gave tanning salons a run for their money. The Golf GTI is a ‘hot hatch’ all right; it is one of the most, if not the most curvaceous and performance-driven hatchback in the market today. The 7th generation Golf GTI comes with a 4-cylinder, turbocharged 2.0-litre engine and flooring the car gets it up to 100km/h in 6.5 seconds.
Not bad for hatchback at all.
My Golf GTI unit came in DSG dual-clutch automatic transmission with a paddle-shifting sports mode. The upshifts were quick enough for my liking and there was no disappointment in piloting all that sportiness in auto. At top speed, it hits 244km/h. Not that I reached the tippy top on the speedometer, because I would have, a) gotten one big nasty ticket and b) float off into the skies like the scene from ‘Harry Potter and The Chamber of Secrets’. Unlike the grounded sports sedan counterparts, the drive was light and at times, weightless.
Along the way I had really wished the GTI had a floating device. While I always appreciated a good, sporty drive, the navigation system proved to be a glitch in an otherwise highly satisfactory, enjoyable ride. No matter which option I selected (shortest route, expressway, avoid tolls), the GPS had a knack of packing me off to the longest detour like a taxi uncle trying to cheat a drunk passenger.
Although I reached the office much later than expected, I still had to try out the self-parking assist for myself. After activating the self-park button beside the gearbox, the car detects a slot as it crawls along and when it does, all that is left to do is release your hands, control the brakes and trust the GTI to do its thing without scratching the adjacent car. The three-spoke wheel started steering by itself and fortunately, it went in smoothly. That same night, I tried it parallel parking and let’s just say you would probably do better worming in unassisted.
I slid off the ergonomically optimized sports seats and went to the boot to retrieve my bag. I pushed the Volkswagen logo in and the boot popped out and up; the rear seat bench folds and has a 60:40 split. When folded, a spacious cargo floor is formed. My messenger sling looked really small in the middle of a space that could hold a bike.
You don’t have to be a hatchback fan to take a second glance at the Golf GTI. Remember what I said about a cool antihero in black bodysuit? But I’ll let you be the judge of that. Nevertheless, the verdict seems to be unanimous here at Team SM: it is the hatchback.
The Volkswagen Golf GTI is currently priced at S$201,800 including COE.