When you think about a hot hatchback, the first thing that comes to your mind is something compact, quick and it has to be fun. There is one particular car that has been dominating the hot hatchback scene for a very long time and to be more specific since 1975.
Volkswagen Golf GTi is what started the trend of a hot hatchback when they launch the MK1 Golf GTi and now we have the MK7.5 Golf GTi. It has come a long way since it was born, but it never loses its originality and the special touch which makes it such a complete car. The changes might be subtle but it is evolving in the right direction and Volkswagen will show you why the most effective improvement does not lie in huge overnight changes.
The hot hatchback rank swells like never before since 2017 and most of the rivals have caught up and overtaken the GTi in terms of power. Honda sent tons of power to the front wheels of a hot hatchback compared to any car maker ever done before, the AMG A35 offers a massive leap in technology and interior design where even Peugeot and Hyundai has revitalize into this segment also. The GTi is suddenly put in a difficult situation where it needs to prove itself again, but all these factors don’t affect the GTi and it is still the most desirable and complete cars for sale.
The particular car we tested was spec in Pure White. The color really brings out the famous GTi red accent, particularly from the front grill to the new full LED headlamp which now has two lines in it rather one straight line across the headlamp. There is also a new reworked front bumper which makes the car looks sportier.
Moving onto the side you will notice the new Milton Keynes alloy wheels which measure 18 x 7.5jj wrapped in the Bridgestone Potenza S001 tyres, which find decent grip during dry and wet surface. While moving to the back it’s hard to ignore the brand new tail lamp with sequential turn signals. In my opinion, these tail lamps are really mesmerizing when you turn the signal lights on.
On the interior, the biggest difference is the 12.3” active info display which shows you the rev counter, the speed you’re at, what gears you are currently in and the navigation so you wouldn’t have to take your eyes off the road and it has so much more different display that you can choose and mix from. Personally, I love the active info display as it bumps up the luxury of the car, but it may not be everyone’s taste as some may prefer the traditional dials.
Still on the interior are the new 12 ways electric leather seats, which are comfortable as I drive hundreds of KM in the car and yet coming out of the car wanting to do more with no sense of tiredness. Subtle changes can be seen in the steering wheel as Volkswagen has quietly placed the honeycomb style design around the VW logo. Moving onto the center console there is the new 8 inch Discover Media Navigation infotainment system which is responsive and it works like magic. Also with this infotainment system you can choose to display the amount of boost the car is running, or the G-force gauge, oil or water temp gauge which is helpful if you were to ever track the car or even if you just want to keep an eye on it.
In the particular test car, it came with the Adaptive Chassis Control (DCC) with driving mode selection. There are 5 different modes to choose from, which are Eco, Comfort, Normal, Sport and Individual. Most of the journey done with the test car are in Comfort mode as that mode seems to take away the harshness of the Malaysian road and it just lightens the steering and turns the exhaust note down a notch making it really comfortable with long journeys. Of course, when you’re in a hot hatchback, you would want to push the car where it’s most happy at and that’s where the Sport mode comes in. Once the Sport mode is activated you will get louder exhaust note, heavier steering, firmer suspension and it is like a totally different car as if it has a dual personality in it.
While the car may not have neck breaking horsepower as it only have 227bhp and 350nm of torque produced by the EA888 2 liter, four cylinders turbocharged engine. But I find it to have just the right amount of power and torque to fully utilize the chassis and excel in the real world. It can do the 0-100KM/H in 6.4 seconds and achieve a top speed of 250KM/H. If you really want more power out of the engine it is possible as there is a lot of potentials to be unlocked from this engine simply by giving it a remap. Having driven it through B roads and long highway, the car will pull from as low as 1500 RPM all the way to its redline. The engine, coupled with the six-speed DSG transmission really work well together as it is slick, precise and quick.
Overall, the MK7.5 Golf GTi is a rounded and exceptionally talented hot hatchback that boasts an extreme level of comfort, technology, and refinement. What the car does is it excels in the real world. While performance may not be as much as the others, but the GTi does everything you want it to do without breaking a sweat and not many can match the all-round excellence as the Golf GTi. The Golf GTi is for me the most liveable car which I can spend time driving it at any length of time, be it for a short trip to the mall or a long cross-country sprint. The Golf GTi is really the ultimate all-rounder hot hatchback out there.