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      10-06-2009, 09:22 PM   #1
Year's_End
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Cool Test drove a MkVI GTi

Took my car in for some minor service today, walked over to the adjacent VW showroom and spotted a new GTi. The SA was kind enough to give me a test drive while I was waiting, and she was hot. Anyways...

The car I drove:
-Carbon Steel Grey
-Titan Black Leather
-6spd DSG

(They had a Candy White/Plaid/6MT GTi in the back but I didn't see it until I had to leave.)

It was the "Autobahn" model according to the SA...I guess that means it has everything minus nav.


Carbon Steel Grey

Exterior:
The new face looks much more masculine, fortunately enough. The taillights give the rear some needed visual width. The rockers with the blacked out graphics make the profile look much more slender than the MkV, at least on the white model. I liked the Carbon Steel Grey and how it made the red graphics stand out, but I'd definitely choose a different color. The white one looked far more interesting. The headlights have nifty details (props to VAG in general for upping the standards in the headlight department). The only real downside is that it looks only slightly too similar to the MkV. I would accredit this to the carried-over meat slicer wheels.

Interior:
Really, really impressive considering the pricetag. The seats are without a doubt better than my E92's. They feel like AMG-lite seats; Very well bolstered and attractive looking, and fit me perfectly. The steering wheel is another big plus; Nicely molded, visually appealing, and great materials. I really like the silver GTi badge/block on the bottom. The amount of telescoping range is perfect for me too. Having it fully extended led to a perfect driving position.


The rest of the cabin is nicely detailed. Fit and finish aren't the greatest (I was extremely surprised to find this brand new model vibrating from the IP under WOT), but the ergonomics are pretty good, and the touch screen is simple to use. This particular model lacked nav, so I can't comment there. The A/C was good, but I couldn't find a switch to adjust the output, i.e. feet, body, dash. Storage seemed to be average.


This is like the one I used. Where's the A/C config switch?
Edit: Wow, I see it on the right, but that wasn't there, I promise.

Driving Experience:
Very ho-hum and not all too thrilling to be honest. Don't get me wrong, this car is competent...extremely competent...but that's the problem. I really didn't find this car fun to drive fast. I admired how it could hustle through the corners without any fuss, but I still couldn't get over the feeling of being pulled by the front wheels, and I would've gladly taken an extra 50-80bhp with the trade off being some torque steer.

The DSG box is a nice addition to the 2.0T four-banger. Gear shifts are fast, as expected with a DCT, and response time is minimal. Commands can be stacked, which is something I highly value in a manumatic trans. My one complaint actually pertains to the paddles. They're cheap, flimsy, and far too small. A plus side is that they feature the proper -/+ left/right paddle configuration, but they screwed up the column shifter (fwd for upshifts, backwards for downshifts).

Steering feel paled in comparison with your typical RWD sporty car, but the overall feeling is leagues better than my old Civic.

Straightline acceleration is peppy, and that's about all I'd use to describe it. More than adequate I guess you could say. A $600 tune would remedy the situation. The brakes felt nice and progressive, but I only did one panic stop so I didn't annoy the hot SA.

A great thing about the suspension is that it's extremely well-rounded. As competent as it was at going through corners, the same can be said about its ride quality. Bumps aren't all that noticeable, and the ride is very comparable to my E92's post-RFT swapping.

Practicality:
Rear storage is great for a smallish hatch. The fold down seats would definitely prove useful. Rear seat room isn't bad at all. In fact the rear is extremely liveable and was much better than expected. The 4dr helps a lot. I could see the 2dr having some issues.

Overall:
An extremely competent, albeit somewhat boring car.

+Sharp, mature looks
+Great interior for the money
+Plenty of useable storage in the rear
+Comfy ride
-Too competent for its own good
-Could use more horsepower
-Could use new wheels

I would rather have the 6mt, and anything other than Carbon Steel Grey. I'd also probably opt for the plaid seats and nav, and the 2dr I guess too. Basically, this particular model I drove was configured entirely the wrong way lol.

Regardless, I'd give it an 8.5-9 out of 10.
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Last edited by Year's_End; 10-07-2009 at 04:58 PM.
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      10-07-2009, 02:31 AM   #2
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Nice write up. I've been interested in one of these. How would you compare it to the Genesis 2.0?
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      10-07-2009, 06:18 AM   #3
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As the wife owns one of these I was interested to hear someone else opinion on the car. I agree that when you come from a rwd car of the caliber of BMW, especially one kicking out as much as a 335i which is probably tuned then acceleration and handling won't entertain the same way, heck it's not even as entertaining as a Mini Cooper S or Focus RS but driven like you would a fwd rally car on the loose it is surprising entertaining, much more than you would imagine. I've owned and driven most of the hothatch through the years and in my opinion at least the GTI offers the best overall for entertain, quality, practicality, looks and economy, plus it holds exception value on resale. Yes others will be better at one or more things on that list but not overall.

As for the A/C, the knob on the right adjusts the direction.

Last edited by footie; 10-07-2009 at 05:24 PM.
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      10-07-2009, 04:32 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by footie View Post
As the wife owns one of these I was interested to hear someone else opinion on the car. I agree that when you come from a rwd car of the caliber of metro 1.1 turbo, especially one kicking out as much as a 335i which is probably tuned then acceleration and handling won't entertain the same way, heck it's not even as entertaining as a Mini Cooper S or Focus RS but driven like you would a fwd rally car on the loose it is surprising entertaining, much more than you would imagine. I've owned and driven most of the hothatch through the years and in my opinion at least the GTI offers the best overall for entertain, quality, practicality, looks and economy, plus it holds exception value on resale. Yes others will be better at one or more things on that list but not overall.

As for the A/C, the knob on the right adjusts the direction.
+1

It's amazingly well-rounded. More car companies need to follow this model for small cars. Autoblog featured an article about US customers regretting the move to small cars. Maybe they should check out the new GTi.

I wish I could get a solo test drive in the 6mt model. I'm sure I could find it to be more fun than I did on that initial drive.
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      10-07-2009, 04:44 PM   #5
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that is better looking than the current one. but the stock rims need to go asap if you decide to purchase one.

i think whoever designed that stock rims need to be fire asap.
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      10-07-2009, 05:23 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nikkahtropolis View Post
+1

It's amazingly well-rounded. More car companies need to follow this model for small cars. Autoblog featured an article about US customers regretting the move to small cars. Maybe they should check out the new GTi.

I wish I could get a solo test drive in the 6mt model. I'm sure I could find it to be more fun than I did on that initial drive.
The wife again went with a manual, our first ever GTI was DSG. I actually prefer the DSG than manual and for one reason only, turbo lag, you probably still noticed with the DSG model you drove but truth me it's a lot more noticeable with the manual. Apart from that I am loving the rare occasions when I can nick the keys off her.

BTW, did the one you drive have the Dynaudio speaker pack, that option is mighty impressive, especially when you learn it's only six speakers and no centre speaker or bass units.
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      10-07-2009, 05:27 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by graider View Post
that is better looking than the current one. but the stock rims need to go asap if you decide to purchase one.

i think whoever designed that stock rims need to be fire asap.
It's surprising the amount of positive comments those rims receive. Though probably the people that dislike them say nothing because we British are ever the polite sort who prefer not to offend.
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      10-07-2009, 05:40 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by footie View Post
The wife again went with a manual, our first ever GTI was DSG. I actually prefer the DSG than manual and for one reason only, turbo lag, you probably still noticed with the DSG model you drove but truth me it's a lot more noticeable with the manual. Apart from that I am loving the rare occasions when I can nick the keys off her.

BTW, did the one you drive have the Dynaudio speaker pack, that option is mighty impressive, especially when you learn it's only six speakers and no centre speaker or bass units.
I never really noticed too much lag, but it was still there. I can't make an honest answer about the Dynaudio pack as the SA never mentioned anything about the speakers. I do know that the speakers were really clear and produced a nice clean sound. Unfortunately I only had the radio to work with. I should've brought a CD.

Have you heard of a rattle coming from the upper central dashboard? It could have been specific to the one I drove.
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      10-07-2009, 06:13 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nikkahtropolis View Post
I never really noticed too much lag, but it was still there. I can't make an honest answer about the Dynaudio pack as the SA never mentioned anything about the speakers. I do know that the speakers were really clear and produced a nice clean sound. Unfortunately I only had the radio to work with. I should've brought a CD.

Have you heard of a rattle coming from the upper central dashboard? It could have been specific to the one I drove.
In the UK that touch screen stereo only comes with the Dynaudio pack but things might be different across the water.

As for rattles, no the wife's car is thankfully rattle free. Probably just that example, but even then it could be simply be a loose part of the electrical cabling behind the dash, you would be surprised how common cars come from the manufactures with something like this being wrong and is sorted at PDI.

P.S.
I bet if you try a manual you WILL notice the lag more. It's not bad but it makes me wish I'd pushed her for the DSG, if only to please me.
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      10-07-2009, 06:35 PM   #10
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"Wife" and "Drives a manual GTi" is a very rare pairing. I think it is cool , extra speed be damned.
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      10-09-2009, 12:13 PM   #11
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Thanks for the great write-up!
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      10-10-2009, 05:20 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nikkahtropolis View Post

This is like the one I used. Where's the A/C config switch?
Edit: Wow, I see it on the right, but that wasn't there, I promise.
Then you were driving the one with 2 zone cilmate control which looks like this.

http://www.ausmotive.com/images/VW-Mk6-Golf-GTI-19.jpg

Won't post image as it's too large. The buttons on a row below the stereo are the controls for where the air goes, or you can leave it in auto and letthe system decide where the air flow should go. The buttons at either end are the front window on the left and rear window on the right.

P.S.
The buttons on the steering wheel, left control the stereo and the right set control the on-board computer which is very advanced for such a mid priced car.
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      10-10-2009, 05:26 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by footie View Post
Then you were driving the one with 2 zone cilmate control which looks like this.

http://www.ausmotive.com/images/VW-Mk6-Golf-GTI-19.jpg

Won't post image as it's too large. The buttons on a row below the stereo are the controls for where the air goes, or you can leave it in auto and letthe system decide where the air flow should go. The buttons at either end are the front window on the left and rear window on the right.

P.S.
The buttons on the steering wheel, left control the stereo and the right set control the on-board computer which is very advanced for such a mid priced car.
Ahhh, that's what I used. I was gonna say...
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      10-10-2009, 06:41 AM   #14
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See if you do testdrive another GTI, try lifting the throttle on entry to the corner, it will feel the tail becoming light. Now this won't upset the balance of the chassis or cause the SA into melt down (if he has balls) but it should show that the chassis isn't your usual bland fwd that offers nothing other than understeer.

As for the handling and performance from both engine and chassis, if you forget the two Renaults that are exceptional in the handling department and the Focus RS which has close on one and a half times the power then the GTI sits right at the top with the rest of the fwd front runners. An example is the stock Mini Cooper S laps in 1:21.1 compared to the GTI at 1:19.8, in fact when you remove all of the tweaked versions of the normal models from each brand the only so called normal fwd car that's quicker is the TT2.0TFSI which has the benefit of an alloy body/chassis, everything else is slower. Focus ST, Cupra R, Copper S, Civic Type-R, etc, all slower.
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