The VW Golf GTi Mk7, the seventh generation GTi, has just gone on sale in Australia, priced from $41,490 plus on-roads for the six-speed manual and $43,990 for the six-speed DSG automatic. The GTI is a later inclusion to the Mk7 Golf range, which arrived in local showrooms earlier this year. The three-door body style is now permanently gone from the range, and the new GTI has gone exclusively five-door in Australia.
The VW Golf GTi comes fitted with the standard turbocharged 2.0-litre engine and makes 217bhp. Where it veers from the norm is in the addition of a performance-kitted variant. That brings an extra 10bhp, although torque stays at 258lb ft. It comes with one more update: the Golf GTi now has a non-linear steering rack. As standard, GTis get a six-speed manual gearbox. A six-speed dual-clutch automatic is optional.
A sharper-looker than the slightly rounded Mk5 and Mk6, the Mk7 has a chiselled visual quality. As well as the essential height adjustment and manually adjustable lumbar support, there is a dash of red embroidery (and a splash of branding) and a modest sprinkling of superior kit to better suit the higher price.
Its steering is quite light; new steering rack and all. Its handling is poised but proportionate – accurate and never troublesome on the road. It’s just edgy enough to remind you that you’re driving something a bit zesty.
When compared to some of the hatch’s rivals, it lags a little behind, which is evident on a cross-country blast. The gearbox is smooth in auto mode and shifts quickly in manual.
Like the regular Golf, the GTi comes with the option of advanced telephone connection, which inductively couples your device to the car’s aerial, improving reception and battery life.
Otherwise, the standard multi-device interface — including Bluetooth and USB — already makes your smartphone feel right at home.
The Mk7 hasn’t got a huge leap on the previous GTi – Mk6. It is still dependable and solid, safe and strong . Fast, frugal and competent, this is an everyday use kind of performance car, which is what the Golf GTi has always managed to be.