Volkswagen over the years

In its own way, the VW trademark is as distinctive and familiar to knowledgeable car fiends as any of the sleek and sexy types preferred by the James Bonds of the world. From the Beetle that won the hearts of millions to the latest arrivals on the scene, Golf GTI’s, there has always been a lot to recommend in each VW incarnation. Now the Golf GTI Mk7 is about to hit the road and it’s getting a lot of good press.

Test drivers who set out to determine whether the maker’s press releases are trustworthy have mostly reported that they are. The VW website says rather modestly, “Performance. Handling. Style. We fit it all in a hatchback.” According to first-hand reports, that sums it up pretty well but of course they go on to give a lot of specifics.

One of the most notable advances over its predecessors is the Mk7’s upgraded engine; the standard model has a 2-litre turbocharged engine with 217bhp and 258lb ft of torque (increased from 206 in the Mk6). You can also blast from 0 to 62mph in 6.5 seconds, and rev right on up to 152mph in the straight, according to the stats from VW.

This is the first GTI to come in two models, with the Performance model costing about £1,000 more than the £25,845 base price for the standard model. This one is juiced up a bit more, with an increase in power to 227bhp and larger brakes, plus it will hit 62mph a tiny bit faster and the top speed goes to 155mph.

Road & Track calls the GTI Mk7 ‘a giant slayer’ in terms of beating out the competition. They report that it’s a real driver’s car in the best package on the market today (though it won’t be commercially on the road for awhile). Like other reviewers they give high marks to interior spaciousness, as well as the look and feel of much more expensive cars. And if composed power and handling are high on your priority list, you can’t do better – or half as well – with most other cars at twice the price.