2007 Automobile of the Year: 2007 Volkswagen GTI

Brian Konoske

We marvel, like everyone else, at the excellent fit and finish of the GTI's Japanese competition. But while Volkswagen reliability has often failed to prove out, this GTI feels like it has more build quality than anything within miles of its price point. It exudes substance in ways that worthy, sometimes faster speed machines from the Far East--the Subaru Impreza WRX, the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution, and the Mazdaspeed 3, for instance--just don't. We hope that this feeling of quality is a gift that will keep on giving. Because that would make this super car for our times even superer.

What we said then:

Mk 1 Rabbit GTi
Output: 90 hp @ 5500 rpm
105 lb-ft @ 3250 rpm
Weight: 2100 lb
"The GTI isn't another one of those dumb boy racers that ride like produce wagons and make power like blenders stuck on pure. It's a fast little car without the nonsense."
Michael Jordan
November 1982
Car and Driver

Mk 2 GTi 16v 1.8L
Output: 123 hp @ 5800 rpm
120 lb-ft @ 4250 rpm
Weight: 2267 lb
"Even at heart-quickening velocities, driving the GTI through tight ess-bends is a routine operation. Push hard and the car won't bite back."
September 1987
Automobile Magazine

Mk 3 GTi VR6
Output: 172 hp @ 5400 rpm
173 lb-ft @ 4200 rpm
Weight: 2780 lb
"The new GTI feels tuned more for comfort than for [a] twisted stretch of blacktop . . . the engine and the transmission are willing, but the chassis won't play. The GTI [is] an excellent sedan, not the hot-rod hatchback we were expecting."
November 1994
Automobile Magazine

Mk 4 GTi 1.8T
Output: 180 hp @ 5500 rpm
174 lb-ft @ 1950 rpm
Weight: 2920 lb
"If the GTI works well on the track and brilliantly on the highway, it falls all over itself on twisty back roads. There is too much weight shifting around for this car to feel controllable."
January 2002
Automobile Magazine

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