New Car Reviews

2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI – Performing As a Proper Hot Hatch Should

Miles to date: 4,912

Long-Term 2015 Volkswagen GTI Update: Summer 2015 ( 1 of 5 ) Miles to date: 4,912

From daily urban runabout to twisty-road attacker, the 2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI S we’ve been hustling around our SoCal headquarters and points beyond is one of the rare cars in the under $30,000 realm that excels in just about any driving situation.
My commute is 29 miles one way in some of the worst traffic L.A. has to offer (people around here are truly horrified when I tell them), and not once have I thought I’d rather have the DSG-equipped car. OK, maybe once. The 2015 GTI’s clutch/pedal operation is incredibly easy to modulate, and the hill holder feature has also come in handy when stopped on a steep incline. On those rare occasions when traffic opens up, I drop it down a gear or two, boot the throttle, and the Mk VII GTI’s 2.0-liter four provides more than enough turbo-boosted power (220 hp) and torque (258 lb-ft) to hit a gap or get busy on my favorite on-ramp. We’ve been on the throttle quite a bit since the car’s arrived, and so far our combined mileage is a shade over 26 mpg, less than the 28 combined EPA number. (It is rated at 25/34 mpg city/highway.)

In order to quantify its performance, we recently had our VW GTI out for a battery of testing, and the numbers back up its rep. The VW hatch, which hit the scales at 3,096 pounds, boogied from 0-60 mph in 5.8 seconds on the way to a quarter mile time of 14.4 seconds at 99.2 mph. It also whoa’d down from 60 mph in 108 feet, touched a max 0.92 g on the skidpad, and shot from 45 to 65 mph in 2.6 seconds. All very good numbers no doubt helped by the Bridgestone Potenza S001 performance tires mounted on 18-inch rims, as well as the other optional Performance Pack additions (larger front brakes, mechanical limited-slip diff) on our car.


At speed on the freeway, the 2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI is one of the quieter cars you’ll find in its class, and the chassis and suspension handle road imperfections more than acceptably and with minimal crash and bash. And with four doors, there is more than enough space for four adults to ride around in relative comfort. I had the parents in for a weekend recently and no one had any complaints about the ride or space. Believe me, I would have heard about it otherwise.
The Clark plaid cloth seats (also called Tartan Black) named after Formula 1 legend Jim Clark are comfortable. And the driver’s seat, despite the lack of power other than recline, and the height-adjustable, telescoping steering wheel are easy to set to your preferences — analog style. I also really dig the GTI’s classy red lighting accents, Bluetooth pairing was a snap, and the HVAC controls are easy to operate. There’s enough space to chuck your phone in the front cubby, and the cupholders can handle most modestly sized drinks.

While our GTI doesn’t come with a backup camera, sight lines are more than acceptable, and it is compact enough to fit into and get out of tight spots. I’m not a big fan of the flicks that flank the front fascia, but other than that, the new 2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI is handsome, inside and out, and so far is performing as a proper hot hatch should.

Overview

  • Body style 4-door hatchback
  • Accommodation 4-passenger
  • Construction Steel unibody
  • Base price (with dest.) $27,700
  • As tested $28,895

Powertrain

  • Engine
  • 16-valve DOHC turbocharged I-4
  • Displacement 2.0 liters (91 cu in)
  • Power 220 hp @ 4500 rpm
  • Torque 258 lb-ft @ 1500 rpm
  • Transmission 6-speed manual
  • Drive Front-wheel
  • EPA Fuel Economy 19/28 mpg city/highway

Chassis

  • Steering Electrically assisted
  • Lock-to-lock 2.1 turns
  • Turning circle 35.8 ft
  • Suspension, Front Strut-type, coil springs
  • Suspension, Rear Multilink, coil springs
  • Brakes F/R Vented discs
  • Wheels 18-inch aluminum
  • Tires Bridgestone Potenza S001
  • Tire size 225/40R-18

Measurements

  • Headroom F/R 38.4/38.1 in
  • Legroom F/R 41.2/35.6 in
  • Shoulder room F/R 55.9/53.9 in
  • Wheelbase 103.6 in
  • Track F/R 60.6/59.7 in
  • L x W x H 168 x 70.5 x 56.8 in
  • Passenger Capactity 93.5 cu ft
  • Cargo capacity(rear seats up/down) 22.8/52.7 cu ft
  • Weight 3031 lb
  • Weight dist. F/R 60.7/39.3%
  • Fuel capacity 13.2 gal
  • Est. fuel range 370 miles
  • Fuel grade 91 octane (premium unleaded)

Equipment

  • standard equipment

    • 18-inch aluminum wheels
    • Front and rear independent sport suspension
    • Electronic limited-slip front differential lock
    • Front and rear vented disc brakes
    • Alloy pedals
    • Leather-wrapped steering wheel
    • Leather-wrapped brake handle and shift knob
    • Plaid-pattern cloth seats
    • Heated front seats
    • Tilt-and-telescopic steering column
    • 5.8-inch touchscreen display
    • Bluetooth
    • Satellite radio connectivity
    • USB/iPod interface
    • 8-speaker audio system
    • Cruise control
    • Front daytime running lights
    • Air conditioning
    • Heated, power-folding exterior mirrors
    • 60/40-split folding rear seats

Options

  • options for this vehicle:

    • Lighting package – $995
    • 18-inch summer performance tires – $0
    • Six-speed manual transmission – $0