2019 Volkswagen Golf GTI 2.0T Autobahn Review by David Colman +VIDEO
At twice the money this car would be a deal...it's that good
By David Colman
Special Correspondent to THE AUTO CHANNEL
What distinguishes the GTI from all the other performance wannabes? Balance. The engine never overwhelms the suspension or the brakes. All three elements work harmoniously to make the GTI the best back road weapon you can buy. At twice the money, this car would be a deal. At the current base price of $35,995 it's an absolute steal. VW has managed to extract a few more ponies every year from the 2.0 liter turbo 4. Direct fuel injection, twin overhead cams, and 16 valves help produce 230hp and 258lb.-ft. of torque. While 230hp may seem piddling in a world of 500hp muscle cars, that's more than twice the horsepower of the original 1975 GTI. More importantly, each horsepower in the 2019 GTI only needs to propel 13.7 pounds of weight, because this VW weighs in at just 3,155lbs. That makes for a very lively power-to-weight ratio. And the motor's wonderful exhaust makes you want to play the same intoxicating tune over and over.
Unlike so many high performance cars, where engine output overwhelms all other considerations, the GTI's Zen-like balance involves more than simple acceleration. The four wheel independent suspension, backed up by responsive and sticky Bridgestone Potenza S001 tires (225/40R18), bobs and weaves like a boxer to insure you never lose adhesion. The diminutive flat bottom steering wheel commands directional changes instantly. There is no slop in the steering or suspension of the GTI. Even the most minute turn of the steering wheel puts the GTI exactly where you intended it to be. Capping off the driving experience is 4 mode adaptive chassis control. Chose the Sport setting for greatest handling precision.
VW has upgraded the GTI brakes this year, with ventilated discs front and rear, and red calipers peeking through the five bold spokes of each alloy rim. The brakes, like the clutch, are quite sensitive to pedal pressure. You quickly learn not to pitch your passenger through the windshield by insensitive brake application. Once you've mastered the engagement point, the brakes are spot-on terrific. Another asset missing from most cars these days is a reputable horn. The GTI's stentorian dual tone blaster is a welcome addition to the performance portfolio.
2019 VOLKSWAGEN GOLF GTI 2.0T AUTOBAHN
ENGINE: 2.0 liter inline 4, DOHC, 16 valves, Direct Fuel Injection, Turbocharged
FUEL CONSUMPTION: 24MPG City/32MPG Highway
PRICE AS TESTED: $36,890
HYPES: This Family Sedan Outperforms Most Sports Cars
STAR RATING: 10 Stars out of 10