2012 Volkswagen Golf GTD Track Test

2012 Volkswagen Golf GTD Track Test

VW Throws an Oil Burner in the GTI


Edmunds tests hundreds of vehicles a year. Cars, trucks, SUVs, we run them all, and the numbers always tell a story. With that in mind we present "Track Tested," a quick rundown of all the data we collect at the track, along with comments direct from the test drivers. Enjoy.

As car enthusiasts, there are a few things we're programmed to love. One of those things is torque. We blame growing up with big stonking American V8s for this one, but there are few things that make a car easier to drive, or more fun, than a metric truckload of low-end, tire-shredding torque.

The other thing we're programmed to love is sitting way down at the opposite side of the automotive spectrum: hot hatches. They're relatively cheap, handle well, and they haul enough people and gear to spend a day at the beach and convince people you're not some lunatic trying to overcompensate.

Given these two facts, it should come as no surprise that we're smitten with the 2012 Volkswagen Golf GTD. Essentially, what we have is one of our favorite hot hatches — the Volkswagen GTI — equipped with a 168-horsepower, 2.0-liter turbodiesel. More importantly, it twists out 258 pound-feet of torque starting at only 1,750 rpm. And with its 44.4 mpg estimate, it has a projected range of some 645 miles.

So, is this marriage of GTI and torque the end-all-be-all of hot hatches? Does it elevate the Golf game, or does it just split the difference between GTI and TDI? Should VW even bother importing this one to the States with the next generation of Golf?

We took it to the track to find out.

Odometer: 10,659
Date: 10/30/2012
Driver: Mike Monticello
Price: $23,000 (Base)

Drive Type: Front engine, front-wheel drive
Transmission Type: Six-speed auto-clutch manual
Engine Type: 2.0-liter turbodiesel
Displacement (cc/cu-in): 1,968/120
Redline (rpm): 5,000
Horsepower (hp @ rpm): 168 @ 4,200
Torque (lb-ft @ rpm): 258 @ 1,750
Brake Type (front): Ventilated discs with single-piston sliding calipers
Brake Type (rear): Solid discs with single-piston sliding calipers
Suspension Type (front): Independent MacPherson struts, coil springs, stabilizer bar
Suspension Type (rear): Independent multilink, coil springs, stabilizer bar
Tire Size (front): 225/40R18 (92Y)
Tire Size (rear): 225/40R18 (92Y)
Tire Brand: Bridgestone
Tire Model: Potenza RE050A
Tire Type: Summer
As Tested Curb Weight (lb): 3,176

Test Results:

0-30 (sec): 2.6 (3.3 w/ TC on)
0-45 (sec): 4.5 (5.4 w/ TC on)
0-60 (sec): 7.2 (8.0 w/ TC on)
0-60 with 1-ft Rollout (sec): 6.9 (7.6 w/ TC on)
0-75 (sec): 11.0 (11.8 w/ TC on)
1/4-Mile (sec @ mph): 15.4 @ 88.9 (16.0 @ 88.3 w/ TC on)

30-0 (ft): 29
60-0 (ft): 114

Slalom (mph): 69.2 (69.2 w/TC on)
Skid Pad Lateral Acceleration (g): 0.89 (0.89 w/TC on)

Db @ Idle: 47.2
Db @ Full Throttle: 76.6
Db @ 70 mph Cruise: 66.5
RPM @ 70: 2,000


Acceleration: The turbodiesel hesitates significantly off the line if you don't power brake. After that it's all big power and super-quick shifts. With traction control off and the transmission in Sport mode, it went into some kind of launch control, although it only held revs at 2,000 rpm. That was enough, jumping off the line with front wheelspin. Manual shifting is via paddles. Blips throttle on downshifts, does not hold gears to rev limiter, shifts at 4,900.

Braking: Firm pedal, good feel. Lots of ABS goings-ons but nice, short distances. Minimal dive and no wiggle. First stop was shortest at 114 feet. Third stop (out of six) was longest at 122 feet.


Skid pad: Compared with the slalom, the skid pad number is only fair. Shows how good the chassis tuning is versus the actual grip of the tires. The GTD pretty much just wanted to understeer here, and throttle adjustments had only minor effects.

Slalom: Volkswagen, bring the GTD to the U.S. exactly as it is here. Don't change a thing. Give us the adjustable suspension, the summer tires, the perfectly calibrated ESC that can be turned off. It's extremely planted, has natural steering and very little body roll. Love it.

The manufacturer provided Edmunds this vehicle for the purposes of evaluation.



  • itsmpt itsmpt Posts:

    I happy to see that VW still continues to bring over diesel powered cars. Not sure how many diesels VW sells, but it must be enough to introduce this model. I hope other manufacturers realize there is a demand out there for diesels and introduce their own models.

  • rayzor rayzor Posts:

    put me down for one if the specs holds or get even better than this for the US model, especially if the mileage stay same or gets better. I think this is one of the future directions for hot hatches, power, performance and good fuel economy all roll in one. I want one, now!!

  • nyccarguy nyccarguy Posts:

    When is this car going to be available in the US? Will it also be available in a 4 door (5 door)?

  • noflash1 noflash1 Posts:

    Is this car now available in the US? Has the reporting gone downhill along with the website format? nf

  • sharpend sharpend Posts:

    I miss Inside Line. :-(

  • itsmpt itsmpt Posts:

    @sharpend I do too. Sadly, this is what we have for now. I really don't understand the need to move Insideline to Edmunds. I know it's "free" and I can't complain too much, but it infuriates me that we went from Insideline to this mediocre,

  • lsiii lsiii Posts:

    I would be first in line if VW brought the GTD to the states!!

  • cz_75 cz_75 Posts:

    Edmunds blows.

  • bassracerx bassracerx Posts:

    the numbers on the engine sound bonkers but my stock honda fit(105hp) does 16 second flat 1/4 mile so "where is the beef?" i'm sure with this much torque the gtd could achieve triple digit speeds with ease and the gas milage is fantastic but for what i'm asuming as a 30k base price this car is not convincing me. oh what could-have been though =(

  • stovt001_ stovt001_ Posts:

    Remember when these articles would get 80+ comments in a day? If the move was an attempt to drive more traffic, I'm thinking the data is working against that one. Back on topic, I'd buy one of these. Near GTI performance (which was torquey for a hot hatch to begin with) with really good fuel economy would make for the best daily driver you could want.

  • jederino jederino Posts:

    What is the turbodiesel hesitation off the line about? RPMs too low? Is the engine pleasing to rev, and how does it sound?

  • jederino jederino Posts:

    Hmmm, thought I posted on this yesterday, but it didn't show up. Anyway, is there any reason to shift past 4,900 rpm? Would you miss the character of the gas turbo if you purchased this?

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