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.
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
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.