Track Tested: 2010 Volkswagen Golf TDI vs. 2010 Volkswagen GTI


2010 Volkswagen Golf TDI vs. 2010 Volkswagen 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.

After a three-year hiatus, the Volkswagen Golf is back. And to make up for its constant name-dropping, Volkswagen is finally offering the Golf-nee-Rabbit-nee-Golf-nee-Rabbit with a 2.0-liter turbodiesel engine producing 140 horsepower, but more importantly, 236 pound-feet of torque.

This is the same powertrain we've seen in Volkswagen's Jetta and Jetta Sportwagen TDI. But despite less weight in an overall smaller package, the 2010 Golf TDI wears the same EPA rating (30/41 with a six-speed manual) as its Jetta cousin. Blame aerodynamics. Blame tire differences. Blame whatever you want. We prefer to blame a simple line item on the Golf's spec sheet: Standard lowered sport suspension.

And this is where the GTI comes in. Long heralded as the cost-conscious performance car, the 2010 Volkswagen GTI is all grown up. It now pushes 200 hp at 5,100 rpm --100 higher than the TDI's redline -- and 207 lb-ft of torque through the front wheels from a turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-4. It also has a plaid interior and a sport suspension, but fuel economy is merely acceptable at 21/31 as rated by the EPA.

So it's brother-against-brother. Gas vs. diesel. Torque vs. horsepower. All-season Continental tires vs. all-season Dunlops. Follow the jump to see who takes it.

                                                Volkswagen GTI            Volkswagen Golf TDI
0-30 (sec):                                      2.8                               3.0
0-45 (sec):                                      4.7                               5.3
0-60 (sec):                                      7.0                               8.7
0-75 (sec):                                      9.7                               13.2
1/4 Mile (sec @ mph):              15.0 @ 95.2                16.4 @ 83.7
0-60 With 1-ft Rollout (sec):             6.6                               8.3
30-0 (ft):                                          34                                31
60-0 (ft):                                         130                              121
Skid Pad Lateral Acceleration (g):    0.87                             0.86
Slalom                                             65.5                             69.2





Vehicle: 2010 Volkswagen GTI

Odometer: 2,103

Date: 03/23/2010

Driver: Josh Jacquot

Price: $25,454


Specifications: 

Drive Type: Front-wheel drive

Transmission Type: Six-speed manual

Engine Type: Turbocharged, direct-injected inline-4

Displacement (cc/cu-in): 1,984cc (121 cu-in)

Redline (rpm): 6,200

Horsepower (hp @ rpm): 200 @ 5,100

Torque (lb-ft @ rpm): 207 @ 1,800

Brake Type (front): 12.3-inch one-piece ventilated cast-iron discs with single-piston sliding calipers

Brake Type (rear): 11.3-inch one-piece ventilated cast-iron discs with single-piston sliding calipers

Steering System: Electric-assist speed-proportional rack-and-pinion power steering

Suspension Type (front): Independent MacPherson struts, coil springs, stabilizer bar

Suspension Type (rear): Independent multilink, coil springs, stabilizer bar

Tire Size (front): 225/40R18 92H

Tire Size (rear): 225/40R18 92H

Tire Brand: Dunlop

Tire Model: SP Sport 01 

Tire Type: All season

Wheel Material (front/rear): Cast aluminum

As Tested Curb Weight (lb): 3,097


Test Results: 

0-30 (sec): 2.8

0-45 (sec): 4.7

0-60 (sec): 7.0

0-75 (sec): 9.7

1/4 Mile (sec @ mph): 15.0 @ 95.2 

0-60 with 1-ft Rollout (sec): 6.6

30-0 (ft): 34

60-0 (ft): 130

Braking Rating: Average

Slalom (mph): 65.5

Skid Pad Lateral Acceleration (g): 0.87

Handling Rating: Poor


Acceleration Comments: There doesn't seem to be any "magic launch" to get this car off the line. Moderate wheelspin is quicker than bog-n-go.

Braking Comments: Some pedal jump-in, lots of stink but no fade.

Handling Comments: Skid pad: Marginally receptive to lift throttle at limits, but always kept in check by stability control, of course. Slalom: Why can't I disable stability control on this sport compact car? Silly. Just silly. And it does slalom speeds no favors.


Vehicle: 2010 Volkswagen Golf TDI

Odometer: 6,409 

Date: 05/11/2010

Driver: Josh Jacquot

Price: $27,090

Options: Touchscreen Navigation ($1,750); Power Sunroof ($1,000); Adaptive Bi-Xenon Headlamps ($700); Dynaudio Advanced Sound ($476); Cold Weather Package ($225); Bluetooth ($199)


Specifications: 

Drive Type: Front-wheel drive

Transmission Type: Six-speed manual

Engine Type: Turbocharged, direct-injection common-rail diesel inline-4

Displacement (cc/cu-in): 1,968cc (120.1 cu-in)

Redline (rpm): 5,000

Horsepower (hp @ rpm): 140 @ 4,000

Torque (lb-ft @ rpm): 236 @ 1,750-2,500 

Brake Type (front): 11.3-inch one-piece ventilated cast-iron discs with single-piston sliding calipers

Brake Type (rear): 10.2-inch one-piece cast-iron discs with single-piston sliding calipers

Steering System: Electric-assist speed-proportional rack-and-pinion power steering

Suspension Type (front): Independent MacPherson struts, coil springs, shock absorber, integrated stabilizer bar

Suspension Type (rear): Independent multilink, coil springs, shock absorber, stabilizer bar

Tire Size (front): 225/45R17 91H

Tire Size (rear): 225/45R17 91H

Tire Brand: Continental

Tire Model: ContiproContact 

Tire Type: All-season

Wheel Material (front/rear): Cast aluminum

As Tested Curb Weight (lb): 3,101


Test Results: 

0-30 (sec): 3.0

0-45 (sec): 5.3

0-60 (sec): 8.7

0-75 (sec): 13.2

1/4-mile (sec @ mph): 16.4 @ 83.7 

0-60 with 1-ft Rollout (sec): 8.3

30-0 (ft): 31

60-0 (ft): 121

Braking Rating: Good

Slalom (mph): 69.2

Skid Pad Lateral Acceleration (g): 0.86

Handling Rating: Average


Acceleration Comments: Will not allow wheelspin off the line -- even with ESC disabled. Any wheelspin triggers intervention and ruins the run. Trick is to slip clutch to get moving, then use wide-open throttle.

Braking Comments: Typically VW long, squishy pedal feel which is still reasonably effective. Distance, however, isn't great.

Handling Comments: Skid pad: Circles with the same front-tire-torturing indifference as other hard-tired, softly sprung VWs. Slalom: Non-defeat stability control doesn't do the Golf any favors, but it manages reasonably well with smooth, calculated inputs. 

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