I've had the GTI for three months now and I can honestly say it's a blast to drive, and with four doors, it's very practical as well. This is my first manual transmission car in 18 years and I'm really enjoying shifting on my own again. The car has plenty of power and very little turbo lag. Build quality is excellent and I've had no issues with reliability. I was tempted to get a BMW 335i, but in Northern Virginia where I live it seems that every other car is a BMW 3 series so the GTI is a nice change and the price is extremely reasonable for what you get.
Form fitting seats combined with a manual transmission makes you really feel in control.