2008 Volkswagen GTI Hatchback Review | Edmunds.com

2008 Volkswagen GTI Hatchback

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Volkswagen GTI Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 2.0 L Inline 4-cylinder
  • Drivetrain Front Wheel Drive
  • Transmission 6-speed Manual
  • Horse Power 200 hp @ 5100 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 20/29 mpg
  • Bluetooth No
  • Navigation No
  • Heated Seats Yes

Review of the 2008 Volkswagen GTI

  • The 2008 Volkswagen GTI trades outright performance for more comfort and daily usability. It's the grown-up's hot hatch.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    Hatchback utility, upscale features and interior design, strong turbocharged engine, optional sequential-shifting DSG gearbox.

  • Cons

    Higher price than many competitors, handling nimbleness dulled by beefy curb weight.

  • What's New for 2008

    The 2008 Volkswagen GTI receives a lower ride height for better handling, and minor equipment and trim level changes.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

  Average Consumer Rating (7 total reviews)  |  Write a Review

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Best car i've owned

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Vehicle: 2008 Volkswagen GTI 4dr Hatchback w/Prod. End 05/08 (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6M)

I give this car 2 thumbs up for being the most fun and comfortable car I've owned..I've owned 2 dozen or more. Even with reliability issues, it is still worth having if under warranty. I've owned it a month now...bought it used with 16k miles. It has FSI engine which i learned is the older version, but still very good, though. Great handling, comfortable ride even with 18" wheels. Gas mileage is awesome 26- 30mpg mixed mostly highway commuting. Premium gas is a must if you want good gas mileage. First tank from dealer got 26mpg with regular then after that I got close to 30mpg with premium. VW combines fun and practicality all in one package. Back seat is rather large, too.

My fun mobile

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Vehicle: 2008 Volkswagen GTI 4dr Hatchback w/Prod. End 05/08 (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6M)

Needed something with a back seat, and also wanted a car with decent gas mileage. But mostly the car had to be FUN to drive, since I was giving up my roadster. I drove Toyota's, Subaru's, Chevys and Mazdas, but once I drove the GTI, I knew I was buying one. I've always been a manual transmission guy. But a salesman encouraged me to try the DSG transmission, I did, & loved it. I bought the 4-door in white, really looks classy, sporty, yet practical.

Perfect package

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Vehicle: 2008 Volkswagen GTI 4dr Hatchback w/Prod. End 05/08 (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6M)

This car is a great mix of way fun to drive, very respectable gas mileage, useful features, and overall grin inducing ownership. The driver is pampered in a GTI; great seats, superb steering wheel, quality switches, tight handling. Now that I've put almost 5,000 miles on it, the fuel economy is starting to improve. Started out at 25 mpg on a hilly highway commute, now I'm up to 33 mpg - very timely.

The only car for me

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Vehicle: 2008 Volkswagen GTI 4dr Hatchback w/Prod. End 05/08 (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6M)

I looked for a new car off and on for over 2 years and have never been a "VW guy". In fact, everything I've owned previously has been Japanese. When I test drove this car, the drive won me over. It is not the fastest or best handling car I considered, but it is the only one that made me grin uncontrollably every time I test drove it. I love the way the car looks inside and out. I love the way the controls feel at hand/feet. It sounds good. It gets good gas mileage (averaged nearly 32 on a 3 hr interstate trip with less than 1k miles on the odo). It has fantastic legroom front and back. Even with the 18" wheels, I don't mind the ride quality. There's simply no other car like it.

Bye-bye sti

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Vehicle: 2008 Volkswagen GTI 4dr Hatchback w/Prod. End 05/08 (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6M)

Last year I had to go down to one car. I thought a Subaru STi Limited would satisfy my need for scalding performance, reliability, a warranty and 4 doors. After driving the STi daily for a full year, I realized that driving a race car to work every day was not as much fun as it sounded. The GTI is fantastic; quiet, refined, good ride, handles exceptionally well for a front driver. This car makes for a great enthusiasts's daily driver. The Autobahn package is worth every penny. The car swallowed a a surprising amount of stuff on a trip to the home improvement store [including a 7' long mailbox post via the pass through], with two kids in the back. A great vehicle.

A good idea

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Vehicle: 2008 Volkswagen GTI 4dr Hatchback w/Prod. End 05/08 (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6M)

I had a '91 GTI 16 valve when I was in high school, it was a matter of time before I got another one. I traded in my '04 Passat 4-Motion for a new '08 GTI and am happy I did. I went for the 4 door, Autobahn package and 18" rims. I've had the car for almost 4 weeks and like it more every day. Styling, handling and acceleration are great, as is gas mileage and comfort. Car feels like a BMW inside and performs like a car twice its price. I was shocked how quick it is and the 6 speed manual makes it that that much more fun to drive.

Full 2008 Volkswagen GTI Review

What's New for 2008

The 2008 Volkswagen GTI receives a lower ride height for better handling, and minor equipment and trim level changes.


When Volkswagen introduced its new GTI a couple of years ago, it ran a series of TV ads featuring a stereotyped German engineer, his leggy female counterpart and a variety of over-customized sport compact cars. The ad's Teutonic duo then "un-pimped" the cars by smashing or destroying them, hence allowing the introduction of the new GTI. The TV spots were fun (you can find them on YouTube, naturally) but more importantly, there was real substance behind them. After a string of lackluster GTIs, the latest edition is once again a key member of the hot hatch justice league. And unlike some rivals, it doesn't have to resort to spoilers, scoops and gimmicky interior trim.

The fifth-generation ("Mk V") GTI went on sale as a late 2006 model and heads into 2008 with minimal changes. As expected, the GTI starts life as your basic economy-minded Rabbit. It then gains a variety of upgrades that serve to increase sporting potential. VW and Audi's common but highly regarded 2.0-liter direct-injected turbocharged engine (aka, the 2.0T) is used here, and it can be fitted to Volkswagen's excellent Direct Shift Gearbox (DSG) transmission, an automated-clutch, paddle-shifted manual. Also on the GTI are more powerful brakes and a sport-tuned suspension that's been further enhanced for 2008 via a 15mm drop in ride height.

This is definitely the best GTI in a long time. It's also versatile -- it comes as a two-door or four-door and has a roomy and well-built interior. Your only pause for concern might be that the GTI is a bit pricey and lacks in performance when compared to other top sport hatchbacks or coupes. The Honda Civic Si and Mini Cooper S are more nimble and fun to drive, for instance, and the well-rounded Mazdaspeed 3 packs more of a turbocharged wallop. There's also the Volvo C30 to consider this year as it, too, brings a refined European feel to this segment. Overall, though, the 2008 Volkswagen GTI is still a very good choice, especially for somebody wanting a hot hatch that's grown-up, comfortable and pleasingly "un-pimped."

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2008 Volkswagen GTI is a performance-oriented hatchback. Both two-door and four-door body styles are offered. Standard equipment includes xenon HID headlights, 17-inch alloy wheels, heated outside mirrors, full power accessories, air-conditioning, cruise control, sport front seats, a 60/40-split rear seat and a 10-speaker, six-CD/MP3 audio system with satellite radio, an auxiliary jack and steering-wheel-mounted audio controls. This year VW is offering an Autobahn Package; it includes a sunroof, a premium audio system, leather upholstery and heated front seats. Most of the Autobahn's features are also offered as stand-alone options. Other upgrades for the GTI include 18-inch wheels, an iPod adapter and, when equipped with the Autobahn Package, a navigation system.

Powertrains and Performance

Every VW GTI comes with a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that produces 200 horsepower and 207 pound-feet of torque. It drives the front wheels through a standard six-speed manual transmission or a six-speed, sequential-shifting automated manual called DSG. The DSG transmission can be shifted via paddles on the steering wheel or placed in fully automatic mode. For a GTI with the regular six-speed manual, expect a 0-60-mph time of about 6.7 seconds.


Standard safety equipment includes antilock disc brakes with brake assist, stability control, front-seat side airbags and full-length side curtain airbags. Rear side-impact airbags are optional on four-door models. In government testing, the four-door Rabbit/GTI earned four stars out of five for its protection of front occupants in frontal impacts. For that agency's side-impact test, the car earned a five-star rating. In Insurance Institute for Highway Safety crash tests, the car scored a "Good" rating (the highest possible) in both the frontal-offset and side-impact tests.

Interior Design and Special Features

Like the Rabbit, the GTI's interior design is straightforward and traditional, with upscale materials and excellent build quality. A few special metallic trim pieces grace the cabin, and the GTI-specific sport seats are very supportive. Distinctive design elements include the standard cloth upholstery, which has a retro plaid print, and the flat-bottom steering wheel. The main advantage to the four-door GTI is its more accessible rear seat, though the two-door's front seats slide forward quite easily to improve entry and exit. With either body style, there's plenty of rear-seat room for a couple of kids. Behind the rear seat, the GTI can hold 15 cubic feet of cargo.

Driving Impressions

Start the 2008 Volkswagen GTI and there's a deep, burbling engine note that increases in volume once the throttle is opened under load. It's an enjoyable tone that's rare in the world of turbocharged cars. The engine also provides plenty of torque at low rpm to make squirts through urban traffic quite easy. Around town, the GTI's ride quality is quite agreeable, and overall the car is an excellent choice for a daily driver. From an enthusiast's standpoint, however, the GTI falls a bit short of cars like the Civic Si and Cooper S in terms of handling and driver enjoyment. This year's lower ride height has helped matters somewhat, but the softy tuned VeeDub still suffers from a beefy curb weight and lackluster steering feel.

Talk About The 2008 GTI

Gas Mileage


  • 20
  • cty
  • 29
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs