2008 Volkswagen GTI Hatchback Review | Edmunds.com

2008 Volkswagen GTI Hatchback

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Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) is a category of used car. Often late-model vehicles, they have been inspected, refurbished, if necessary, and are under warranty by the manufacturer.
Volkswagen GTI Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 2.0 L Inline 4-cylinder
  • Drivetrain Front Wheel Drive
  • Transmission 6-speed Automated Manual
  • Horse Power 200 hp @ 5100 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 22/29 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.

Gas Mileage


  • 22
  • cty
  • 29
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs
What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

Possibly the best sub $30k

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

This car is a blast. It puts a huge smile on my face every single time I drive it. The power delivery is smooth and effortless and the engine makes a satisfying growl. The DSG is fantastic. The ride strikes a great compromise between sportiness and comfort. This car does everything. I can drive aggressively and have a fantastic time. I can haul 5 people, or 4 comfortably. I can haul a ton of stuff. I get great gas mileage. The interior of this car is far more refined than any of its competitors. The materials look and feel upscale. It's just a nice place to be. For the money, this car is darn near unbeatable. It is equally good as a daily driver and a weekend toy.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

A fun, solid, useful little

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

I'm coming up on my 3 yr ann. with my GTI and have only very few / minor complaints (see below) to go with my many miles of spirited driving. Even though torque steer is non-existent, I've decided I just don't like FWD cars - the balance is just not there, especially at turn-in. Luckily for VW (and me!), from what I've read, my wants / needs are all met with the 2012 GTI-R / Golf-R / R20.

Sports car, suv, city runabout

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

This car acts as: (1) a sport scar because it is a blast to drive, (2) an suv because it hauls lots of people/stuff and is very user friendly/utilitarian, (3) a city runabout due to small size/easy to park and good on gas (31-35 mpg on highway depending on speed). This car is as fun to drive as my boxster S. Not overly flashy or showy but still looks "hip". I think VWs leather is plasticky so I got the cloth. Can be chipped for around $600 to get about 40 more hp if so inclined. The weak points of this car are well known due to tuners upgrading them to 300+ hp and no major issues if left stock or slightly modified. DSG is amazing and satisfies both automatic and manual drivers.

Love my gti

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

Great Car! Owned 2000 Golf, 2002 Jetta GLI, 2006 Jetta GLI and now the 2008 GTI and it is the best yet. I went with the 4 door model because i got a kid and it just makes it easier. Love the leather package and the stereo. Oil changes on these cars are expensive so I opted for the dealer package that covers this. Hope I don't have problems with the air conditioner compressor and condenser that has plagued newer vw's.

Making friends with your fast

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

After much research and test driving, I traded in my '04 Passat GLX 5-Speed for a '08 GTI 4-Door. I needed something more practical, but also wanted to upgrade slightly in performance. However, I also wanted to stay below (well below) $30k while doing it. With the current crop of hot hatches proliferating like bunnies (no pun intended), the GTI seemed to have the best mix of everything, features, performance, space and a well-executed interior. The Mazda3 was the only real competitor that gave the GTI a run for its money - especially in the value aspect. However, in the end, the GTI was more unique and hit a lot more design details that I appreciate (illuminated vanity mirrors for one).

Great car

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

I have 4000 miles on my GTI so far and it's a great car. This is my favorite car that I have owned (02 Mustang GT, 98 Cadillac STS). VERY fast and still gets good gas mileage. DSG is fun to drive on open roads and automatic mode is very convenient in traffic.


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

2008 Volkswagen GTI Discussions See all Started By

I am planning to buy a new GTI 2008 soon with the following options: 4dr, DSG, Autobahn Package, Navigation w/ iPod adapter, and Rear airbags....

I just got a GTI 2008 and love it too, but the sound system really sucks. I paid an extra $325 for the premium sound and I think it's terrible. All midrange. also the radio reception is weak. Did you ...


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