2008 Volkswagen GTI Hatchback Review | Edmunds.com

2008 Volkswagen GTI Hatchback

We didn't find any results. You can try changing your zip code, or check another model year.

We found matches for you!

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.

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.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

Vw gti review

by on
Vehicle: 2008 Volkswagen GTI 2dr Hatchback w/Prod. End 05/08 (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6AM)

Review Essay The Volkswagen Golf GTI has always been the go-to hot hatchback to buy ever since the first version came out in 1976. It has had numerous competitors but few have been able to match the GTI’s balance between power and handling. The GTI I am reviewing is of the Mk5 generation, with it being a 3 door 2008 model with a DSG transmission, or “paddle shifters.” Overall, this is a good car because it does what it is intended to be in a high manner, which is being the best sports hatchback money can buy. This isn’t a base Toyota Yaris econo box; this car has been given tweaks over the base Golf to make it one of the best sport hatchbacks on the market. First off, the aesthetics

Possibly the best sub $30k

by on
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.

Awsome car

by on
Vehicle: 2008 Volkswagen GTI 2dr Hatchback w/Prod. End 05/08 (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6AM)

This is car is so great even though i have had it a short time i tthe best the car i have ever had and i am really happy with it and i hope to have it for a very long time and i love the accleretion and th ehandeling best VW ever i would and it i a supprised at the gas message i get lately

My faithful steed

by on
Vehicle: 2008 Volkswagen GTI 2dr Hatchback w/Prod. End 05/08 (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6AM)

You always see the cowboys with their horses riding off into whatever the next adventure may be. The horse, of course, is more than a horse...of course, of course. It is their faithful steed--a loyal companion. That is what my GTI is--my partner of the road. The car has gone with me from as close as the grocery store, to as far as the other side of the country. It has seen blizzard, rain, sunshine, drought, you name it. My car does everything I would ever ask, and not once has it broken my wallet or told me "no, that's too much." The next adventure is always around the corner, or just less than 6 seconds away.

Younger opinion...

by on
Vehicle: 2008 Volkswagen GTI PZEV 4dr Hatchback (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6AM)

its comfortable,quiet,well built and really fun to drive. this car is always in the mood for a sporty time ! even though is a heavy car it handles very good , is extremely comfortable to drive at high speeds, in long trips and daily basis.DSG gearbox is wonderful. i live in a very hot-hummid city(panama) and the air conditioner stops working some times(it seems to be a common problem in this year gti).its a expensive car to own. i haven't had any serious problems, but small things are very expensive to replace. In the end, if you are willing to sacrifice some reliability for comfort, safety and sportiness this car is a very rewarding car to own ,it will make u smile every time you press gas

Psycho bunny

by on
Vehicle: 2008 Volkswagen GTI 2dr Hatchback w/Prod. End 05/08 (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6AM)

Very fun car to drive, handles almost like a BMW until you realize you only have 200 ponies under the bonnet! Favorits: handeling, seat bolstering, practicality, gas mileage, moonroof, ninja star like factory 18' wheels. Dislikes: Lousy mechatronic issue, stereo is a big joke, low horse power, leather seats aren't plush, light electronic issues such as signal lights. Ugly black back bumper!!!

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 ...


Gas Mileage


  • 22
  • cty
  • 29
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs
Have a question? We're here to help!
Chat online with us
Email us at help@edmunds.com
*Available daily 8AM-5PM Pacific
Call us at 855-782-4711
Text us at ED411