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 (6 total reviews)  |  Write a Review

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Still happy with my gti

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Vehicle: 2008 Volkswagen GTI 2dr Hatchback (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6M)

Leased it two years ago this month. Now has almost 25K on it. The only problem so far was a fuel sending unit which kept indicating car was out of fuel. Dealer fixed it and no further problems. Car drives great, I average 27-28 MPG in a commute that is equal parts highway and city driving. I have owned MANY MANY VWs over the years, and some have been very problematic. Not this one. I plan to buy it at the end of the lease due to its reliability, economy and performance. Once it's mine I will chip it and replace the OEM wheels & tires to improve the performance ever more.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

08 gti

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Vehicle: 2008 Volkswagen GTI 2dr Hatchback (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6M)

I purchased my 2008 GTI rather than a Mustang. I wanted a sporty, fast car. My decision was made primarily due to increasing gas prices. This wasn't solved since the car runs best using premium fuel anyway. While the car was extremely fun to drive, the ride is stiff but should be expected. Maintenance costs are high as are costs for replacement items such as tires. At 10k miles it needed a 4 wheel alignment. I always drove the car easy, no curb hopping. Sold car at 22k miles due to notification from VW USA of possible problems with the DSG transmissions. Buy the car if you have money to burn on upkeep and maintenance. I went back to Toyotas, no more headaches.

8 month update

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Vehicle: 2008 Volkswagen GTI 2dr Hatchback (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6M)

After 8 months I am still enjoying this car. It responds to all my driving moods. Whether I want to poke along and enjoy the scenery or zip down a winding road, the GTI is a ready companion. Gas mileage has improved to 27 mpg (per the computer display). I alternate between regular and premium gas and have not noticed a reduction in performance. I have had no mechanical issues and the car runs great.

Fun to drive

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Vehicle: 2008 Volkswagen GTI 2dr Hatchback (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6M)

This is my first VW I have ever owned and I couldn't be more happy with it. The plaid seats look very cool in person but in picture I thought they looked pretty ugly. Horrible gas mileage when using the paddle shifters as all you want to do is drive like a maniac :). I average 24 mpg when I keep it in drive. The sunglasses holder up near the sunroof controls kept popping open during the summer if I had glasses in it. After a while I couldn't keep it closed even if I took the glasses out. Finally after weeks of twisting things in different directions it stays up. Back seats are roomy according to my coworkers but you have to pull up the front seats for there legs.

I've had mine a year,

by on
Vehicle: 2008 Volkswagen GTI 2dr Hatchback (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6M)

I bought this car even though I knew all about VW's terrible reputation for unreliable build quality, overpriced dealer service, and poor customer relations due to the 1.8T and its sludge issue. Why would anyone do that? I blame BBC America! Top Gear's rave review and Jeremy Clarkson's wistful reminiscences of his MKI Scirocco lured me into the dealership for a very fateful test drive. The GTI made my Scion TC feel like a Yugo; it was so much more responsive, faster, better brakes, agile, and afterward getting back into my faithful and dependable Toyota product was just depressing. The dealership screwed me on price and interest rate because I had to have the car right now and was a moron.

Best car ever

by on
Vehicle: 2008 Volkswagen GTI 2dr Hatchback (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6M)

I have been looking into buying a GTI since about January of this year and finally found the one I was looking for. I traded in my 2006 Honda Civic EX and boy am I glad I did! The GTI may not get as good gas mileage as the Civic, but it is way more fun to drive. Well worth the price.

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