While the 08 GTI is fun to drive and well designed, it still falls short of the competition. The steering feels much heavier than what one would expect in a sport tuned hatch. The performance of the automatic transmission is also sub-par, as it frequently shifts to higher gears too quickly causing the engine to strain and grumble. Ive ended up using the paddle shifters to correct the problem. My 05 Mazda3 (S) with automatic transmission and 156hp had better handling and off the line acceleration.