I have owned and driven a lot of different cars over the past 27 years, from true two-seater sports cars to sport/lux sedans. So take that into account when I say that this car is flat out a blast to drive! I live in an area where everyone has (or wants) a BMW, Mercedes, Lexus, etc., and being one to never be comfortable following the crowd, I took the advice of Car and Driver and Edmunds and gave the GTI a spin. Great little car inside and out. I opted to bloat the price by loading it up with everything but nav, but it was well worth it. More sophisticated drive than the the MazdaSpeed3 with comparable performance and better looks (IMO).
DSG has to be the greatest tranny since Rupaul. Fantastic design cues. Interior is well laid out and materials are excellent. Better than expected ride even with 18" 40 series tires. Great balance between performance, ride, utility and economy. Turbo shows up early (and often)
Minor issues here except that it's easy to "over drive" low beams. Wish that tone knobs on stereo could be pushed in when not in use. Rear cupholders not small-child-friendly. Car feels like it will roll away when you put it in park on an incline (use the p-brake).