When I traded in my Mercedes CLS500 to buy a GTI many of my friends and family thought I was having a midlife crisis. Buying practical cars has never been my habit as a life-long car guy. While the CLS is a great car, it didn't make me smile. It impressed other people more than me. I feel like a kid again just waiting to run to the store so I can drive it again! I am amazed at how much torque it always has on tap and the handling is confident and fun without being overly harsh. I was also impressed with the level of available equipment. Being able to get xenons, leather, nav, satellite radio, a great 300 watt stereo & more makes me still feel like I'm driving a luxury car.
I absolutely LOVE the DSG transmission. It is amazingly intelligent. When having fun on a winding road it will do a perfect rev-matched downshift into the corner so you are pulling through the corner. I'm a total convert. The GTI is truly an amazing value for the money.
Power seats are not an option. What the ??? Dead pedal is a little too 'upright' for me. Wish some euro options (auto climate, adaptive cruise, etc.) were available here. Of course, I have to say it - more power is always welcome! These are minor items - this a a surprisingly great car.