August 23, 2011
(Photo courtesy of Volkswagen of America, Inc.)
Our departed 2010 Volkswagen GTI caused some derisive opinions in the office. It was like red states versus blue states or cat people versus dog people, but in this case it was editors who loved our GTI (i.e., Riswick) and those who, if not hated, at least disliked it with a fair amount of passion (i.e., Jacquot).
But soon there could be a solution to make both camps happy -- the 2012 Volkswagen Golf R. A meaner, more powerful version of the GTI, this R32 successor could be the car that turns the GTI haters' frowns upside down. But it could also still be refined enough to keep the GTI lovers in their "Das Auto" T-shirts.
So how does it shape up? I got to drive the 2012 Golf R in Herndon, Virginia (near Volkswagen's headquarters) today to find out.
First, some background that's more up-to-date than our first drive. The Golf R gets the same variant of 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder that's used in the 265-horsepower Audi TTS. In Golf R spec, it produces 256 hp and 243 pound-feet of torque. According to VW, the detuning is to ensure durability as the Golf R's front fascia doesn't have as much air flow cooling potential as the TTS'. But as a nod to the car's enthusiast audience, a six-speed manual is the only transmission offered.
The 2012 VW Golf R continues the R32's distinction of standard four-wheel drive. Power is routed to all four wheels through an updated Haldex four-wheel drive system. Unlike a WRX STI, for instance, the Golf R's system is front-wheel drive until additional traction is needed. But compared to the R32, the new system is much quicker and predictive when vectoring torque -- up to 100 percent of it -- to the rear.
The suspension tuning is firmer than the GTI's, with a 0.6-inch drop in ride height below the GTI's already lowered height. European models actually get an adaptive suspension damper option, but it wont be available for the U.S. Even so, the U.S. car isn't defanged -- tuning for the R's suspension is pretty much the same as if you were to set the Euro adaptive suspension to the most aggressive "Sport." The R's steering is still electric assist and has the same ratio, but effort has been retuned to be sportier.
August 02, 2011
Always liked the clean styling on our long-term 2010 VW GTI, but for the 2012 GTI, Volkswagen couldn't leave well enough alone. It's got LED DRLs. At least it does based on this shaky-cam video made by an enthusiastic salesman at Georgetown VW, which evidently just received its first shipment of 2012 Volkswagen GTIs. I think the LEDs are kind of horrible, but Magrath assures me they're rad.
Of course, there are other changes, too.
July 12, 2011
Our Volkswagen GTI was sold to Carmax today for $19,000. We tried to improve the price with our Criagslist and eBay classified ads, but only got a few tire kickers via email. Perhaps we could've beat it, if we had more time and took out an Autotrader ad. But like the GMC Terrain before it, this was one of those times when the Carmax price was very competitive. And it wasn't worth the time and effort to improve on the price by a couple hundred dollars.
I really liked this car. We bought it at the same time and at the same dealer as my Golf TDI. I would get a kick out of comparing the subtle differences on the inside and outside of the car. It was fun to drive and was relatively fuel efficient. After a year of ownership, the GTI held up well, with only a few minor scrapes to speak of.
Did your opinion change on this car? Would you buy one now?
Ron Montoya, Consumer Advice Associate @ 24,606 miles
July 08, 2011
After being offered $19,000 in cold cash (well, a cashier's check) by CarMax for our GTI, our motivation to top that number is low. The problem is that a new GTI can be had for about $24,000. So any asking price over $20,000 begins to bump into the new car price. We did throw up an ad on eBayMotors and got one inquiry. And we also posted this YouTube video. But at this point, we might just take the CarMax money and move on to other things.
Philip Reed, Edmunds.com senior consumer advice editor @24,567 miles
July 06, 2011
We've been given the word to put our long term Volkswagen GTI up for sale. So I took our long term Volkswagen GTI to get appraised at Carmax. We do this to set a baseline price for ourselves to either improve on in a private party sale or take the Carmax's offer. Take a guess as to what we were offered before you follow the jump.
Carmax offered us $19,000. For reference, Edmunds trade in TMV is $18,273. The Carmax offer is a solid price, but we think we can do better. Since the $19K is guaranteed for seven days, we will try to beat that by a grand or two in the coming week.
Any predictions as to what price we will end up at?
Ron Montoya, Consumer Advice Associate @ 24,517 miles
June 22, 2011
I saw this four-door GTI yesterday. Got me thinking about what body style I'd get if I was going to buy a GTI. I think I'd get the four-door. What about you?
Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor
June 17, 2011
Should it? What do you think? Are we right or wrong?
Scott Oldham, Editor in Chief
June 16, 2011
In 2010, all Volkswagen GTIs came standard with 17-inch "Denver" wheels (left photo). They were carryovers from the previous generation GTI. However, these were quickly overshadowed by the larger 18-inch "Detroit" wheels (right photo). They are pretty much the same design except for the inner portion of the horseshoe cutout being painted glossy black (in the case of the Detroit wheel).
When we were shopping for our GTI last year, every car we saw on the lot came equipped with Detroit wheels. Whenever I saw a photo of the GTI, either in the VW brochure or on the media site, it would always be one with Detroit wheels. Back then, the Detroit wheels were a $750 option. But perhaps due to their popularity, they became a standard feature on the 2011 GTI.
If it were my car, I would opt for the smaller wheel. The 17s probably ride better and it would cost less to replace the tire. But I do like the glossy black look of the Detroits, so I would probably paint the horseshoes like this person did.
Which ones of these wheels do you like best? Have you seen any 2010 GTIs with Denver wheels? To pitch another horseshoe into the discussion, what do you think of these 18-inch "Huff" wheels, which were offered on the previous generation GTI? These are basically Detroit wheels with gray gloss instead of black.
June 13, 2011
It's great to have our prodigal GTI back home. A little the worse for wear, it still is a fun drive, and it got a chance to frolic Sunday morning on Pasadena's Arroyo Seco Parkway. (The parkway was the first freeway built in the United States and was designed for the then-maximum legal speed limit of 45 mph. The GTI took it a little faster than that.)
While I didn't hear the ticking and clicking that has bedeviled our car, the squeaking that Erin mentioned in March is louder and more persistent than ever. It seems to come from the area of the back seat and I think it's triggered by bumps and judders in the road. It sounds like an irked cricket, and if I owned the car, I'd tempted to go on a bughunt to find and silence the little sucker.
But if you saw "Aliens," you know why Pvt. Hudson (pictured, above left) was so skeptical of bughunts. They involve time and treasure (assuming the car is out of warranty). And there's about a 50/50 chance you'll be able to source and kill the noisemaker before you lose your mind. That's been my experience with such squeaks and creaks, anyway. What's yours?
Carroll Lachnit, Features Editor @24,013 miles
June 10, 2011
Mike Schmidt has already told you that our VW GTI is back from its secret mission off the grid, and that it returned home with a busted tire. Well, it also returned with this curb rash. Bummer.
Scott Oldham, Editor in Chief @ 23,797 miles