2010 Volkswagen GTI: Why I'd Keep It Nearly Stock
August 13, 2010
I do like our long-term VW GTI quite a bit, so it's pretty easy to think about it from an ownership standpoint. But then I've wondered: If I owned one, would I modify it? The interesting thing is that while I can readily identify where the GTI is deficient, addressing those deficiencies would likely alter the characteristics that make the GTI appealing in the first place.
More power? Well, maybe 10 or 20 hp wouldn't hurt. (Does it ever?) But beyond that, I'd be afraid that the GTI would encounter same the issues that the 263-hp Mazdaspeed 3 does. Crank up the boost? No thanks.
Stiffer suspension? This is a tricky one. If I installed lowering springs and firmer dampers, no doubt the GTI would be more fun to drive aggressively. But how far to go? A really sport-oriented setup would likely degrade the GTI's daily-driver quality. But if I was only doing something mild, why bother spending money on it?
Tires and wheels? This is where making upgrades would have payoffs with minimal liabilities. As we learned from the suspension walkaround, those wheels are kind of heavy. Lighter wheels and summer tires would be on the docket if owned our GTI.
Think I'm wrong? Anything else you'd do?
Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor