Traded in BMW X5 4.8is 2005 and feel this is better in every meaningful way. Similar room and straight line performance with much better interior (I like cloth seats!) and much nicer handling. Interior is tighter and better thought out than my recently traded in 2009 M3 and comparable to my new 1 M coupe! Autostick a concession to being the "3rd car"/wagon so my wife can drive it, but it is really fun in its own way. I look at the many lame cars out there that people pay more than 25K for and shake my head. The excuse I guess is that VW only recently started taking build quality seriously.
Quality feel, look.
State of the art autostick
Great audio/phone integration
More high RPM power; has loads of low down torque, but runs out of breath quickly.
Make HID headlights standard again, or at least available as a separate option.
I changed from a Mini Clubman S to the GTI. The mini was fun but got tired of the torque steer. The GTI is a great balance of handling and speed. As a person who prefers a stick to an auto the DSG transmission in this car is excellent, as I use all 3 modes, the manual mode being the best for spirited driving. The interior is exremely welcoming and comfortable. I am always disappointed when I arrive at my destination. I look forward to many miles of happy motoring, and hope not to many tickets.
The DSG transmission, comfortable fabric heated seats.
Audio controls on steering wheel should be standard on base model.
I got my car in May and after 300 miles the engine had to be replaced due to a hole in the upper oil pan (isn't that the crank case?). Fast forward a month of hell and I ended up getting another new car. Shortly after getting my second car it I had water issues and a funky smell slowly developed. It wasn't till I took it in that I ascertained it was due to water leak in a body seam. It spent two weeks in the shop at the dealer before being fixed. Mean while in both warranty situations I've driven a crapy toyta camry. Can you say numb? If this is average reliability I want out NOW. I'd gladly have paid the premium and eaten the gas mileage difference for a subaru wrx at this point
The GTI isn't all that fast but handles well, gets great mpg, and is practical and comfortable. It's very easy to live with on an every day basis. The interior is nearly ideal, the blue tooth works flawlessly and the navigation system is easy to use. The standard stereo sounds great and the I-pod integration works fine.
There is good torque available at low rpms and the shifter and clutch are very smooth and easy to use. Another 50 horsepower would be ideal.
My 4-door has been solid and rattle free for the first several thousand miles, and the second set of doors is very practical. The 4 door also provides power seat back angle adjustment rather than the dreaded lower knob.
Mpg, fun to drive, practical, interior comfort.
Another 50 horsepower, better handling, auto dimming rear view mirror.
I am one of those types of people that buy a new car every year. To name a few of my favorites I owned, Honda Prelude, Suburu STI, Jeep Wrangler, Honda Accord. My 2011 GTI is by far my favorite. The look, the feel, the performance..I could go on for days. If you are thinking about getting one, take it for a test drive and you will not regret it.