Got my red manual GTI last week. Put in 420 miles in 6 days. I love this car! It will give you power when you need it with no torque steer - considering it's turbo with front wheel drive!
Car is beautiful in and out. The interior is just beautiful with the interlagos seats - reminds me of burberry. Fuel consumption is also excellent. I averaged 28 mpg. 25% stop and go driving; and 75% freeway driving with speeds from 65 to 70 mph (trying to break in the car and haven't gone over 70 mph). Handling is a hoot!!! Only complain is the ride - it can get uncomfortable on imperfect freeways but it's a sport car!
I drove a mini cooper and the ride on that car is very harsh. Actually, the bank asked for the car to be returned because there was a mistake on the APR. I am glad they made a big mistake. Got another GTI back in March but this time it's automatic. The ride is so much smoother on the DSG than the Manual - go figure. The manual was pretty harsh on imperfect roads but the manual was so very smooth.
One more thing, I was not comparing the manual GTI's ride to any car. I was just saying that the ride was pretty harsh on imperfect roads. Besides, I have known all along that the ride on a mini is pretty harsh that's why I bought the GTI instead of the cooper. I had my eye on the cooper for a long time and, when I drove one (I rented it for the weekend), it made me not want it anymore although its handling is exceptional in its class or even higher priced luxury cars. I love love the cooper's handling but that's about it. It isn't as well refined as the GTi