I owned the original GTI “pocket rocket” in the 80s. It was a revolution in small cars, and created ripples throughout the automotive universe. Today, I own a 2008 r32. It feels like it was forged from a solid chunk of billet, (unlike the “beer can” feel of my former Subaru WRX). Glove soft leather interior, all the latest safety technology, plenty of honest all wheel drive "non boosted" performance, and the practicality and roominess of a hatch. Is it a $30k plus auto? Maybe not for you - especially if you live in the “0-60; quarter mile” universe. But for an old GTI hot hatch man like myself, I can’t think of anything better. It's the natural evolution of what I owned over 20 years ago.
Upscale feel to the interior, roominess, AWD, safety technology, that sexy exhaust note, exclusivity and stealthiness.
OK - I know its not an economy car, but, hey, premium fuel is expensive! Could we have improved the MPG just a little without sacrificing performance?