2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI: Could Be Slicker in the City
by Mike Magrath, Features Editor on October 23, 2015
We've discussed my commute before. It's not pretty. Start, stop, honk, floor it, honk, stop, repeat for nine-ish miles.
But, I like where I live and I like where I work, so I deal with it. I could not deal with it if I had to drive our 2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI every day.
The first thing that bugs me is the brakes. They're pretty good during normal driving, but in the 0-8 mph zone, they're touchy and lack the predictability they offer during higher speed affairs. If you like forcing your passenger to act like a bobble-head, you'll dig these brakes.
Next up is another fun, low-speed quirk and that's the transmission's confused behavior around town. In this kind of traffic, the DSG simply doesn't know what to do. Lockup? Slip? First gear? Third? Second? First? Coast?
Instead of picking, it just cycles between all of those things.
The nail in this car's coffin is again related the transmission. This time it's the GTI's annoyingly soft launch. City drivers can be broken into two camps: Aggressive drivers and people who get passed by a steady stream of aggressive drivers.
When the light turns green or the traffic breaks, I pin the throttle to separate from the pack. The GTI hates this. You hear the gas pedal bounce off the floor and nothing happens. Then the clutches kind of start to do their thing and, somewhere around 10 mph (ish), the GTI takes off.
Right before it shifts into second, there's a delightful shudder of wheel hop. In our testing, we recorded a 0-60 time of 6.2 seconds with Sport mode and launch control, 6.9 seconds in standard drive.
A manual transmission would save about a grand, fix both of these problems and would make the GTI a much better city commuter (the clutch on the GTI is super easy, even for city driving. You barely need to be awake to drive it). I'm not usually in the "ALL CARS NEED TO HAVE A MANUAL ALL THE TIIIIIIMMMMME!!" camp, but in my case, it's a better pick.
Mike Magrath, Features Editor