I have owned this car since new and took delivery in Feb 09. I have had the computer re-flashed to make more power, and I think this is how the car should have come from the factory. It is a claimed 300 lb/ft and 250 hp. The torque is what is great about this car. Just push the pedal and it goes! No drama, just thrust. I average about 29 MPG overall through mixed driving.
My brake pads in the front did not engage the rotor fully, replaced bythe dealer and now they're great.
Random rattles in the dash and rear seat area.
The transmission occasionally jerks when pulling away from a stop.
No reliability issues and these have been very minor for an overall good car
I purchased this car and it seems I got unlucky with the buy vs other GTI owners who have never had any issues with the car. It has been one year, and already I have had about 3 major repairs done to the car. The car is great to drive, very fun, but I guess in my case very problematic and have been to the dealer with repairs in the last year over 7 times. From electrical issues, to an intake manifold being cracked from bad mold casting, to air conditioning falling apart and need replacement. However, I do recommend you purchase an extended warranty and VW has completed all repairs, but as far as satisfaction with the car. I am VERY VERY displeased and dissatisfied.
I've owned a lot of cars, but none have captured my heart like my Red GTI, with the six-speed manual. Have had it for 5 months, and put on 9,000 miles, with not a single issue, other than too much fun. I have to keep myself from making up reasons to run errands. Versatile, balanced, beautiful, compact but solid, easy to park, it flies like a mother, and is equally composed when cruising in a 25 mph zone. More fun to drive than my old AUDI A4, comparable to the 3-series we had. I'm not sure I'll ever want to own another car than a GTI.
Engine is first rate with very little turbo lag and it has great torque throughout the RPM range. Handling is very good for FWD car and DSG transmission is awesome. Lightning quick shifts. Interior has nice materials and good ergonomics. Seats are great as is the steering wheel. VW got the big stuff right with the GTI. Unfortunately, the little details are what they missed. With only 1,000 miles on the clock my seat squeaks, my dash squeaks over every bump, my rear hatch rattles over bumps and there is an engine rattle between 2500 and 3000 RPM which is an issue with other MKV GTI's too. Unacceptable in a new car. I heard VW has terrible quality control and now I believe it.