2010 Volkswagen GTI Long-Term Road Test - Miscellaneous

2010 Volkswagen GTI Long-Term Road Test

  • Full Review
  • Pricing & Specs
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  • Long-Term

2010 VW GTI: OK, Try This One: The 2012 VW Golf R

August 23, 2011

GolfRDynamic.jpg (Photo courtesy of Volkswagen of America, Inc.)

Our departed 2010 Volkswagen GTI caused some derisive opinions in the office. It was like red states versus blue states or cat people versus dog people, but in this case it was editors who loved our GTI (i.e., Riswick) and those who, if not hated, at least disliked it with a fair amount of passion (i.e., Jacquot).

But soon there could be a solution to make both camps happy -- the 2012 Volkswagen Golf R. A meaner, more powerful version of the GTI, this R32 successor could be the car that turns the GTI haters' frowns upside down. But it could also still be refined enough to keep the GTI lovers in their "Das Auto" T-shirts.

So how does it shape up? I got to drive the 2012 Golf R in Herndon, Virginia (near Volkswagen's headquarters) today to find out.

First, some background that's more up-to-date than our first drive. The Golf R gets the same variant of 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder that's used in the 265-horsepower Audi TTS. In Golf R spec, it produces 256 hp and 243 pound-feet of torque. According to VW, the detuning is to ensure durability as the Golf R's front fascia doesn't have as much air flow cooling potential as the TTS'. But as a nod to the car's enthusiast audience, a six-speed manual is the only transmission offered.

The 2012 VW Golf R continues the R32's distinction of standard four-wheel drive. Power is routed to all four wheels through an updated Haldex four-wheel drive system. Unlike a WRX STI, for instance, the Golf R's system is front-wheel drive until additional traction is needed. But compared to the R32, the new system is much quicker and predictive when vectoring torque -- up to 100 percent of it -- to the rear.

The suspension tuning is firmer than the GTI's, with a 0.6-inch drop in ride height below the GTI's already lowered height. European models actually get an adaptive suspension damper option, but it won’t be available for the U.S. Even so, the U.S. car isn't defanged -- tuning for the R's suspension is pretty much the same as if you were to set the Euro adaptive suspension to the most aggressive "Sport." The R's steering is still electric assist and has the same ratio, but effort has been retuned to be sportier.

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2010 Volkswagen GTI: Time Marches On, 2012 GTI Revealed

August 02, 2011


Always liked the clean styling on our long-term 2010 VW GTI, but for the 2012 GTI, Volkswagen couldn't leave well enough alone. It's got LED DRLs. At least it does based on this shaky-cam video made by an enthusiastic salesman at Georgetown VW, which evidently just received its first shipment of 2012 Volkswagen GTIs. I think the LEDs are kind of horrible, but Magrath assures me they're rad.

Of course, there are other changes, too.

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2010 Volkswagen GTI: Auf Wiedersehen

July 12, 2011

GTI Sold.jpg Our Volkswagen GTI was sold to Carmax today for $19,000. We tried to improve the price with our Criagslist and eBay classified ads, but only got a few tire kickers via email. Perhaps we could've beat it, if we had more time and took out an Autotrader ad. But like the GMC Terrain before it, this was one of those times when the Carmax price was very competitive. And it wasn't worth the time and effort to improve on the price by a couple hundred dollars.

I really liked this car. We bought it at the same time and at the same dealer as my Golf TDI. I would get a kick out of comparing the subtle differences on the inside and outside of the car. It was fun to drive and was relatively fuel efficient. After a year of ownership, the GTI held up well, with only a few minor scrapes to speak of.

Did your opinion change on this car? Would you buy one now?

Ron Montoya, Consumer Advice Associate @ 24,606 miles

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2010 Volkswagen GTI: The Magic Number

July 08, 2011

2010 VW GTI.jpg

After being offered $19,000 in cold cash (well, a cashier's check) by CarMax for our GTI, our motivation to top that number is low. The problem is that a new GTI can be had for about $24,000. So any asking price over $20,000 begins to bump into the new car price. We did throw up an ad on eBayMotors and got one inquiry. And we also posted this YouTube video. But at this point, we might just take the CarMax money and move on to other things.

Philip Reed, Edmunds.com senior consumer advice editor @24,567 miles

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2010 Volkswagen GTI: Strong Money

July 06, 2011

GTI at Carmax.jpg We've been given the word to put our long term Volkswagen GTI up for sale. So I took our long term Volkswagen GTI to get appraised at Carmax. We do this to set a baseline price for ourselves to either improve on in a private party sale or take the Carmax's offer. Take a guess as to what we were offered before you follow the jump.

Carmax offered us $19,000. For reference, Edmunds trade in TMV is $18,273. The Carmax offer is a solid price, but we think we can do better. Since the $19K is guaranteed for seven days, we will try to beat that by a grand or two in the coming week.

Any predictions as to what price we will end up at?

Ron Montoya, Consumer Advice Associate @ 24,517 miles

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2010 Volkswagen GTI: Two-Door or Four-Door?

June 22, 2011

GTI_fourdoor.jpg I saw this four-door GTI yesterday. Got me thinking about what body style I'd get if I was going to buy a GTI. I think I'd get the four-door. What about you?

Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor

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2010 Volkswagen GTI: Edmunds Rating

June 17, 2011


A few months ago John DiPietro asked you to check out the consumer reviews for the 2010 GTI. This time it's our Edmunds Rating. Check it out. The GTI get high marks.

Should it? What do you think? Are we right or wrong?

Scott Oldham, Editor in Chief

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2010 Volkswagen GTI: Denver vs Detroit

June 16, 2011

GTI Wheels In 2010, all Volkswagen GTIs came standard with 17-inch "Denver" wheels (left photo). They were carryovers from the previous generation GTI. However, these were quickly overshadowed by the larger 18-inch "Detroit" wheels (right photo). They are pretty much the same design except for the inner portion of the horseshoe cutout being painted glossy black (in the case of the Detroit wheel).

When we were shopping for our GTI last year, every car we saw on the lot came equipped with Detroit wheels. Whenever I saw a photo of the GTI, either in the VW brochure or on the media site, it would always be one with Detroit wheels. Back then, the Detroit wheels were a $750 option. But perhaps due to their popularity, they became a standard feature on the 2011 GTI.

If it were my car, I would opt for the smaller wheel. The 17s probably ride better and it would cost less to replace the tire. But I do like the glossy black look of the Detroits, so I would probably paint the horseshoes like this person did.

Which ones of these wheels do you like best? Have you seen any 2010 GTIs with Denver wheels? To pitch another horseshoe into the discussion, what do you think of these 18-inch "Huff" wheels, which were offered on the previous generation GTI? These are basically Detroit wheels with gray gloss instead of black.

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2010 Volkswagen GTI: Time for a Bughunt?

June 13, 2011

VW GTI longterm-bughunt.jpg

It's great to have our prodigal GTI back home. A little the worse for wear, it still is a fun drive, and it got a chance to frolic Sunday morning on Pasadena's Arroyo Seco Parkway. (The parkway was the first freeway built in the United States and was designed for the then-maximum legal speed limit of 45 mph. The GTI took it a little faster than that.)

While I didn't hear the ticking and clicking that has bedeviled our car, the squeaking that Erin mentioned in March is louder and more persistent than ever. It seems to come from the area of the back seat and I think it's triggered by bumps and judders in the road. It sounds like an irked cricket, and if I owned the car, I'd tempted to go on a bughunt to find and silence the little sucker.

But if you saw "Aliens," you know why Pvt. Hudson (pictured, above left) was so skeptical of bughunts. They involve time and treasure (assuming the car is out of warranty). And there's about a 50/50 chance you'll be able to source and kill the noisemaker before you lose your mind. That's been my experience with such squeaks and creaks, anyway. What's yours?

Carroll Lachnit, Features Editor @24,013 miles

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2010 VW GTI: That Won't Buff Out

June 10, 2011


Mike Schmidt has already told you that our VW GTI is back from its secret mission off the grid, and that it returned home with a busted tire. Well, it also returned with this curb rash. Bummer.

Scott Oldham, Editor in Chief @ 23,797 miles

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2010 Volkswagen GTI: Tire Replacement

June 09, 2011


Yep, we still have our 2010 Volkswagen GTI. We sent it on some errands off the radar for the past few weeks. Now it is back, well, until we sell it. Fortunately for the sake of the LTRTB our GTI got a flat while on its secret mission. But not just any flat...

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2010 Volkswagen GTI: Our Favorite Caption

May 13, 2011


Thanks to boobylortez for this week's favorite caption.

Here are the others that made our hair stand on end:

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2010 Volkswagen GTI: You Write the Caption

May 13, 2011


Vehicle Testing Manager Mike Schmidt sent me this photo of our VW GTI getting a hot oil treatment but not in Texas.

What is your caption?

We'll post our favorite this afternoon.

Donna DeRosa, Managing Editor

Note: The last few winners have not claimed their glorious prizes. I'm going to put a time limit on it. If you don't claim your prize by the time the next caption contest posts, the prize goes back in my prize box. That gives you a week.

Happy Friday the 13th.

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Which Would You Take to Your High School Reunion?

May 05, 2011


My 10-year high school reunion is this weekend and I began to think about what Edmunds long-term car I would drive to it. Of course, this is ultimately a moot point since the reunion is in Indianapolis and I'll inevitably drive some sort of Hertz rental car, but the question remains.

The obvious high-school reunion move is to show up in something fancy and expensive to flaunt my success (not so much monetarily but kick-ass-job-arily). In our fleet, I suppose the BMW 528i would be our candidate since the R8 is long gone. The Equus and M56 are pretty expensive, but I don't think they properly convey how much better I am than that douche from the baseball team who now works at the H&R Block in Fishers.

The next move would be something that will say "hey, look at me!" The Fiat 500 will do that and I certainly like our little Italian city car, but it may unfortunately also say that I've borrowed my wife's car or that my wife is in fact named Kyle. Not that there's anything wrong with that. So in this case, I'd pick the Chevy Volt. Of all the cars in the fleet, it most frequently gets looks and draws questions, which inevitably will draw attention to me.

The next move would be something that shows I'm now a lot more macho than the guy who you last saw 10 years prior. Ford Raptor, need I say more?

The next move would be to fly the flag of my job. "Oh, that sounds like a bitchin' job Riz, what car did you drive here?" If I answer, "Buick Regal," they're going to walk away and talk to the current vice president of the Indianapolis Colts instead. No, I'd say the Ford Mustang GT is the right answer. It's famous enough for non-car people to know it's awesome, and actually good enough for car people to know it's in fact awesome. (Honorable mention to the Porsche 911).

However, I wouldn't pick any of these. I wasn't a cool kid in high school by any stretch of the imagination, but my time there also didn't suck, so I have no need to prove I've changed or imply that I'm something I'm not. I also think people will see right through your automotive cloak of faux coolness. Be it your BMW in the parking lot, the trophy wife on your arm, the expensive suit or the head of new hair, it's just bound to backfire and appear like overcompensation.

So what would I take? Easy, our Volkswagen GTI. Besides the fact it's the car I'd actually buy today, it would seem pretty fitting to drive to my high school reunion in a car pretty damn similar to the Jetta VR6 I left there in 10 years ago. Hearing, "Yep, that's the same old James" would be A-OK with me.

Of course, if we had a Benz CLS63 or Jag XJ Supercharged in fleet, this would be a completely different story. Not only would I actually make the drive to Indy, but I would finally be able to get Lauren Freedman to notice me.

James Riswick, Automotive Editor

(P.S. Great, now I have this song stuck in my head)

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2010 Volkswagen GTI or 2012 Honda Civic Si

May 04, 2011

2012 Honda Civic Si 2010 VW GTi.jpg

Today we ran a Track Tested piece on the 2012 Honda Civic Si. And the discussion there, and in our office, quickly turned to that of 2.0-liter 200 horsepower / 207 torque GTI or 2.4-liter 201 horsepower / 170 torque Civic Si?

It's a question that rears up every few years and 2011 is no different. There's a new Si on the block as the GTI is knocking on two. There is a $1,490 price difference in favor of the Civic. There is an incalculable appearance difference in favor of the VW.

I've made a quick list of performance specs after the jump. But we all know that cars are more than just track numbers.

Which would you buy, and why?

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2010 Volkswagen GTI: Nurburgring 24

March 31, 2011


Just the other day I was thinking again that the GTI suits me. It drives the same whether you’re going fast or slow. In fact I was thinking it would be the perfect car for endurance racing and wondered if there are many examples at the Nurburgring 24, the most famous endurance racing event for street stock cars.

Apparently I’m not the only one, because Volkswagen Motorsport is preparing to celebrate the 35th anniversary of the Golf by entering a car in the Nurburgring, which is scheduled for 23-26 June.

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2010 VW GTI: Farewell Dear Friend

March 30, 2011


There are now 22,145 miles on the GTI's odometer and it's past the year mark, which means it shall soon be departing to the big cloud in the sky (and by cloud I mean "list" and by sky I mean "old long-term cars in the lower right-hand corner of this page"). This makes me sad, because the GTI is not only one of my favorite all-time long-termers but also one of my favorite cars, period. I haven't been driving it that much since new long-term cars began flooding our garage like ... OK, so now's not really the time to be making flooding metaphors, but you get the idea. We have a lot of new long-termers and old ones get less attention.

So before the GTI sails off into the sunset (see, get the symbolism of that photo? Clever, I know), I thought I'd drive it home one last time to experience what life would be like if I didn't have this job and actually owned my own car. That's right, barring the funds needed to by an XJ Supercharged or CLS63 AMG, I'd get a four-door GTI modestly equipped just like ours. Hell, even with said funds, I'd probably own one in addition to those. And a ski boat. And this home theater.

Crap, what the hell was I talking about? Oh yes, the GTI. Wonderful car, one of the best cars you can buy today. I shall miss it, but it shall at least forever be placed alongside the 135i, Challenger and S5 on the mantle of my all-time favorites.

James Riswick, Automotive Editor @ 22,145 miles

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2010 Volkswagen GTI: Bucket List?

March 23, 2011

So our time with our 2010 Volkswagen GTI is drawing to a close. Was there anything about it that you wish that we blogged about? Any dream shoot-outs? Gripes you wished we covered? Question we haven't answered? Speak now...

Caroline Pardilla, Deputy Managing Editor

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2010 Volkswagen GTI: Dyno Test on 87 Octane?

March 21, 2011


There was some drama surrounding our 2010 Volkswagen GTI last week. We filled it with 87 octane gasoline and it didn't go over well. So now we have another idea, dyno test it on 87 and compare it to performance on 91. What do you think?

Mike Schmidt, Vehicle Testing Manager @ 21,828 miles

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2010 Volkswagen GTI: Don't Shoot the Messenger

March 15, 2011

Thumbnail image for 2010 VW GTI fuel filler flap.jpg

There was a great disturbance in the force yesterday when I wrote that the 2010 Volkswagen GTI doesn't require premium gasoline, and that -- horrors -- I'd used regular unleaded in the car. I expected someone from Automotive Protective Services to show up and take the innocent little vehicle into foster car because of my alleged abuse.

One reader pointed us to a photo of the label in fuel filler flap as evidence that premium is required. Here's the label in our GTI, and while I don't want to parse its meaning like some kind of amateur attorney, I will point out that it says "unleaded fuel only." Not "premium unleaded fuel only."

See the exclamation-point-on-page icon? It's telling us to go the owner's manual for more information. Let's go.

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2010 Volkswagen GTI: Still Great, but Aging Fast

March 11, 2011


OK, maybe "aging fast" is a little strong with the language, but that ticking noise from the vicinity of the driver-side B-pillar in our 2010 Volkswagen GTI has become a persistent squeaking noise. It's very annoying at 70 mph on the freeway and makes our warm hatch feel older than it really is.

It's too bad, because last night I was reminded again why I like this car. The drivetrain is as smooth as it is strong, the engine sounds great through its snorkus, and the six-speed manual is fun to shift. I may have to pay our VW service advisor a personal visit.

Erin Riches, Senior Editor @ 21,448 miles

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2010 Volkswagen GTI: What Owners Think

March 09, 2011

GTI r34.jpg

Checking out the consumer reviews for the 2010 GTI, it seems that most owners seem very happy with their choice. Although a few of these reviews should be taken with a grain of salt, most seem to be honest appraisals of the car. People are usually eager to share their experience with what is likely their second biggest purchase they'll ever make. For the 2010 GTI alone, there are no less than 59 consumer reviews. Enjoy.

John DiPietro, Automotive Editor @ 21,415 miles

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2010 Volkswagen GTI: Hey Cousin, Lighten Up

March 07, 2011

gti and gallardo.jpg

After parking the GTI in front of a Lamborghini Gallardo, I realized something rather strange. This German hot hatch and that Italian exotic are somewhat related. Back in 1998, Lamborghini was purchased by Volkswagen through their Audi division. That union brought Lamborghini back from the near-dead via a couple of all-new models (the Murcielago and then Gallardo), after being owned by seemingly disinterested Chrysler and then Indonesian interests.

That orange Gallardo sitting there happens to be the Superleggera ("Super light") model. It has a 570-hp V10 engine, all-wheel drive and a lot of carbon fiber. It weighs just 2,954 pounds -- talk about power to weight! Our GTI, with its turbo four and front-wheel drive, weighs 3,103 pounds. Though I certainly enjoy driving the peppy, comfortable V-dub, it is rather pudgy for a small hatchback. Imagine how much more fun (yes, and expensive) it would be if they offered a 400-pound lighter, enthusiast-focused Superleggera version.

John DiPietro, Automotive Editor @ 21,385 miles

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2010 Volkswagen GTI vs 2012 Volkswagen Golf R: What Do You Want to Know?

February 26, 2011

Golf R 2012.jpg

Right, so the cleverest amongst us will notice that that blue thing there with the gaping grille and cool, not-phone-dialey wheels, is not our 2010 Volkswagen GTI, but rather a 2012 Volkswagen Golf R. You know the deal: all-wheel-drive and 266-horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque from a turbocharged 2.0-liter, six-speed manual ONLY.

And I'll be driving it on Monday. We've already run a first drive, but is there anything we missed, or anything that you want to know about the US-bound hotter hatch from Vee-Dub? Get questions in early for best chance of an answer.

Mike Magrath, Associate Editor, Edmunds.com

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2010 Volkswagen GTI: Even Cool in Four-door Form

February 23, 2011

gti four door.jpg

When it comes to sport compacts that are offered with a choice of two or four doors, I usually prefer the one with a pair of doors. These coupes (or hatchbacks) are generally sleeker and sportier than their four-door counterparts, which can look like an economy car dressed up with side sills and a rear spoiler. Think Civic Si or Cobalt SS. The GTI however, looks good either way, probably because the two-door version isn't much different from the four-door. Either way it's rather boxy which typically doesn't win style points in my book. But in this case it works rather well.

With it's cleanly chiseled lines, the GTI's styling in either body style is more Euro chic than econo box. So running contrary to my normal leanings, I'd be tempted to take the four-door version for its greater practicality and smaller front doors. The latter are an asset here in L.A., where parking lots and garages have designated "compact" spots that are notably narrower than standard spots and thus only allow a short amount of door swing.

John DiPietro, Automotive Editor @ 21,139 miles

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2010 Volkswagen GTI: At the Movies

February 22, 2011

Senna Film Poster by Working Title.jpg

Drove the 2010 Volkswagen GTI to the movies on Sunday afternoon.

Found out through a friend that Senna, the documentary about the late F1 driver from Brazil, would be playing at a small theater here in L.A., one of only a handful of places in the U.S. where this movie is scheduled to appear.

There wasn't much public notice about it, but it's funny how the word gets passed along and eventually finds the right people. It was interesting to see that I even knew some of the 75 people or so who had shown up at this anonymous theater late in the afternoon on a Sunday.

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2010 Volkswagen GTI: Warp Drive Installation

February 16, 2011


How do you travel 7.2 miles in 1 min. 47 sec. while reaching speeds of over 200 mph?

Flux capacitor?

Deal with the Devil?

A new long-term Veyron?

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2010 Volkswagen GTI: Which Would You Rather?

February 15, 2011


After observing the grand old LA tradition of Valentine's Day Dinner, we returned to the parking lot to find this sweet Volvo C30 R-design. I haven't thought about the C30 in years, but this one looks great. For a few seconds there in the parking lot, I forgot all about the otherwise handsome GTI. Which do you like better?

In other news, the B-pillar ticking noise is back, and it has joined forces with the leaky driver door seal to annoy the bejesus out of me. Most likely, we'll have to insist on a test drive with a VW dealer service advisor or tech to avoid a "cannot duplicate customer concern" diagnosis -- and time permitting, we will do that.

Erin Riches, Senior Editor @ 20,681 miles

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2010 Volkswagen GTI: Next Project?

February 04, 2011

Thumbnail image for project_gti_front.jpg

Our time with the GTI is coming up short. I loved every chance I got with the car. I'd love for it to stick around. Maybe we can convince Engineering Editor Jay Kavanagh to take the GTI on as the next project car and give it another year here in our possession.

Remember the W12 Concept?

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2010 Volkswagen GTI: Adventures Around Montana

February 04, 2011

GTI on Montana.jpg

I only had our soon-to-depart GTI on Thursday night and this morning, but I took advantage of it to visit Santa Monica's trendy Montana Avenue, home to boutiques, Pilates studios (I counted four in about five blocks) and the beautiful Aero Theatre, built in 1940. The Aero was holding a sold-out screening of "The King's Speech," featuring a talk with the film's director, Tom Hooper, and its star, Colin Firth. But since I was never one of those swoon-for-Mister-Darcy girls, no big deal that I missed it.

Montana and the GTI are made for each other. The car is easy to park, fitting neatly into the street's metered spaces. It maneuvers well, able to handle sudden stops for ambling latte-drinking model-moms as they crossed the street. And when traffic unclogged, it was a blast to drive. Like Montana, the GTI is quirky and fun.

But it's not nearly as quirky as the car I saw as I headed into the street's residential neighborhood.

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2010 Volkswagen GTI: The Shift Light

February 02, 2011


The GTI has a shift light that's constantly telling me when to shift. I've been shifting for 25 years. Even if fuel economy were a priority, I don't really need it.

To me, the shift light feels like a modern voice mail system which spends 45 seconds telling me to leave a message after the beep then hang up -- something I've been doing for even longer than driving and am fully capable of doing without instruction.

What about you? Shift light or no?

Josh Jacquot, Senior Editor

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2010 Volkswagen GTI: My Hatchback Pick

January 24, 2011

GTI Badge.jpg

The title says it all. This is the car I'd get if I were in the market for a hatchback. It's just a well-rounded little car that has enough comfort and athleticism to keep me satisfied. Click through to see my reasoning as well as what else I got to drive this weekend.

If I had around $24k to spend on a hatchback I'd pick the GTI over everything else. A Cooper S is too much of a novelty for me -- too much kitsch, too much plastic -- but it's still a good car. Honda CR-Z? Nah, too compromised between fuel economy and sportiness. Mazdaspeed 3? No way. Too much torque steer and I hate that silly smiling grille. The Volvo C30 is a maybe, since it's got a lot of power, but ultimately, I still prefer the VW.

As much as I like our GTI, I still wish we could get the Scirocco stateside.

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2010 Volkswagen GTI: Tick-Tock

January 21, 2011


I thought I'd get in at least one more ride in our GTI before I have to say goodbye (*sniff*). As soon as I started moving last night, I started hearing a little creak. It was coming from the B-pillar, over my left shoulder. I jiggled the seatbelt a little, but it had no effect. No big deal, I thought. Until my drive in this morning...

That creak turned into a steady ticking. From the moment I left my house until about three blocks from our office. Tick, tick, tick, tick, tick, tick, tick, tick... It was weird because it was in tempo. Tick, tick, tick, tick, tick...

At every red light, I'd push the interior of the B-pillar, but as soon as I started moving, tick, tick, tick, tick, tick... I've no idea what it is. Maybe someone else on staff can try to track it down, or at least confirm I'm not finally losing my marbles.

Funny off-topic story on the graphic above: I had it on screen and Mike Magrath stops by my cubicle.

Mike Magrath: I know what you're doing. You're comparing the wheels on the GTI to wheels of cheese.
Me: What?
MM: That's the cheese guy from the 80's PSAs.
Me: Ummm, no. That's Timer, from "Time for Timer." It's before your time. 1973.
MM: No, it's the cheese guy. Look it up on YouTube. Do it, now.
Me: I'm busy, go away.
MM: Do it!

Fine, I thought. At least it'll make him go away. Turns out, ABC revived Timer for more PSAs in the 1980s to push cheese on kids.

MM: See?
Me: huh.
MM: Your childhood is trying to sell cheese to my childhood.

He realized how odd that last statement was, turned his head sideways and walked away.

Mark Takahashi, Associate Editor

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2010 Volkswagen GTI: Off, Damned ESP! Off, I say!

December 16, 2010

VW GTI longterm.jpg My turn to weigh in on the Volkswagen GTI's ESP-off button that's in fact not an ESP-off button. I've been told Edmunds Senior Editor Josh Jacquot has gotten all cranky-pants about this subject in the past. I'm bringing it up again. It's worthy. I mean, come on: Is the GTI supposed to be a fine German sporting machine, or a fun-blocking Toyota product?

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2010 VW GTI: They've Complicated the Sunroof

December 13, 2010

GTI Sunroof Control.jpg

The VW Group sunroof opening whatsit is unique. Rather than pressing a button or pulling back on a two-way slidey thing that activates an auto-retract function, you twist a knob to the desired sunroof opening aperture. In my 2000 Jetta VR6, I'd just twist all the way to the top and it would open. Twisting the other direction would tilt the sunroof. It was simple and quick, and there was no fighting with the car's auto-retract function.

I'm not sure when the change happened, but the sunroof control in the GTI is more complicated.

You twist the knob around all the way to the end and run through a mushy detent area at the end of its travel (noted by a line next to the knob) before the knob settles back to the beginning of that detent area. You'd think this would open the sunroof all the way, but it doesn't. There's still 90-percent of the glass and shade showing. Twisting through that detent area once again opens the roof all the way.

According to the manual, this 90-percent open is for "quieter operation" with the sunroof back. I'm not sure if I detected much of a noise difference, though there was some buffeting with it fully back (corrected by cracking the windows a scoash). I suppose this is all well and good, but I have two questions:

1) The knob allows you to easily stop it wherever you'd like any way, so why the detent thingy?

2) Why allow it to open all the way if there's such an increased level of noise and/or buffeting that it requires you to set-up this overly complicated detent thingy-majig?

James Riswick, Automotive Editor @ 17,400 miles

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2010 VW GTI: Three Seats, Three Days

December 09, 2010

Through a fortunate twist of circumstances, I managed to shuttle and ferry a handful of our short- and long-term cars within about 72 hours. The experiences were biased toward German engineering and it all ended with a drive in the personal roller coaster that is the VW GTI. The shuttled included:

2011 BMW X3: Blah. Frustrating. Sorry.

2011 Mercedes-Benz E350 Bluetec: Autobahn blocker. Pleasant diesel rattle at idle. Like a truck. Lets you know it wants to work. Past 40 mph, the clatter recedes. Feels cinder-block solid, but with improbably light steering when navigating stoplights around town. Liked it a lot. Editor Jordan said I'm getting old (40's in sight, but not quite). Riswick put it best: the Benz knows what it is, and doesn't try to be something it's not.

2010 VW GTI: The climax to all this car shuttling. Well worth it. A feeling of endless boost, available at a crack. Took out on a favorite Orange County test loop in the wet. Didn't totally uncork it; prefer to remain employed, thanks. But even at normal back-canyon speeds, with the occasional spur, the GTI never lacked fitness. There's a reason most of us love this car; it's just simply fun to drive. Sure, you can say that about many cars. But for the segment the GTI competes in, and the price point VW offers it at, it's a total package. Boost, braking, arcing, carving, comfort, response and stability; you don't NEED to hammer on this thing to enjoy it. And you know it'll enjoy it when you do.

GTI-canyon_02.jpg Dan Frio, Automotive Editor

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2010 Volkswagen GTI: < 2012 Volkswagen Golf R

December 09, 2010


This is the 2012 Volkswagen Golf R. It's got 266 horsepower from a turbocharged 2.0-liter I4. It's all-wheel-drive and the only available transmission is a 6MT. And it's headed for America.

If the traction control can be turned off, this should pretty much fix the GTI.

Bonus: No goofy plaid seats.

Mike Magrath, Associate Editor, Edmunds.com


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2010 Volkswagen GTI: That's....Close....

December 08, 2010

I had to watch some Russ Swift, British stunt driver, videos for work today (it's rough, lemme tell you ) and came across this video of the precision-driving champ driving a GTI very quickly, very sideways and very close to some parked VW Golfs.

Mike Magrath, Associate Editor, Edmunds.com

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2010 VW GTI: Greatx4 Grandfather Alive in South Africa

December 02, 2010


Imagine waking up one day and finding out you could meet your great-great-great-great grandfather. It would be pretty cool, though I'm not sure how I'd converse with a mid-19th-Century Dutch baker. Well, if we were to send our GTI to South Africa, it would have that very opportunity.

Featured in the August issue of CAR, the 2009 Volkswagen Citi MK1 is a brand-new old car produced in South Africa until August 2009. In total, 377,484 were produced there since 1984 when the original first-generation Golf bowed out in favor of the bigger and more sophisticated second generation. That second-generation Golf was consequently also more expensive, which is why VW South Africa desired a new entry-level model for its lower income market and looked no further than the outgoing model. The original sales target for the Citi Golf was 300 units per month, but at the car's sales peak in 2006, the factory in Uitenhage was producing 131 cars per day.

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2010 Volkswagen GTI: Side Sill Caps are a Little Short

November 22, 2010


Not sure why the gray sill caps on our GTI caught my eye this weekend. They're so low that you almost don't even notice them, almost makes you wonder why they're even there.

Well, they're on there because this is a GTI and not just a plain ol' Golf. They're designed to make it look a little sportier, sort of like an extended side sills but cheaper. They're protective too, although, as you can see they don't completely cover the entire sill area. Sure enough, they leave just enough extra space for the tire to kick up all sorts of road grime. Might have been nice if they had extended the plastic cap just a little bit farther forward to cover up some of that white space. Probably a design decision though, so I can't blame them.

On a more general note, the GTI feels completely solid and rattle free after over 16,000 miles. And I still like driving it around town even if it does get sloppy when I push it hard around corners.

Ed Hellwig, Editor @ 16,493 miles

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2010 Volkswagen GTI: Cool Exhaust Tips

November 19, 2010


I caught sight of the 2010 Volkswagen GTI's dual exhaust tips as I was headed up to the office one day this week. Are the dual tips overkill on a car with a 200-horsepower, 2.0-liter turbo four-cylinder? Sure are.

But they look cool. I particularly like how they extend slightly beyond the dark gray, diffuser-style flourish VW added below the bumper. It's a subtly sporty touch on a subtly sporty car.

Erin Riches, Senior Editor @ 16,430 miles

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2010 Volkswagen GTI: Hey John, Thanks for Inventing the GTI

November 18, 2010


Among all the handshaking and backslapping at the L.A. auto show, I saw my friend John Rettie, the expatriate British auto-journalist, and thanked him for inventing the Volkswagen GTI, much as I usually do.

Turns out he'd met an auto engineer just recently that had also thanked him for doing so.

Rettie didn't invent the Volkswagen GTI, of course, but he pretty well introduced it to America. As soon as the car with its innovative, 110-hp, fuel-injected, 1.6-liter inline-4 had been introduced by Volkswagen at the 1975 Frankfurt auto show, Rettie became a crazed enthusiast. When he came to the U.S., he filled the pages of the VW specialty magazines with stories about the Golf GTi. It would do 100 mph, only we couldn't get it in the U.S. He knew more about it than anyone in America, including the executives at Volkswagen of America.

Finally Rettie brought his own GTi to America and got Motor Trend to include it in a 1980 comparison test, where it stomped the competition (anyway, that's what I remember). Apparently it registered with Volkswagen of America, as he recently met an automotive executive who was a young engineer at VWoA in those days who remembers seeing the story and running it upstairs with some of his friends and putting it under the noses of the VW executives and forcing them to listen.

The story of the Volkswagen GTI's introduction in the U.S. as a 1983 model is a little more complex than this, of course, but there's no question that Rettie's enthusiasm was a key factor in inventing the GTI legend. The next time you think there's no place for crazed enthusiasts in the soulless world of product planning, think again.

Oddly enough Rettie also had a part in another legendary car for enthusiasts, the Mazda MX-5 Miata. When Mazda product planner Bob Hall drove up to Santa Barbara from Mazda's headquarters in L.A. in 1984 to buy a used Lotus Elan as a test vehicle for the planning team, he looked at two cars. The red car didn't leak oil but it was right-hand-drive in the British style, while the blue car leaked like a sieve but was left-hand drive in the American style. Hall picked the blue car, which proceeded to leave an oil slick on my driveway when he drove it around to show me some weeks later. The red Lotus Elan had belonged to Rettie. If Hall had picked his car, that damn oil stain wouldn't still be out there in front of my garage.

So anyway, thanks for the GTI, John. Without it, the BMW M3, Mitsubishi Evo and Subaru Impreza WRX might never have existed.

Michael Jordan, Executive Editor, Edmunds.com

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2010 Volkswagen GTI: Looks Good Now, Looks Good Later

November 17, 2010


I came out of a Oaxacan restaurant to find our long-term 2010 Volkswagen GTI perfectly lit and simply stunning. There's something about this car that never gets old. I like looking at it today. And I suspect, I'd like looking at it 5 years from now. (Whereas with the Mazdaspeed 3, I hear Future Erin saying, "Yeah, back then, I didn't care if the car I was driving looked manically happy -- I just wanted to feel that way when I drove it.")

I think I feel similarly about how the Volkswagen GTI drives. Nope, I never get all giddy about how quickly it can take a corner, but the car is steady, secure and enjoyable for the other 90-95 percent of my driving. It's also very comfortable, and the premium-grade interior has plenty to do with that. Probably, these are traits I would like 5 years from now, too.

So, do you think the MkVI Volkswagen GTI will age well? And, if you're feeling chatty, which other cars of the last decade do you think have aged particularly well?

Erin Riches, Senior Editor @ 16,362 miles

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2010 Volkswagen GTI: Engineered by Lotus

November 15, 2010


Well, actually it's not. But while driving away from the presentation of five concept cars by Group Lotus on Friday night and weaving through the cars brought up for the crowd by the valet guys, I was thinking that the GTI resembled a Lotus more than the cars that had brought all these Hollywood people here, the Prius being the most popular by my count.

The classic quotation from Colin Chapman is "Simplificate, and then add lightness," a colloquial phrase popularized by the designer of the British-built Canberra jet bomber that dominated the headlines in the years after World War II, a time when Chapman was studying to be an aircraft engineer. The idea was later expressed more eloquently by Tony Rudd, the BRM Formula 1 designer who moved to Lotus in 1969. He said, "The most elegant and effective and traditional Lotus solution is the one with the least parts effectively deployed."

This is the GTI's story, really, as it gathers together a few prosaic parts that add up to much more than you expect. It certainly impressed the valet guys, who had never really seen one before.

Maybe the VW GTI would get more respect if it had a Lotus badge. It kind of hits all the marks that a Lotus does, doing more with less, and yet you can show up at a Hollywood gig like this and be treated like an adult instead of a gatecrasher.

--Michael Jordan, Executive Editor, Edmunds.com @ 16,333 miles

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2010 Volkswagen GTI: Vanity Plate?

November 11, 2010


On my way in to work today while in our 2010 Volkswagen GTI, I came across this Beetle with a vanity plate. OK, I never really understood why people get vanity plates with the model name of their car on it. Yes, I can see that you're driving a bug. Anyway, that's not my point. Seeing this made me wonder if GTI owners feel as passionate about their V-Dubs and if so what do their vanity plates say. Probably something about driving fast, right?

Any GTI owners care to share?

Caroline Pardilla, Deputy Managing Editor

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2010 Volkswagen GTI: Appearing on Google Street View?

November 08, 2010


OK, this is really nerdy of me to be excited about this, but after I took our 2010 Volkswagen GTI for a wash this morning and was heading back to the office, I ran across this: a Google Maps Street View Subaru Impreza! I first noticed the odd contraption (camera) mounted to its roof and then saw the sign on its rear bumper. Neato!

I wonder, since I sat there taking a picture of it, does that mean our GTI will appear on the new updated Street View? Here's the current one. How awesome would that be? I should have waved.

Caroline Pardilla, Deputy Managing Editor

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2010 Volkswagen GTI: All Look Same?

November 05, 2010


I have the 2010 Volkswagen GTI this weekend and couldn't help but wonder if I run into the spitting motorist around my apartment will he mistake it for the 2. Hmm, maybe I should avoid the alley just in case.

Caroline Pardilla, Deputy Managing Editor

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2010 Volkswagen GTI: Is It PZEV Emissions Rated?

October 29, 2010


After reading a few days ago on how the Chevrolet Volt won't earn PZEV certification and then later looking at specs for the 2011 GTI, it made me realize that our GTI might have PZEV certification for emissions. Cleaner tailpipe emissions from a GTI than a Volt? That's kind of cool. (Though, admittedly, the Volt's circumstances are seemingly tied up in technicalities.) But similar to my experience with my emission fact-finding adventure on our long-term Sonata, it's not all that easy to find out if a car is PZEV or not.

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2010 Volkswagen GTI: Less Customizable For 2011

October 27, 2010


If I were looking to buy a GTI, I think I'd be a little annoyed at the way VW arranged the car's optional features for 2011. For 2010, you could order the adaptive xenon headamps, navigation system and Dynaudio sound system as standalone options. Now they're all bundled into specific trim levels.

To get the headlamps, for instance, you have to select the Sunroof and Navigation trim level (an additional $3,185 above the base GTI). And the Dynaudio sound system is now only offered with the GTI Autobahn (add $5,315). To see the option sheets, here's 2010 and 2011.

The good news is that Bluetooth and the 18-inch "Detroit" wheels (the ones that are on our long-term car) are now standard (with only a slight 2011 price increase). If you don't like the way those wheels look, though, I suppose that's a negative. VW also isn't currently showing a 2011 factory option for any different wheel styles or summer tires, though I hope you can still get them somehow.

Automakers bundle options together all the time. Even the Mazdaspeed 3 has but one package that includes all of the car's optional features. So it's not really surprising how the 2011 car is set up. But compared to the 2010 GTI, the 2011 car is just a bit less special.

Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor

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2010 Volkswagen GTI: In the Beginning

October 26, 2010


You might not know it, but sister site Edmunds has an article on the Volkswagen Golf's history that might interest those who want to learn the whole background story about this car and the origins of the GTI version.

It has fascinating tidbits like, the GTI didn't make its debut in America until a decade after the hot hatch debuted in Europe. Plus, do you know why Volkswagen called the front-drive small car the Golf everywhere in the world but America where it was called the Rabbit?

Caroline Pardilla, Deputy Managing Editor

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2010 VW GTI: Might Be A Future Classic

October 25, 2010


By now you've likely seen ads or read our road test of the the redesigned 2011 Volkswagen Jetta. After driving our GTI around this weekend, I just can't shake the feeling that competing on volume and price with the latest Jetta is the wrong direction for VW. So many of the things I like about our GTI, such as the upscale materials, special touches and all-around refined feel, aren't really present in the new Jetta. I'd recommend the Golf or GTI to somebody shopping for a small hatchback in a heartbeat. The Jetta? Now it's just one pick amongst many.

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2010 Volkswagen GTI: Super Beetle Comparo

October 11, 2010


Am looking down at a 1982 Porsche 911SC - the sixth one in a couple of weekends and a good one at last - and am thinking again what a happy little time capsule of Porsche design history this model of the 911 happens to be.

It's the kind of car that makes your wallet flutter.

And then there's the 2010 Volkswagen GTI next to me. And it comes to me -- wait a second -- these cars are the same....

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2010 Volkswagen GTI: The People's Dyno

October 08, 2010


So once it's parked, I look down and see the GTI's odometer reading, "14,076 miles." It's been around here since February, so this is a goodly number of miles.

And this makes me think of the Mazdaspeed 3, which struggled to crack 20,000 miles the last month or so, even though it's been around for almost a year.

Never mind dynamometer comparisons of horsepower, which car do people really like to drive?

After six months of being driven almost daily, the GTI had recorded 11,300 miles. After six months, the Mazdaspeed 3 had recorded 10,213 miles.

Well, you can quibble about frequency of drives and duration of trip and all the other variables, but the people's dyno has given us its result.

Michael Jordan, Executive Editor, Edmunds.com @ 14,076 miles

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2010 Volkswagen GTI: Shall We Play a Game?

September 28, 2010


When I got on the 405 freeway at 6:15 a.m. this morning, the traffic looked like this.

A shame, because the VW GTI is fun to drive and I purposely chose it last night knowing I'd be on the road early today. Thought I might be able to actually drive instead of just sit. No dice.

On days like this, I look for new ways to pass the time. This morning I played, "Who's Driving With Expired Plates." Turns out, pretty much everyone.

How do you pass the commute time?

Kelly Toepke, News Editor @ 13,747 miles

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2010 Volkswagen GTI: You've Come a Long Way?

September 24, 2010

Do you remember when the GTI looked like it was a welded box? I loved those modded Rabbits. Ok, I dated myself there, but for those who don't remember or were born after I graduated high school, here is a little trip down my memory lane.

Scott Jacobs, Senior Photographer

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2010 Volkswagen GTI: Fantastic Visibility

September 23, 2010

I did a bunch of photo collages a while back to compare and contrast various coupes visibility. Those photo collages are a pain in the butt, though, so here's a video instead showcasing just how open and airy the GTI's cabin is. Sure, a VW hatchback doesn't look as cool as a Camaro, but there's something to be said for seeing where you're going.

Previous Coupe Visibility Blog

James Riswick, Automotive Editor @ 13,574 miles

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2010 VW GTI: Impressed My Rich Friend

September 18, 2010


I have this long time friend. He and I met racing Formula Fords back in the early 1990s. He has means. And he spends it on cars. Since I've known him he has owned more Ferraris than I can remember including a 348, a 348 Spyder, a 355 Spyder, a 360, two 430 Spyders, a 430 Scuderia, a 550 and a 599. He also has a Ducati Desmosedici. But he doesn't only buy Italian toys. He has also owned a two M5s, an M3, a CL63, a CLK63 Black, a 1972 Porsche 911 RS, a Carrera GT, a 997 GT3 RS, a highly modified Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8 and a 1993 Mercedes 500E. Oh, and he just bought himself a Mercedes SLR McLaren 722 convertible.

He was blown away by our little GTI yesterday. First thing he noticed was the car's wonderfully smooth idle. Then he said the plaid seats were to his liking. Before I could respond he poked his head in the window, looked around a bit and said, "Cool car. Nicely finished. Can you get DSG?"

When I said you can he said, "This is all the car anybody ever needs."

And he's right. It is.

Scott Oldham, Editor in Chief

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2010 Volkswagen GTI: Our Favorite Caption

September 17, 2010


Thanks to ergsum for this week's favorite caption. And no, I'm not cross about the seat heater comment. Get it? Cross. Oh yeah.

Here are the others that made us see the light:

Forgive me, father, for I am about to sin. (vt8919)
Burn rubber, not Qur'ans! (ergsum)
We get the GTI's Bible Belt replaced. (ergsum)
Converted In 60 Seconds (ergsum)
Top God's tamed racing driver, the Stigmata. (ergsum)
Where's Mr. Prayer? I've got a flat. (tomm250)
Prayer changes things....okay...how 'bout the wheels?!? (rick8365)
This explains the Catholic school girl uniform upholstery. (ergsum)
WWJD: What Would Judas Drive? (mrryte)
Volkswagen: Un-Pope Your Ride! (ergsum)
Deliver us from EVO (mrryte)

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2010 Volkswagen GTI: Disappearing B-Pillar

September 17, 2010


A fog settled over West Los Angeles last night, but our 2010 Volkswagen GTI burned right through it. That sounds like an attempt at bad poetry. What I mean to say is that this car is stunning. Really stunning. On the walk back to the foggy parking lot, I was thrilled that this was my car for the evening.

I've gone on record many times as a lover of almost anything with the silhouette of a hatchback, and the GTI's shape is no exception. But the three-door VW GTI is just a little bit more special because of the B-pillar black-out effect at night. I've talked about how the five-door GTI might fit into my future life, practical considerations and all, but it's never going to look this good.

Another thing I find interesting about our GTI is that I can drive it the night after the Mazdaspeed 3 and like it, maybe just as much, for completely different reasons.

It's a more sedate driving experience for sure (though heel-and-toe downshifting is still fun), but the VW feels like a luxury car compared to the Mazda -- and indeed compared to most other cars you can buy for about $25,000. I'd never have thought to seek out a hot hatch that wants to be a luxury car, but when I stumble upon it, it's kind of cool.

Erin Riches, Senior Editor @ 13,200 miles

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2010 Volkswagen GTI: You Write the Caption

September 17, 2010


Vehicle Testing Manager Mike Schmidt is my go-to source for caption contest photos. He does a lot of traveling. I'm not sure where he shot this photo, but thank god he did. Get it? God...prayer. Ah, I crack myself up.

I was reluctant to post this photo because I didn't want to start any holy wars, so I'm trusting you to keep it light.

What is your caption?

We'll post our favorite this afternoon.

Donna DeRosa, Managing Editor

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2010 Volkswagen GTI: Oops! I Left the Sunroof Open Overnight

September 13, 2010


Brain fade. That's my only explanation for leaving our 2010 Volkswagen GTI's sunroof open overnight.

I don't usually open sunroofs - I'm not a big fan. But 6'6" Kellan and I were remarking how the sunroof doesn't come close to impinging on his headroom, even though it's the kind that sucks down into the headliner rather than moving up and out.

I got lucky. No rain. Too little relative humidity for morning dew. The seats weren't damp at all. And the neighborhood cats didn't drop in for a nap, or worse.

As for the GTI's sunroof, this is one car where tall guys don't have to avoid the option to get that extra little bit of head clearance.

Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing @ 13,031 miles

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2010 Volkswagen GTI: I Can't Drive Aught-Five

September 12, 2010


Sammy Hagar (or is it Haggar these days?) was once so furious about the former 55mph speed limit that he wrote a hit song about it, a song that earned him enough money to pay for a lifetime of traffic tickets and radar detectors. Our 2010 VW GTI is sitting next to a sign that might could net me big bank.

I mean, five mph? Really? Are they serious? I can't drive...five.

No, really, I can't. Both of my own cars have non-comittal markings below 20 mph. They lack a 5 mph hash mark, and the one for 10 mph is unnaturally close to the 0 mph mark. It's impossible to tell if I'm running along at 4 or 7 or 5 mph. It's enough to make a man pen a hit single, I tell you!

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2010 Volkswagen GTI: How It's Different From the MS3

September 10, 2010


Getting into our 2010 Volkswagen GTI after having driven our Mazdaspeed 3 for nearly a week, I couldn't help but notice the following differences:

The GTI...

...has heavier doors.

...has a manlier horn.

...has smoother shifts.

...is quieter at 4,000+ rpm.

I wish I had driving comparisons or something like that for you but all I really got to do with the GTI last night was sit in traffic. But just for giggles here's the burnout shoot-out video again.

Caroline Pardilla, Deputy Managing Editor @ 12,879 miles

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2010 VW GTI: Birthday Wish

September 07, 2010

VW GTI Adan.jpg

This is my friend's son, Adan. The little guy celebrated his 2nd birthday this week, and he loved our long-term 2010 VW GTI when he drove it (kidding).

I wonder if he'll wish for a GTI when he's older? Considering today's youth, maybe he'll dream of Iphone and Android instead.

When I was a kid, I dreamed of one day owning a Porsche 911/Turbo.

What about you? What was your dream car when you were a kid, and is that dream still alive?

Albert Austria, Senior Engineer @ 12,600 miles

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2010 VW GTI: Nice Stance

September 06, 2010

VW GTI profile.jpg

I love the stance on our long-term 2010 VW GTI. The car is lowered, but not excessively. And the gap between the large 18" diameter tires and the fender is just right. A friend of mine likes to tuck the wheels on his VWs; I don't care for that. To each his own.

And the GTI also has a slight rake with the front just a bit lower than the rear.
I hate it when the rear end of the car looks like it's squatting even when sitting still.

Albert Austria, Senior Engineer @ 12,500 miles

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2010 Volkswagen GTI: Is it Just Me?

September 02, 2010


When the 2010 Volkswagen GTI came first came out, I was instantly reminded of this car, the 2007 VW Golf GTI W12-650, an insane (and nearly undriveable, as it turns out) special made for the annual GTI festival in Austria.

I always figured the wide-mouth grille and the bottom-heavy haunches of the current-gen car owed something to this beast.

Mostly, this was a theory constructed in my mind, because I'd never laid any pictures side-by-side, until now.

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2010 Volkswagen GTI: Busted Knob

August 30, 2010


Attached to the rear hatch of our 2010 Volkswagen GTI are two round hooks, one on each side. From each hook hangs the pictured string. From the string hangs the rear cargo cover. Lift the hatch and the strings pivot the cargo cover to improve access to the rear storage area. It's a simple, thoughtful design. I liked it. Then it broke.

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2010 VW GTI: Which Hot Hatch Would You Buy?

August 18, 2010


Alright, pretend you're ready to buy a new hot hatchback. Maybe you have a spouse/partner with another car, but either way your hot hatch is going to be your daily driver. Your choices (pre-selected by me), each with a listed base price, are:

Volkswagen GTI (two-door; four-door is about $600 more) -- $23,690
Mazdaspeed 3 -- $23,340
Mini Cooper S -- $22,300
Mitsubishi Lancer Sportback Ralliart -- $27,590
Subaru Impreza WRX -- $25,495

Which one would you buy?

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2010 Volkswagen GTI: How Does It Sound?

August 16, 2010


We've made reference a few times about how our 2010 GTI's engine sounds pretty cool, thanks in no small part to its honkus, a plastic tube that channels intake noise into the cabin. Well, I finally got around to shooting a couple videos to demonstrate.

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2010 Volkswagen GTI: A Different Cruise Interface

August 09, 2010

VW GTI Cruise Stalk.JPG

When I went to San Francisco last month in our long-term 2010 VW GTI I used the Cruise quite a bit. You see, during the MotoGP weekend it seemed like half of all California Highway Patrol units were on the job from The City to the Monterey Peninsula. I even saw for the first time CHP shooting laser on
I-280 on the run down the hill from Burlingame! I used the cruise a lot to avoid getting a citation, so I gained some familiarity with the GTI's stalk cruise.

It's got a master switch on top that you flip back and forth. I never cancelled cruise operation using this, but I think it would be awkward. And for the speed setting and resume you press on that rocker switch on the end of the stalk.

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2010 VW GTI: I Don't Care What JKav Says

August 06, 2010

vw gti rear bergamot station.jpg

Coming off my Face-Off World Cup win, I'm in a feisty mood and with all due respect to our engineering editor, the right honorable Jay Kavanagh, I don't care what he says about the GTI.

Barring a massive infusion of cash allowing me to buy an XJ Supercharged, the VW GTI is the new car I'd go out and buy with my own money. The reasons hence ...

When the hell am I driving above "6/10ths"? Occasionally when I venture through a canyon, but more importantly, my 6/10ths is a whole heck of a lot lower than 24 Hours of LeMons superstar driver Mr. Kavanagh and our hot-shoe track driver Mr. Josh Jacquot. In fact, my 6/10ths is about their 2/10ths, while their 6/10ths is me wetting myself and recollecting the contents of my life. And that's me, who I'll not so humbly admit is actually a pretty good driver.

For most people, the GTI adds just the right amount of spice and involvement without taking away from the sublime seats, the perfect driving position, the massive visibility, the impressively large back seat, the beautiful interior (that makes the new Jetta feel like it's intended for Brazil), the well-balanced ride and the fact it doesn't wrench the wheel out of my hands at almost every opportunity.

Are the all-seasons crap? Yes. Are the track numbers not as good as others? Yes. Should the traction control be fully defeatable? Absolutely, but I haven't experienced it with the frequency of others (though I'm pretty sure I don't drive as nutty as they do). Is it as much of a riot as a Mazdaspeed 3? No. Is someone likely to bring a stock GTI to a track? No, but then I don't really want to drive a car that would be good for a track. I believe that a hot hatch should be a hatchback that is hotter than its base version, not a hot car that happens to be a hatch. The GTI is one, the Mazdaspeed 3 is the other.

I equate the GTI to being a budget entry-level sport sedan. An A4 or 3 Series aren't track cars, but they in fact add some spice to their sophistication.

I love the GTI and I don't care what JKav says.

James Riswick, Automotive Editor @ 10,707 miles

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2010 Volkswagen GTI: Needs Vesicare

August 02, 2010

vw gtI spray 1.jpg

Sorry for the picture quality, but it's not an easy subject to capture. See that whiteish / brownish stuff there? That's washer fluid. I didn't use the rear washer. It just did that on its own.

So not only is the 2010 Volkswagn GTI too scared to go around a corner without activating its ESC, but when you do manage to have some fun on left-hand corners, it pees itself a little bit.


Mike Magrath, Associate Editor @ 10,501

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2010 Volkswagen GTI: Sunroof for Control Freaks

July 29, 2010

VWGTI 013.jpg

Since we finally have been getting weather resembling summer, I decided to crack open our 2010 Volkswagen GTI's sunroof. I LOVE cars with sunroof controls like this -- knobs and markings -- where you can be precise about just how much of the outside you want in. None of this obsessive back and forth with a lever and just a smidge...more..THERE. Nooo! Don't close! Makes control freaks like me very happy. You can even ratchet up how high you want the moonroof to go. Love it.

Sorry about the blurry detailed shot.

Caroline Pardilla, Deputy Managing Editor @ 10,209 miles

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2010 VW GTI: The Secret Fridge

July 26, 2010

VW GTI Secret Fridge.JPG

Before my trip to the MotoGP race and San Francisco this past weekend, I cleared out our long-term 2010 VW GTI's glovebox to make room for some spare magazines and happened across The Secret Fridge.

There -- in the upper left corner of the top pic -- is a rotary switch that opens a small hole. This allows airflow from the HVAC to enter the glovebox. I turned up the A/C briefly and could feel the cool air coming out.

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2010 VW GTI: The Diesel Version (Sort of)

July 26, 2010

VW Jetta TDI Cup.jpg

Let's say you're considering a VW GTI, but its already impressive 25 mpg just isn't strong enough for your desire to do better for the environment. Or perhaps you're interested in a Jetta TDI, but find it just too boring to drive.

Well, for a limited time only (!) Volkswagen is selling this 2010 Jetta TDI Cup Street Edition, which combines the regular TDI's powertrain with the old GLI's suspension, special 18-inch wheels, a unique body kit and of course, plaid seats.

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2010 VW GTI: The Bay Area 10K

July 26, 2010

Milestone Banner.jpgVW GTI 10K.JPG

Our long-term 2010 VW GTI turned 10K on my trip to MotoGP and San Francisco this past weekend.
I ended up putting 1200 miles on the car. I'll post some driving impressions later this week but I can tell you here that I liked this vehicle a lot.

I also got a 10K mile "Service Now!" reminder so we'll take it in soon.

Albert Austria, Senior Engineer @ 10,000 miles

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2010 VW GTI: Tire Pressure, The EU, and The euro

July 22, 2010

2010 VW GTI Tire Pressure and Made In stickers.JPG

I usually check the tire pressures on a test car before a big trip. And I did check our long-term 2010 VW GTI's relatively large 225/40R18s before my weekend trip to San Francisco and Laguna Seca and was surprised that they take 38 psi.

I was also surprised when I discovered that our GTI is manufactured in Germany, not Latin America (verified by the monrooney below.)

Not that I have anything against Latin America, but Germany is now almost single-handedly supporting the EU and the euro.

Our long-term GTI is assembled in Wolfsburg, Germany. And that's fine with me.

Albert Austria, Senior Engineer @ 8,900 miles

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2010 VW GTI: Headlamps Reminder for Me and the Valets

July 22, 2010


As previously reported, our long-term 2010 VW GTI has no Auto headlamps.

In order not to end up stranded like GTI fanboi Mr. Jacquot, I decided to give myself and the hotel valets a reminder on my weekend trip to San Francisco and Laguna Seca for the MotoGP race.

Albert Austria, Senior Engineer @ 8,900 miles

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2010 VW GTI: MotoGP Drive

July 22, 2010

This weekend is the Red Bull US Grand Prix featuring the MotoGP World Championship at Laguna Seca raceway. (My video above is from 2008 free practice.)

My colleague Chris Walton will head up separately on a Harley-Davidson VROD, while I decided on the comfortable route -- our long-term 2010 VW GTI.

The GTI has satellite radio and what I think is the best ride for a small car. Unfortunately, we didn't order ours with Navi, so I had to borrow a unit so I won't get lost leaving the circuit (there's what seems like a million roads out the many track exits).

I'll post a few tidbits on my trip, which should be between 800 and 1000 miles.

Albert Austria, Senior Engineer @ 8,850 miles

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Volkswagen GTI: Our Favorite Caption

July 16, 2010


Thanks to thegraduate for this week's favorite caption. Here are the others that we thought were a gas.

Now with a state of the art air suspension (lostboyz)
VW GTI Hindenburg Edition (ergsum)
We found the new GTI's ride a little bouncy. (ergsum)
Volkswagen is going to pump (clap) you up! (ergsum)
Volkswagen. Balloonists wanted. (ergsum)
No matter what, they will still get you at the pump. (ergsum)
Nena says, "Where are the other 98?" (technetium99)
Automotive bloat is affecting everyone (technetium99)
VW gets caught sandbagging. (good_2_go)
VW uses a 2.0 Liter 4-cylinder with a blower. (thegraduate)
Floatswagen Golf. (thegraduate)
German engineering in the bouncy house, ya. (05mazda6hatch)
GAS mileage (snipenet)
Best. Car cover. Ever. (9krpm)
VW misunderstood the term "Hydrogen car" (sherief)
Blimp my ride. (actualsize)
G.T.I = Got To Inflate (anilpunjabi1)

What was your favorite?

Donna DeRosa, Managing Editor

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2010 Volkswagen GTI: Hypothetically Locked Out

July 16, 2010


This is what both door handles look like on the 2010 GTI. See anything missing here? I'll save you the photo of the rear hatch handle which is missing the same critical component.

Now if you see nothing missing in the above image you shouldn't feel bad. Maybe you're a child of the 80s or 90s who never knew such things existed.

Now let's create a scenario. And, believe me, this is a hypothetical...

Let's say you just returned to your airport-parked GTI after a three-day trip to Colorado only to discover that the key fob mysteriously won't unlock the doors. Doesn't even blink the lights. Hmmm. There's a battery dead somewhere. Time to troubleshoot. Light still illuminates on the fob when the buttons are pushed so it seems to be OK. Car does nothing.

First question: Is this the right GTI? It's a big parking lot after all and if this weren't a hypothetical I'd say I've been oxygen deprived for three days. Maybe I wandered up to someone else's hypothetical GTI.

Nope. There's the CD case I left in the hypothetical center console. This is the right car. And the headlamp switch? Yep, it's in the hypothetical "on" position. That explains it. Battery is hypothetically dead. Doors are hypothetically locked. There's no hypothetical key hole. This is a bunch of hypothetical crap.

Think. Think again. No self respecting car manufacturer is going to leave a driver stranded without a way to access the car in this hypothetical situation. Or maybe they are. After all, this is the GTI. Our feelings for one another are mutual.

Inspect door handle. Carefully. Ahhh. Hypothetical relief. There's a slot on the bottom of that little trim cover. Jam key in hole and pry.

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Volkswagen GTI: You Write the Caption

July 16, 2010


Director of Vehicle Testing Dan Edmunds sent me this photo of the new 2014 VW GTI with the enhanced airbag package.

What is your caption?

We'll post our favorite this afternoon.

Donna DeRosa, Managing Editor

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2010 Volkswagen GTI: Is This Spoiler Really Necessary?

July 07, 2010

More often than not, okay almost always, the answer to this question is an obvious "no." The ratio of spoilers that generate worthwhile downforce to spoilers that generate profits for Chinese plastics companies is probably 1 to 10.

Does this spoiler do much? I don't really know. I'm sure there's some engineer working in a basement in Wolfsburg that does. What I do know is that it gives the GTI a much sharper silhouette than the standard Golf, an upgrade that's instantly noticeable from a distance. Yes, a shallow reason for liking such an add-on but it's still a good one if I do say so myself.

Anyone have a better reason?

Ed Hellwig, Senior Editor @ 8,262 miles

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2010 Volkswagen GTI: Suspension Walkaround

June 30, 2010


More than a few of you have been getting impatient for this one. The wait is over. The suspension walkaround of our 2010 Volkswagen GTI long-term test car is finally here.

The going wasn't as smooth as I'd hoped. Volkswagen uses annoying, easy-to-lose lug nut caps that must be removed with an annoying, easy-to-lose wire removal tool, and a liberal coating of tire black at the last carwash may have ruined my pair of jeans. Oh, how I despise tire black.

Enough of my whining already. On with the show and tell.

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2010 Volkswagen GTI: What Does This Antenna Have To Do With This Pen?

June 14, 2010

vw-gti-ant-1600.jpg vw-gti-ant-2-1600.jpg

Take this story with a grain of salt as it was told to me by someone who works for Volkswagen and therefore gets paid to spread such stories.

Supposedly some journalists were at a early preview event for the Golf along with all the top execs from Volkswagen including Chairman Piech. While checking over the details on Volkswagen's new baby, one journalist looked at the shark fin antenna on the roof and noted that its looked a bit cheap, with low grade plastic that contrasted notably with the glossy paint.

He fussed over it enough that Chairman Piech strode over and asked the journalist how he thought it should look given that it was made of plastic. So the journalist pulled a Cross pen out of his pocket and told Piech that it was plastic too, but certainly didn't look like the shabby antenna.

As the story goes, Piech agreed and pledged to look into it. He later instructed engineers to find out who makes the Opalescent black crystalline resin used by Cross to make its pens. Volkswagen then contracted with the same company to make antenna housings for the Golf.

Folklore? Probably, but our GTI does have one shiny antenna.

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2010 VW GTI: Switchblade Key no Longer Cute

May 25, 2010


Our long-term 2010 VW GTI has -- like all VW/Audi non-smart keys -- a switchblade key. These were real cute when they first came out. The supposed benefit was that it wouldn't ruin the pockets of your trousers. But that's hardly true, because like most auto keys today, it's internal cut -- no sharp edges.

Also, VW's design has the key 90 degrees off-axis from the fob, so turning it is slightly awkward: there's a bit less leverage. And the key keeps inadvertantly deploying -- it defeats the whole purpose.

Yeah, the VW fanboys loved it because they could play Sharks & The Jets from West Side Story.

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2010 Volkswagen GTI: The Honkus

May 24, 2010

Hey, at least it sounds good.

Josh Jacquot, Senior road test editor @ 60XX miles

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2010 Volkswagen GTI: Strange Headlight Decision

May 20, 2010

Just look at this headlight and all its fine detailing. You've got the little logo there and all sorts of carefully constructed reflectors that look good whether the light is on or off. Clearly someone thought long and hard about this.

So then, why is it that the GTI doesn't have automatic headlights? I mean, all that effort and they couldn't figure out a way to price in a knob with an extra detent for the ol' "A" option. Seems like an odd oversight for a car that has so many details right.

Ed Hellwig, Senior Editor @ 5,820 miles

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2010 Volkswagen GTI: UPDATED: Needs a Fuel Cap Hook

May 14, 2010


You would think that being a premium car the GTI would have a hook to hang the fuel cap. But it doesn't. So instead you have to let the cap hang loosely against the paint while fueling up. That's disappointing.

UPDATE: Some commenters have pointed out that I'm wrong and that the fuel cap can be rested atop the fuel door. I must admit that it didn't occur to me to try this. Assume that while the "testers for IL must be the dumbest group ever" comment is certainly hyperbole, it very well applies to me in this case. You'll find a photo of the correct fuel cap placement below.

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2010 VW GTI: A Better Looking GTI

May 07, 2010


I like what Volkswagen did with the 2010 GTI's styling. The car has a sharper, more aggressive look to it, but it's still immediately identifyable as a Golf. For comparison's sake, some pictures of the 2010 and the previous generation model follow after the jump.

Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor

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2010 Volkswagen GTI: Our Favorite Caption

April 30, 2010


Thanks to stpawyfrmdonut for this week's favorite caption.

Here are the others that made us reel:

Swing your car rear round and round! (ergsum)
All the right moooves. (technetium99)
At a hoedown, the GTI is farfromgrovin'. (ampim)
Unpimp My Ride with a Hoedown (ergsum)
*Coming Soon* Heel 'n Toe FRI (ampim)
Unpimp ze hoedown. (technetium99)
A VW? Here? Udderly ridiculous. (thegraduate)
Redline dancing (stpawyfrmdonut)
VW 2 step: heel and toe (stpawyfrmdonut)
Saturday Night Hay Fever (ergsum)
Udderly great to drive. (sherief)
Lets go GTI tipping. (chirsch3)
GTI'r Done (gregnv)
TGIF (drfr3d)
Das Boot skuten boogie. (technetium99)
GTI-up! (actualsize)
Bahn Dancing (actualsize)
Rhinestone Cowboy! (thedarkhorse)

What was your favorite?

Donna DeRosa, Managing Editor

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2010 Volkswagen GTI: You Write the Caption

April 30, 2010


Howdy folks,

Vehicle Testing Manager Mike Schmidt sent me this photo of our VW GTI a hop, skip and a jump from here.

We suggest: Sashays from 0-60 in a do-si-do

I'm sure you can do better. For a closer look at the sign, click the thumbnail below.

We'll call the winner this afternoon.

Donna DeRosa, Managing Editor

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2010 Volkswagen GTI: Better Than an M3

April 16, 2010


This is some great car. It's not that it's less than half the price as an M3; it's that it's more than twice as good as an M3.

Back when it was new, the newly fuel-injected Golf GTi was the M3 of its time, a useful automobile that could be driven seriously fast. It had taken the place of the BMW 2002, the famous Whispering Bomb (a name that probably has its roots in V-1 rockets of WWII), which itself had just been replaced by the brand-new 3 Series, a car quickly dismissed by enthusiasts as oversize, stodgy and truck-like.

Just like the modern-day BMW M3, the Golf GTi could be hammered down the autobahn in the fast lane and then could spend a day in the mountains for adventures on the alpine passes. In the corners, it would cock one rear wheel in the air at every corner, a side-effect of its torsion beam axle and actually a measure of great handling balance, not its absence. When the car came to the U.S. in 1983 and became newly capitalized as the GTI, its 90-hp engine was big news. As time went on, Volkswagen tried to justify the car's escalating price with the Euro car's package of luxury options, which included the VR6 engine and softer suspension, but the ever-increasing price tag ultimately chased everyone away.

And now the GTI is back, pretty much as we remember it.

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2010 Volkswagen GTI: Caught in Traffic

March 15, 2010


I was driving our 2010 Volkswagen GTI into the office and caught this guy driving in traffic beside me on the freeway. Looks a heck of a lot like the 550i Gran Turismo we tested last month. Why is it still wearing the camoflauge? We couldn't tell you. But in my opinion it isn't much more attractive with the camo off. What do you think?

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Past Long-Term Road Tests