2010 Volkswagen GTI Long-Term Road Test - Audio & Technology

2010 Volkswagen GTI Long-Term Road Test

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2010 Volkswagen GTI: Clean

March 25, 2011


I'm a big fan of the GTI. I dig the plaid seats, I dig the power, and I dig the flat bottom steering wheel.

But I also really like the simple clean lines/layout of the center stack. Easy to find what you're looking for in a brief glance. Way better than the disaster of buttons in the Crosstour, IMHO.

Scott Jacobs, Sr. Mgr, Photography

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2010 Volkswagen GTI: Minimalist Bluetooth

January 19, 2011


It turned out I'd never had occasion to use the Bluetooth in our long-term 2010 Volkswagen GTI until last weekend. Chris already gave you a walkthrough of the car's audio streaming capability, so I'll just talk about the usefulness of this Bluetooth interface for making phone calls. It's as barebones an interface as I've ever used, short of an earpiece.

To start, pressing that phone button does not initiate an auditory menu to help you pair your phone or make a call.

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2010 VW GTI: Analog Soul in a Digital World

December 08, 2010

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The GTI has impressed most of us with small, surprising details, and here's another: a virtual analog radio dial. Twisting the right knob scrolls through the dial, and also offers digital confirmation above. It even features slight lag while turning the dial, not unlike the servo tuners on old solid-state home receivers. A completely useless and anachronistic feature, but one that hints at a sense of humor within the VW design ranks. Like it.

Bonus: the system recognizes my OG iPod and offers a three-band EQ. I'm plenty enamored of this car after first drive, much like most of the staff. And it's details like this, beyond its acceleration and braking and composure in corners, that give the car character.

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2010 Volkswagen GTI: Nav Tease

October 20, 2010


So I like driving around L.A. checking out events, new restaurants, etc., but that means I rely heavily on Google map printouts or my iPhone's Google map function. However, on rare occasions, I score an Edmunds short-term or long-term car with a navigation system. That's why every time I get into our 2010 Volkswagen GTI and see this screen, I experience a split second of relief followed by disappointment. I keep forgetting that, no, we didn't opt for the navigation system. Argh. Seems like such a waste of real estate to be used only to display radio stations.

Out of curiosity I built and spec'd my own GTI.

Hm, $3,185 for the Sunroof and Navigation package which includes the nav system with 5-inch color touchscreen, sunroof, directionally adjustable bi-xenon high-intensity headlights with adaptive front-lighting. Damn, I hate it when they don't offer a la carte. And why throw the headlights in the package?

In any case, yeah, $3K seems a pretty penny...but then I'd convince myself that it would end up paying for itself. Right?

Caroline Pardilla, Deputy Managing Editor @ 14,914 miles

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2010 Volkswagen GTI: Shifter Scores Two Points

October 18, 2010

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Our 2010 Volkswagen GTI has a pretty darned good shifter. Good action, great knob, cool looks. Heck, there's even a gear-position indicator on the dash. But that's not the point of this blog, after this weekend -- lots o'rain -- the VW's shifter scored two big points with me.

1) This is the proper and only way a manual transmission should be set up. Reverse next to first, push DOWN on the stick to get to the R gate. That's it. Period. First is used exclusively after R, why would you want it anywhere else? You wouldn't. End of discussion. (Feel free to discuss in the comments.)

2) When you've got the wipers on and put the VW GTI into reverse, the rear wiper on the hatch activates. How cool is that? Very.

Mike Magrath, Associate Editor @ 14,820 miles

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2010 Volkswagen GTI: Streaming Bluetooth Audio

October 15, 2010

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I'm an iPhone newbie and it never ceases to amaze me. We are, indeed, living in the future. As an example, today I paired my phone with the GTI using Bluetooth, and also used the same connection to stream music sans a cord. See, if the phone was attached to an umbilical, it's be much harder to look at traffic on the phone's map. This way, I get to listen to my music and have the phone free for other functions.

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2010 Volkswagen GTI: Virtue and Virtual

October 01, 2010


Forza Motorsport 3 week continues, as I snagged the GTI keys with the firm notion of giving it a real and simulated shakedown. First, the real bits. I still love the GTI - way more than the Mazdaspeed 3. But perfect, it's not.

Before I even got it into first gear, I realized that the iPod jack wasn't finding my iPhone. It would charge it, but I couldn't get it to play through the AUX menu. A short while later, I noticed that the brake pedal is just a wee bit too tall (close to me) to do low-speed heel-toe downshifts. Higher speeds are fine because I have to give it more brake pedal pressure, pushing it closer to the throttle. Finally, I found the shifter just a little out of reach. And by al little, I mean about an inch or so too far forward.

Now for some hot laps.

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2010 Volkswagen GTI: Adjustable Aux Input Part II

July 09, 2010

So here's the scenario: You're unplugging your iPod and as soon as you do the car's audio system defaults to playing whatever radio station you had selected when you switched to auxiliary input. Naturally, you had the audio system's volume cranked all the way up to accommodate your iPod's sorry output at its default volume level.

Those who have experienced this phenomenon know what happens next. The radio hits you like a shovel to the eardrums at max volume. Ouch.

That's precisely why I like the GTI's adjustable aux input. It prevents the shovel to the eardrums. Max the aux input level when you plug in and you don't have to max the volume. It's a valuable feature and one that I'm yet to find anywhere else. And it prevents the inevitable shovel to the eardrums.

You might remember Mark's post about poor sound quality when the aux level is maxed. This, however, isn't a problem for me since I rarely listen to anything but spoken-word podcasts. Either that or I'm just not as discerning.

Josh Jacquot, Senior road test editor @ 8,382 miles

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2010 Volkswagen GTI: Sound Quality

June 10, 2010


I hopped in the GTI last night, pleased that I'd finally have a vehicle with iPod connectivity and decent sound quality (I was in the Z06, my Elise and a wicked-fast Yamaha R1 since Friday). To my disappointment, however, the stereo sounded awful. The sound quality was all fuzzy and distorted (oversaturated, in professional parlance), as if it were plugged into the AUX jack with the iPod volume on maximum. I switched over to satellite radio, and everything was fine, so I figured it's either my iPhone (yet another reason to upgrade to the new iPhone 4) or the cord.

I ran this question by resident audiophile and Executive Editor Paul Seredynski. He agreed that the sound was horrific, but then started digging into the setup menus. In the regular sound menu, the bass, midrange and treble sliders were set close to center and the other settings had no affect. Then he found a window under the Media Setup menu to adjust the AUX in level. Bingo! Everything sounded great again. Even though it's labeled AUX in, this setting also covers the separate iPod input. Either "Quiet" or "Medium" settings worked fine. The "Loud" setting was the culprit.

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2010 VW GTI: Tiny Center Bin, No 2nd Power Point

May 06, 2010


As you can see, there's not a whole lot of room to store stuff in our GTI's center console. The iPod adapter takes up most of the space, leaving just enough room for perhaps a box of Tic Tacs. More importantly, there's no power point here. There's just one up front in the center stack, so if you want to plug in two devices (say, your cell phone and a radar detector) you're out of luck. There is a power point in the rear cargo area, but that's obviously not very convenient for most items.

Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor

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