Split per­son­al­ity!

Warwickshire Telegraph - - FRONT PAGE - By Peter Keenan

IT’S the hot hatch with a split per­son­al­ity.

The Volk­swa­gen Golf GTI will hap­pily thrill its oc­cu­pants with a blis­ter­ing burst of pace – but if you want to poo­tle around a quiet vil­lage with­out an­noy­ing the res­i­dents, it has that club in its bag as well.

The power is pro­vided by an up­graded 2.0-litre turbo petrol engine with 230ps that pro­pels you from 0-62mph in a shade over six sec­onds.

Hav­ing thor­oughly set your hair on fire, it can re­vert in the blink of an eye to a beast ca­pa­ble of nudg­ing and nur­dling its way around the ur­ban jun­gle.

It’s an abil­ity few oth­ers can repli­cate so, to­gether with chic styling and a top-notch in­te­rior, it of­fers an ap­peal­ing pack­age.

There is of course one prob­lem with the ‘stay calm and drive slowly’ part of the equa­tion and that is the GTI in­cites a riot when you get be­hind the wheel.

It is so much fun to drive you would have to be a mo­tor­ing monk to get any­where near the claimed av­er­age fuel econ­omy fig­ure of 44.8 miles per gal­lon.

The thor­oughly mod­ern in­stru­ments and di­als give you a run­ning ac­count of where that fig­ure is go­ing and dur­ing my week with the car it never made par­tic­u­larly en­tic­ing read­ing for the bank bal­ance.

But what the heck, I sus­pect if you buy one then tip-toe­ing around to con­serve petrol isn’t go­ing to be your main pri­or­ity.

The power is fed through the front wheels with the help of a su­per slick six-speed man­ual trans­mis­sion – but there is no ef­fect on the steer­ing which re­mains sharp even when you are in jet fighter mode.

The car is beau­ti­fully bal­anced through cor­ners thanks to a su­perb chas­sis which gives great lev­els of grip and top-qual­ity han­dling, while a low­ered sports sus­pen­sion en­sures a firm ride with­out ne­ces­si­tat­ing the need for a visit to the den­tist.

The lat­est five-door Golf GTI – there is also a three-door ver­sion – ben­e­fits from the six gen­er­a­tions that went be­fore, mak­ing it eas­ily the best in­car­na­tion to date.

Boosted by a mid-life re­vamp ear­lier this year – an all-new Golf is due in 2019 – the up­dates give it the qual­i­ties needed to com­bat a raft of sporty com­peti­tors.

As well as an im­proved engine the lat­est GTI is fit­ted with a re­vamped in­fo­tain­ment cen­tre fea­tur­ing a larger screen with ges­ture con­trol and a top­notch sat nav sys­tem.

Other neat ad­di­tions in­vited to the party in­clude a flat-bot­tomed three­spoke leather mul­ti­func­tion steer­ing wheel, red con­trast stitch­ing on the seats and gear lever, plus alu­minium ped­als.

The ex­te­rior gets snazzy 18-inch al­loy wheels, a roof spoiler, unique bumpers and a black hon­ey­comb front in­take with GTI badg­ing, as well as red brake calipers. Other stan­dard equip­ment in­cludes a DAB ra­dio and Blue­tooth con­nec­tiv­ity.

There are park­ing sen­sors front and rear with a park­ing dis­play show­ing how close you are get­ting to the wife’s favourite flower pot on the drive.

Speed is as­sured, but so is safety with a raft of sys­tems in­clud­ing pre­dic­tive pedes­trian pro­tec­tion, adap­tive cruise con­trol, city brak­ing and post col­li­sion brak­ing.

The cabin is spa­cious with plenty of room for five adults while the odds and sods that tend to ac­cu­mu­late can be stored in the roomy glove­box, large door bins or tucked away un­der the front seats. There is a well-shaped 380litre boot that swal­lows a weekly su­per­mar­ket shop or lug­gage for a hol­i­day with ease.

The Golf GTI is the daddy of hot hatches, a ver­i­ta­ble Ray Win­stone that de­mands po­ten­tial buy­ers take no­tice of it. It can take a walk on the wild side, but when you want to kick back and re­lax it is there for you as well.

TEST DRIVE VW GOLF GTI

Model: Volk­swa­gen Golf GTI Price: £28,975 Me­chan­i­cal: 230ps, 1,984cc, 4cyl petrol engine driv­ing front wheels via 6-speed man­ual gear­box Max speed: 155mph 0-62mph: 6.4 sec­onds Com­bined mpg: 44.8 In­sur­ance group: 33 CO2 emis­sions: 148g/km BiK rat­ing: 28% War­ranty: 3yrs/60,000 miles

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