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Golf 7 2.0 TSI GTI 5-dr MY17.5 DSG | Volkswagen

Date of Release: April 2017
Number of Reviews 2

Can something that is already exceptionally good get any better? When it comes to the new Volkswagen Golf 7.5 GTI, it seems so. Following in the tyre tracks of some prestigious predecessors that managed to capture the hearts and imaginations of many, VW’s newest GTI has the looks, performance and all-round aura of a future legend.

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The Torque Rating:  

Generic:

Value
Safety
Exterior
Interior
Performance

Hatch Lifestyle

City slicker
Boot/seat versatility
Entertainment
Still looking cool
Robot racer
Overall Driver Rating: 

Generic

Value
Safety
Exterior
Interior
Performance

Hatch Lifestyle

City slicker
Boot/seat versatility
Entertainment
Still looking cool
Robot racer

Design

The Golf 7.5 GTI is everything a hot hatch should be – sleek, sexy and ridiculously good looking. It seems to get more irresistible with each generation, while still retaining those signature features that let you, and everyone around you, know that this is a GTI. That familiar red chrome strip, the iconic honeycomb grille, and those attention grabbing twin pipe exhausts all shout “GTI!”

Performance

The GTI’s performance is powered by an impressive 2.0 petrol-turbo engine. That, coupled with its exceptional build quality and impeccable engineering, result in a car that offers plenty of excitement, countless thrills, exceptional handling, and the comfort of knowing that you are always is control.

Safety

In 2017, even the most exciting cars need to offer dependable safety. The GTI ticks the exciting box, but what about safety? Some of its safety features include Fatigue detection, Progressive steering, Park distance control and a High level brake light. The Golf 7.5 GTI isn’t just a thrilling ride, it is a safe one too.

THE TORQUE REVIEW

South Africans love their Vrrrr Pha’s! So much so that, since its launch back in June 2013, the GTI has been the top selling model variant out of the entire Golf 7 range. But now, as you surely know, the facelifted model range is out, and that means there’s a new boss on the block.

The first impression you get is, WOW! The exterior styling on this car is simply stunning! It truly does look good from a number of angles, day or night. The GTI doesn’t just look good, it IS good; in every way! Put shortly, it’s an engineering masterpiece.

OUT LOOK


In our VW Golf 7.5 1.0TSI Comfortline review, one of our biggest criticisms of that great car was that it looked fairly plain. This is definitely not the case with the GTI. Sure, there are some that prefer the exaggerated styling accustomed to hot hatches such as the Honda Type-R, the Focus RS and the A-Class AMG. In the case of the GTI, though, VW has struck a great balance between understated and premium.

Exterior styling standouts include:

  • Beautiful full LED headlamps and tail lamps. The iconic red strip that usually runs under the honeycomb grill continues into the headlamp itself and curls up alongside the double L-shaped daytime running lights (DRT’s). We really like how the DRT’s actually change colour, turning orange and effectively becoming the front indicators.
  • An aggressive front bumper, featuring a black strip that runs along the front splitter and then curls back on itself, integrating those impressive double fins. They almost look like the nostrils of an angry Spanish bull! Something worth noting is that the new GTI, with its advanced LED headlamps, no longer needs fog lamps, but rather gives way to better air flow onto the front red-calliper styled brakes.
  • A clean rear end featuring stylish LED tail lamps that include those eye-catching and pulsating rear indicators. Towards the bottom end, expect bigger exhaust tips separated by a thin honeycomb grill. On the top side, the integrated spoiler hints towards its brother, the ClubSport, but it’s not as aggressive, with the colour coded top piece giving way to black slats that run down the side of the rear window.
  • Stylish-19 inch "Santiago” alloy wheels wrapped up with Pirelli P Zero’s


In terms of the interior, the build quality and infotainment systems truly shine. Our model was also fitted with VW’s new Active Info digital instrument cluster – a nice touch indeed.


Highlights include:

  • The brilliant, touch sensitive 6.5” composition colour infotainment screen.
  • Active Info that showcases two large dials. One is able to customise what info is displayed on the screen, including:
    • Gear choice and speed
    • Trip info
    • Fuel efficiency
  • The start-up animation looks great and reminds you that you are driving the iconic GTI.
  • Comfortable, albeit manual, side hugging leather seats.

With the large windows and sunroof, the cabin feels spacious, yet the build is tight, with no large gaps or horrible squeaks and rattles. Rear passenger space is not amazing, but standard for this size car. Differentiating itself from the rest of the range, the GTI includes red stitching, perforated red dots in the black leather seats, illuminated red trim and GTI badges.


OUT RUN

Under the hood, power is up, albeit slightly. The 2.0 petrol-turbo pushes out 169kW (up from 162kW) and 350Nm of torque. A few motoring journalists have already pointed out that they can’t feel a difference from the extra 7kW, but the car feels quicker to us, particularly in 2nd and 3rd gears. Amazingly, the car doesn’t actually feel super quick; it’s not hooligan, edge of your seat stuff. In reality, it is. The speedo climbs faster than expected and you might find yourself accidently speeding in this car, as it is so well built and so planted that you don’t actually feel like you are going that fast. It’s a good thing it comes standard with a speed limiter!

We were lucky enough to really put the GTI through its paces on the Zwartkops race track. That is where you realise how much engineering has actually gone into the performance factors of this great car. It uses something called torque vectoring to send power to the front wheel which has the most traction. The net effect is that you are able to “fling” yourself around corners. If you are brave enough to push the car past its limits, the Electronic Skid Protection (ESP) software saves the day in a brisk, yet cool, calm and collected manner.

Back on the road, the sublime DSG autobox makes even the most mundane driving activities an absolute pleasure. We found that the traction control did step in quite a lot during 1st and 2nd gears, but thankfully it engages in such a way that you don’t really notice it. The only time you do definitely notice it is when you engage launch control

  1. Engage sport mode (tap that beautiful looking gear knob backwards)
  2. De-active traction control (press the naughty button)
  3. Left foot on brake (this feels a bit weird the first time you do it)
  4. Right foot on the gas! (this somehow feels even better when you are in a GTI)
  5. Release the brake!

The car initially moves forward, struggling for traction. It feels like it then dips the clutch in a bit and quickly re-engages – we are talking split seconds here. After that, you hurtle forward at an alarming rate. It’s only during that small dip when you are able to really feel the traction control kick in. Something we would love to organise in the near future is a head-to-head drag race with the GTI and the Clio RS Trophy. VW claims a 0 - 100Km/h sprint time of just 6.4 seconds.

OUT SMART

The GTI is packed full of brilliant tech. Starting off with something new to the Golf range; our car was equipped with a driver aid called “Front Assist”. It has a radar-type device fitted at the front of the car that monitors the road ahead. You’ll notice it actually manipulates the car’s auto engine start/stop, as it knows when the car in front has pulled away, pre-empting your pull-away and starting the engine at that point instead of waiting for you to press the accelerator pedal. On the highway, activate the cruise control and set your following distance. The car will automatically slow down and accelerate, mimicking the car in front’s behaviour. The GTI is not the first car to feature this tech, but what we like most about it is how it integrates with the Active Info display – especially how you can intuitively override certain auto stop gaps by tapping the accelerator pedal.

The LED headlamps know where you are pointing the car via the steering wheel and actively lights up the curves’ apex for improved visibility at night.

A bit of tech you may not know about is something called brake skimming. If you happen to be driving along a straight road in the rain, the GTI knows that the brake discs are busy collecting water droplets. Without you knowing, it’s actually half engaging the brake callipers so that the pads come close the discs, skimming off excess water. It does this on a regular basis so that when you do need to hit the brakes, they are ready and waiting for you, good to perform at 100%.


An impressive car indeed. Let’s see how it stacks up against our hatch lifestyle rating criteria:

  • City Slicker: Is parking a breeze? Can you whizz through traffic etc.? As our short video suggests, why just survive the concrete jungle when you can thrive in it?! That’s exactly how you feel with the GTI. The compact hatch size, along with the GTI’s famous 2.0T/DSG combination makes you feel like you own the city. Town driving can be a little heavy on fuel, but the Auto Start/Stop function will help reduce consumption. VW claims an average fuel consumption of a mere 6.4l/100km, but in reality, we think you can expect to average around the 10l/100km mark. That feature combined with the Auto Handbrake really aids you with heavy traffic driving.

  • Parking is a synch too, with a 360° PDC system combined with a rear camera smartly hidden in the rear boot badge. The keyless entry system is great – touch your thumb on the handle to unlock and the back of your hand to lock. The side mirrors automatically fold in when you do. Our car wasn’t fitted with SatNav, but we feel that is becoming less important as you are able to turn the car’s infotainment system into a big smart phone via the Apple CarPlay app.

  • Boot/Seat Versatility: It’s a classic hatch size boot, which is adequate on a daily basis. However, you will start to struggle during the weekend if you are a parent. A kiddie’s bike and cooler box (standard weekend items) JUST fit in. There is a sneaky hidden compartment under the floor where you able to store a laptop or something similar. This is really just a result of there not being enough space for the 19” rim, so the GTI comes standard with a space saver spare wheel.

  • Entertainment: Like we said earlier, world-class infotainment system! It offers decent sound through the standard 8 speaker system. We liked using Deezer via the CarPlay app, but we didn’t like how it forces you to have the phone connected via a cable and that you have to unlock the phone every time you climb into the vehicle. BlueTooth audio streaming is simpler and more convenient in our opinion. If you want to upgrade the standard unit to the DiscoverPro (featuring gesture control) + DynAudio sound system, you are looking at an additional R29k.

  • Still looking cool: When it comes to the GTI, there are a lot of “around the braai talking points”. Do you need that much power? Is there enough power? Are the tyres too thin? Bottom line is, the GTI is arguably SA’s most aspirational car. Its incredible good looks, particularly when donned in metallic paint, combined with those iconic Vrr Phaa exhauststhis car definitely has the cool factor!

  • Robot Racer*: Is it the fastest out there? No. Is it the ultimate performance car? No. Is it going to clean up a lot of bigger cars at the robots – hell yes! That’s the thing about the GTI; it doesn’t pretend to be a super racer. It’s a beautifully made premium hatchback that is versatile and relatively economic, and every now and again, when you want to put your foot down and do a blitz overtake or enjoy yourself through a quiet mountain pass, it does that really well! Understated, refined looks combined with impressive performance.
    *The Torque encourages responsible, law-abiding driving.

So in summary, is the GTI worth it? Starting at R545 800, which quickly starts to rise due to you wanting to tick-off a lot of exciting optional extras, the common consensus is that the GTI is expensive. However, when you have a product that’s this aspirational, that’s this good… wouldn’t you also charge a slight premium?

Likes:

  • Super sexy exterior styling with innovative full LED lights
  • Impressive performance delivered through one of the best automatic gearboxes out there
  • The auto handbrake, auto start-stop and front assist really aids city driving

Dislikes:

  • Even with a fancy electronic diff, the front wheels still struggle to handle all of that power. That said, the ESP is almost unnoticeable other than the flashing icon on your speedo.
  • You still have to opt-in for a lot of extras you would expect to come standard with a GTI


Do you own or regularly drive the new Volkswagen GTI? Tell SA what you love about your car by quickly rating it on The Torque. Register today!


WHAT IS ‘THE TORQUE’?

The Torque is an independent platform dedicated to car reviews. Instead of judging a car based on one or two people’s opinions, the Torque allows you to see what like-minded, real people, who actually own or regularly drive the cars have to say about them.

In addition, the Torque team shares their own ‘lifestyle orientated’ and easy-to-understand reviews on selected cars. Combining the two, gives one the ability to make a truly informed purchasing decision on what the best car for you is. After all, buying a car is a big decision! Register today and tell SA what you love about your car! 


DRIVER REVIEWS

Showing 1 of 1

Mthuthuzeli Mpiti

Overall rating:  

Date reviewed: July 30, 2017

...

Let me take you back and give you little bit of history , A team of 6 headed by gentleman man by the name of Anton Konrad who was head of press department than an engineer , VW didn't want Performance cars as they were under scrutiny of usuing "aggressive talk" while selling cars , but Mr Konrad believed in the GTI brand ,  i quote "I thought that it is possible to attract young drivers, get them closer to VW, with a car like the GTI, My idea was to come up with a car with more power. We wanted a category of car to attract young people, and also to attract private people and make them more interested in motor racing. Give the car all the genes that are necessary in motorsports,But the car had to be used in the city, on the autobahn and for leisure. It was also about private people using their own money to tune their car to their liking,Nobody could anticipate or foresee the success. It was a short car ‘nobody wanted’, and yet we have sold two million. My marketing department said we should only build 5,000 examples" “In the first year we sold 30,000, and by the end of the mk1 we had sold 420,000. Because it was a success story" Extract from TopGear interviewing Mr Anton Konrad at the celebration of 40yrs of Golf In Worthesee , Fast Foward Today over 40yrs and the Golf evolved to be spacious and family oriented and not only targeting young market,it is not only hatchback available in the market but it manages to capture all spheres in proportion and not only being good in 1 thing, you Got performance, you got Premium feel ,you got refined suspension all  thanks to the recipe of MQB platform ,you got practicality to use the car as a daily, VW is not popular in making Facelifts inbetween the Generations , market was changing rapidly and competitors doing Facelifts, VW had to also join the party and freshen up a car that is already excelling as a benchmark albeit the release of Golf 8 in the Future, its difficult to fault a car this good, when VW talked major Facelift i was not sure up until i met, drove and understood the car! 

 lets get to the interesting part, How does it drive: I was greeted with Tornado Red sexy Number rolling on 19inch  ekse,pure bliss


Generic:

Value
Safety
Exterior
Interior
Performance

Hatch Lifestyle:

City slicker
Boot/seat versatility
Entertainment
Still looking cool
Robot racer

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