2010 Golf GTI Launch

Tim O'Brien | 28 Comments

VOLKSWAGEN AUSTRALIA has at last unleashed the latest in a long line of performance hatches, the 2010 Volkswagen Golf 6 GTI.

Styling

If it has an Achilles heel, it might be that the new GTI’s styling is perhaps a little tame. It has lost the deep distinguishing grille of its predecessor, and now, though sublimely styled, shares more in common with its Golf-badged stablemates.

The grille, rimmed by red highlights top and bottom, is a nod to tradition and a return to the discrete styling of the original GTI’s red-framed blacked-out grille.

Unique to the new GTI is a deep, wide and aggressive lower air intake framed by neat vertical fog lights. This accentuates the width of the nose and the ‘low to the ground’ stance of the new car.

Lower by 22mm at the front and 15mm at the rear, sitting on fat guards-filling 17-inch alloys (or the optional 18-inch sports wheels), with side skirts, rear diffuser, neat integrated rear spoiler and wide-mounted twin pipes, there is no mistaking its performance intent.

Whatever the views about the styling (some will prefer its understatement, some won’t), Volkswagen’s new road warrior has an athletic and purposeful presence on the road.

Interior

Inside, besides deeply contoured sports buckets and their trademark GTI-tartan inserts, the new model GTI has the same appealing style and super fit and finish of the Golf range.

It is still mostly black on black, with few visual highlights, but there are no complaints with this work bench. As a colleague on the drive commented, “What is there not to like?”

The ergonomics are improved in the new car over the old ‘series 5’ GTI. It is now easier to ‘get set’ at the wheel. Fully adjustable for reach and rake, the steering wheel can now be set lower than in the previous model and the gear-shift falls a little better to hand.

It’s incremental, we’re talking minor adjustments here, but it’s the little things that make the difference when hard at work at the wheel.

Large twin dials – speedo and tacho - under a neat binnacle, multi-function flat-bottomed sports steering wheel and with all controls neatly centred, the studied understatement of the GTI’s exterior lines carry over to the styling of the interior. It works well, it’s a testament to Teutonic attention to detail and to function guiding form, and is simply a nice place to be.

Those deep buckets, whether trimmed in the optional black leather or with the standard dark tartan, proved comfortable and supportive, even when throwing the GTI over one of Victoria’s most challenging alpine roads.

The five-door offers good seating and legroom for four adults, and there is good access to the rear seats in the three door through the wide-opening doors.

Equipment and Features

There are also few complaints about the standard features list of the new GTI.

With dual-zone climate control, air-conditioning, six-disc CD changer with touchscreen, MP3 compatible SD card slot (Bluetooth optional), eight speaker sound system and with Aux-in jack, the GTI comes with ample creature comforts.

It also comes with seven airbags: driver and passenger front and side airbags, driver’s knee airbag and curtain airbags front and rear. Below, there is ABS braking, stability control, brake assist and electronic brake pressure distribution.

There are other premium touches like heat-insulating tinted glass, low-tyre-pressure indicator, dust and pollen filters, halogen headlamps, footwell illumination and height-adjustable front and rear head-restraints.

Pedals – brake, clutch and accelerator - are aluminium finished. Don’t go looking for a full-size spare; instead, in the interest of weight saving (and in saving scarce resources) the GTI comes with a space-saver spare.

Mechanical Package

Both power and torque are up in the new model: maximum power of 155kW is available from 5300–6200rpm. Maximum torque of 280Nm is available across an astonishingly wide 1700–5200rpm.

What those wide power and torque bands do, in practical terms, is give the GTI enormous tractability.

The lusty torque figure is a result of the long stroke (undersquare) configuration of the 2.0 litre DOHC turbo-charged four-pot up front. With an 82.5mm bore and 92.8mm stroke, and linear turbo delivery, the GTI has torque numbers approaching diesel territory.

At the wheel you can feel it. The GTI will pull readily even from taller gears, and when being rowed along through either of the six-speed boxes, spears effortlessly from apex to apex.

Interestingly, the new car achieves the higher power and torque figures from a diet of 95RON (whereas the old needed the more expensive 98RON).

Transmission choice is either the six-speed manual or six-speed twin-clutch DSG. The manual is a delight to use, the DSG equally so. They are separated by $2500 – that’s the price for the techno-wizardry bound into Volkswagen’s now proven twin-clutch system.

With seamless rapid-fire sequential shifts via the paddles at the wheel or the lever at the centre console, the DSG may be the quicker car on a mountain pass, but the feel of the manual and the nicely spaced ratios takes some tossing for enjoyment.

Volkswagen claims fuel consumption figures of 10.4 l/100km and 10.2 l/100km for city driving, 6.2 l/100km and 6.1 l/100km for the highway cycle. In a long performance run, we had no chance to sensibly check either claimed figure.

While the original 1976 Golf GTI managed the 0–100km/h sprint in 9.2seconds, the claimed sprint for the 2010 GTI is 6.9 seconds. This isn’t at the top of the class, after all, the GTI is giving away kilowatts to others in the segment, but its nimble handling and overall balance is.

And the way it gets the power to the road, and can hold it there, means that every kilowatt and Newton metre can be used to its fullest value. In anyone’s language, the GTI is a very, very quick car.

The secret to the new GTI’s quite astonishing balance and grip is in its XDL differential, or Extended Electronic Differential Lock. It is extraordinary technology that simply works.

The XDL system reacts to ‘load’ rather than loss of traction, instantaneously feeding power to the wheel where load forces are increasing. From the wheel, from the first moment you get in ‘hot’ to a corner, the improved traction and feel is immediately apparent.

With the XDL, the GTI shows no tendency to want to run wide; understeer (and torque steer for that matter) is all-but banished. Instead, turn-in is razor sharp, and you can hold power – and road speed – through the apex without the car pulling wide on exit.

Also assisting things is the Adaptive Chassis Control, which, via a button on the centre console allows selection between three damper settings: Sport, Normal or Comfort modes. I sometimes struggle to pick the handling difference with similar systems. Not so with the new GTI. In Sport mode, things are palpably sharpened at the wheel, the ride firmer and cornering flatter.

Down below, things are conventional enough with MacPherson struts with lower A-arms and anti-roll bar up front, and an independent four-link set-up with coil springs and anti-roll bar at the rear. Steering is electro-mechanical power assisted rack and pinion.

The brake system comes with ABS, EBD and Brake Assist, and with ventilated discs front and rear. (Despite something approaching a hammering – certainly beyond what the brakes would be subjected to in normal duties - they performed flawlessly in both cars we drove.)

Lastly, tipping the scales at 1360kg for the manual and 1380kg for the DSG, the GTI, while no shrinking lightweight, is not overburdened by excess ballast taking the edge off things.

Pricing

  • 2010 Volkswagen Golf 6 GTI 2.0 Litre TSI 155kW 3 door 6-speed manual $38,990
  • 2010 Volkswagen Golf 6 GTI 2.0 Litre TSI 155kW 3 door 6-speed DSG $41,490
  • 2010 Volkswagen Golf 6 GTI 2.0 Litre TSI 155kW 5 door 6-speed manual $40,490
  • 2010 Volkswagen Golf 6 GTI 2.0 Litre TSI 155kW 5 door 6-speed DSG $42,990

Filed under: Volkswagen, review, volkswagen golf, petrol, hot hatch, volkswagen golf gti, hatch, fwd, performance, turbo, volkswagen gti, lifestyle, volkswagen golf 6 gti, family, enthusiast, 4cyl, 5door, 3door, tim o'brien

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  • Kenza says,
    5 years ago
    OMFG, this car is seriously hot... it ticks all the boxes.
    1) its sexy
    2) the chassis is simply magnificent
    3) good power output.
    4) price
    5) the interior is mint (though looks very old-ish)
    great review guys. keep it up!
  • Jeff says,
    5 years ago
    Brilliant car, classically styled I love everything about it. I mean even the old Golf GTI still looks modern than most cars on the road and they never seem to do that now look that dates very quickly.
  • WOB-GTI says,
    5 years ago
    Thank you for building up the excitement to the GTI Driving Academy I will be attending early next week!
  • Bo says,
    5 years ago
    I guess there must be an option for leather upholstery, but will xenon headlights be there as well, but then the price won't be sharp anymore...
  • demonaz says,
    5 years ago
    I still prefer a MY09 WRX over this. AWD and 195 kW is too much of an enticement.

    Not bad though, but once you tick a few boxes for DSG, leather, the 18 inch alloys (shown in pics above) the price will be nudging at 50k easy.
  • Grumps says,
    5 years ago
    1 like
    I hate reading reviews like this because it gets me depressed sad

    Maybe a miracle will happen and a stranger will give me a suitcase with $45k in it. Sigh.
  • paddy says,
    5 years ago
    I didn't even get a chance to SEE it before they all sold out... sob sob sob (Talking NZ here)
  • R8 says,
    5 years ago
    This is almost a perfect hot hatch. Some features that will make it even better are:
    1) LED head/tail lights (as found on the new Audi A4)
    2) The driver's seat is too long and lacks rake settings. It is uncomfortable for people with short legs like myself.
    3)
  • Do Mah says,
    5 years ago
    Ugly interior, ugly wheels, ugly car, slow turbo, only thing good about it is the steering wheel.
  • WOB-GTI says,
    5 years ago
    Not ricey enough for you, then? :P
  • MrQuick says,
    5 years ago
    7.7L/100km for the manual?

    seriously?

    Thats brilliant, god, buy the manual, with those awesome spartan seats, and its only 39 grand.

    That is really getting awfully close to being the perfect hot hatch.

    Sweet review too guys.
  • John says,
    5 years ago
    An XR5 will easily outrun it
  • JML says,
    5 years ago
    A mate and I test drove a MkV demo a while back and neither of us could figure out what all the fuss is about with the GTi. The general feeling was that while other cars in the segment have clear strengths and flaws, the GTi does everything 'well', but nothing 'brilliantly'. It's no wonder that the majority of GTi drivers I see are chicks. A very average drive and average experience. I'll have a WRX, a Megane, or an XR5 over this any day.
  • John says,
    5 years ago
    XR5 all the way. they also beat WRX's. dunno about Meganes never been up against one.
  • Skodite says,
    5 years ago
    Has TMR left any superalitives for the Golf R ?
  • Jess says,
    5 years ago
    How does the quality of the Mk VI GTI compared to the German built XR5? Because my German built Fiesta XR4 was really poor when it came to build quality, that's the main reason I sold it.
  • John says,
    5 years ago
    Jess: the xr4 is a $25k car, and despite being built in germany, there's only so much can they can do for that price.

    Id say the new GTI's quality would be better than the XR5's simply because its VW compared to ford. however in my XR5, quality is excellent. In fact i have litterally 0 complaints (apart from maybe lack of cruise controll) about my XR5. performance: check, looks: check, practicality: check, value for money: check check, fun to drive: check check check check.
  • Dave says,
    5 years ago
    VW = 21st
    Ford = 16th

    2009 Consumer Reports Annual Car Reliability Survey
  • John says,
    5 years ago
    Dave: learn to read. the surveys american. completly different to australia in terms of cars offered, and reliability.

    Also, ever sat in a Mk V GTI? Much better quality than a XR5 (and i own a XR5).
  • Dave says,
    5 years ago
    Thanks John, however I didnt ever state this was an Australian survey. Draw from my post what you will, however until you can show me an australian survey with differing results I reckon the survey is still a great indicator of manufacturer build quality and reliability. Its certainly a more scientific approach that sitting in the car. Granted - 1.4 million owners may be wrong........
  • John says,
    5 years ago
    Hi Dave,

    Thanks for your inspiring post.

    How could you compare ford america with ford australia?
    Look at americas 2009 focus, then compare it to ours.

    Yeah your totally right, looking at an american survey completed by a bunch of americans who know very little about our cars and their quality, is so much better than driving both an XR5 and Mk V GTI and giving my unbiased opinion of which is better quality.

    Also, most of the cars from that list are built in different factories when sold in australia and america. thats the big problem.
  • Lindsay says,
    5 years ago
    "Driving the GTI hard is a wholly visceral experience which, at the price, simply wallops its closest competitors."

    The DSG is a step up from a standard slushbox, not a manual. As an engineer the concept makes me wet, but it doesn't make the experience more "visceral" at all.

    "the GTI is going to have Mitsubishi and Subaru chewing their pillows"

    Ummmmm...
  • rajman says,
    5 years ago
    1 like
    Great review, thanks heaps! I was in for the drive experience, but can't get to Sydney for it sad enjoy it WOB-GTI!!! I love so much about this car, it's the next choice. I don't care too how many people bag this out for speed or performance or looks, this has extreme character - a real premium vehicle without the price tag. So glad the traditions are there for the MK1, will be sticking to a white paint job with tartan cloth...keep some history alive smile
  • timetaker says,
    5 years ago
    I agree with JML's comment. It rings so true!
    Yes the majority of GTI drivers seem to be female but I believe it's because of the DSG option.The rest is made up of pompous males.
    When I test drove the MKV I had the same feeling of "What's all the fuss about"?.The acceleration was ok the handling was ok the suspension also ok,so I was left wondering with what impression has it left me interms of it's performance as a 'Hot" hatch unfortunately...nothing special .It's a good all rounder but really nothing outstanding compared to other hot hatches.
    This MKVI seems to do things a little better than the MKV GTI.
  • Do Mah says,
    5 years ago
    Fugly, plain, boring.

    The car is so heavy. Turbo is weak.

    Looks good in pictures, but looks boring after 2 hours.
  • thomas says,
    5 years ago
    Golf was World car of the year. GTi is that much better. Yeah but it's boring, ugly and heavy. Standards for build quality, Ward's 10 best engine list 7+ years running, great fuel economy...etc.
  • ryan says,
    5 years ago
    I cant understand how you can compare a car with over 40yrs of pedigree with other hot hatches on the market(xr5-1970's???). plus volkswagon stands for the peoples car remember, easy to own own, easy to drive, easy to enjoy. And for all you wrx's luva's out there if it wasnt for vw, your little ''boxer'' or wesser-boxer motor wouldn't exist.
  • 668475019
    Jake02 says,
    4 years ago
    1 like
    As a VWAG owner, there's an expectation that I like this car, but I don't. VW took no risks with the Mk VI Golf, especially compared to the Mk V. The exterior is almost the same (shape is the same, just detail changes) and the interior is the same layout, just with different details, and I suppose that's how VW classifies this as a new car (as with most new VWs). For me, it's too expensive. The price is competitive with other hot-hatches, but the equipment levels are rubbish. You get little more than a Golf 118TSI/103TDI (wheels, suspension, engine, foglights, sports details) but not, say, parking sensors or the Dynaudio sound system (which suits the GTI's doof doof image).

    I would definitely prefer some other hot hatch cars, like the Focus XR5, 3 MPS, Megane RS (only the new one though...) and all the other hot hatches out there, as well as other sporty cars in that price range, like the Octavia RS (which I bought over a GTI...) and Mondeo XR5. All are much better value, offer the same quality, better equipment levels, a similar drive and MUCH better value compared to a GTI.

    If you're looking at buying a GTI, for God's sake look at every other sporty thing in the $40-50k bracket and then decide.

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