I don’t know about you, but I’ve been feeling sorry for Volkswagen for a while now. VW didn’t so much lose their mojo as strap it to the nose of a Titan IVB and fire it into deep space. No disrespect to the world’s fifth most populous country, but was anyone really surprised when a VW Golf construído en Brazil turned out like bobo de camarao cooked in Lower Saxony? Now that Vee Dub’s got THAT out of their system, here comes the new, Wolfsburg-built Golf GTI. It’s an Old School hot hatch with a Masters in High Tech. Da lata!
. . .
Bottom line: you can blast the GTI through a bend almost twice as quickly as you’d imagine possible– at least at first. Once you get used to the GTI’s adhesive tenacity, once you accept the fact that the understeer slide justain’tgonnahappen.com, only the cleanliness of your license, children on board and the stupidity of fellow road users prevent you from endless adrenal indulgence. Although the GTI rides a bit like a proper sports car tied down with rubber bands, it’s comfortable enough to enable a daily fast.

The GTI’s combination of balls-out fun, affordability and everyday practicality made the original hot hatch a working class hero. In that sense, June’s four-door GTI will be the better– and better-looking– bet. And while there’s no question that the new GTI represents a welcome return to form for cash-strapped pistonheads, the jury is out on the reliability part of the practicality equation. If that’s an issue, I strongly recommend that you do NOT test drive the new Golf GTI DSG until AFTER you’ve read Consumer Reports.

Volkswagen Golf GTI DSG,” by Robert Farago, The Truth About Cars, April 6, 2006

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