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The 2014 Volkswagen Golf GTI. A Cool Hot Hatch

Indulge me for a bit while I elevate into a fictional stratosphere. Clark Kent is a boring person, self-righteous but uninteresting. When the facade drops and the kyrptonian takes over, all hell breaks loose. Defiant in the face of the opposition he decimates everything…but with a sense of morality. Unlike other super beings, he is always in control of himself.

Idiosyncrasies that I can’t help but relate to the Golf GTI we tested recently. Sensible, but once it gets its underpants in a wardrobe malfunction, the car is a force to reckon with. Decades of development have turned a new leaf in this cult classic. A distinct blend of practicality and pure dynamics has helped GTIs equate to 60% of all Golf sales in the region. This Seventh generation Golf (Mk7) has also won the coveted ‘World Car of The Year’ Award.

Volkswagen Golf GTI

Performance: Turbo All round – 8/10

The engine primarily sets the GTI apart from its stable mates. VW has been tinkering with the power plant since it first appeared in the Mk5. It is now 18% more fuel efficient, boasting a new cylinder head design, thermal management unit and variable valve timing. Let’s get some numbers to make sense of the above; 0-100 in 6.5, 2.0 TSI direct injection producing 220hp (10 more than the Mk6) from 4,500 – 6,200 rpm. Nevertheless, the real difference is in the torque output 350 Nm (70Nm more than the previous gen) available now from as low as 1, 500rpm. During our test drive, we never experienced the dreaded turbo lag. This can also be attributed to the 6-speed DSG gearbox. In the auto mode, the gear changes are seamless, taking advantage of the enhanced torque curve to optimize fuel consumption. In manual, however, it premeditates your intent, donning the cloak to make the masterpiece of an engine to give a flying punch all the way to the redline.  Sami Siddiqui noted this verve: Mesh the GTI signature race pedal, listen to the orchestral turbo sound gains as the rev needles’ rockets towards the redline. And at this epitome, change the gears via behind the steering-wheel paddle-shifters you will hear the little explosions behind as the DSG emulates just like you bang-shift a manual transmission!

In normal driving conditions, docile and compliant yet sporty suspension makes the GTI a real treat. Our cars 17” inch alloys wrapped in Dunlop Sport Maxx also let us exploit the car wild side with eminent understeer, albeit at the cost of some road noise. Most people would prefer the Austin 18’s but trust us less rubber = more fun in the wheels department.

 GTI

Bold Appearances – 7.5/10

We loved the Tornado Red exterior of our tester. It distinguishes the car from the dark and pastel shades, we see every now and then cluttering our roads. The color is vibrant, accentuating the sharp bi-xenon headlights housed in the dark shade along with LED running lights. Additionally, present is the end-to-end GTI signature appearance blood-line stripe right under the blackened grille and thru behind the headlight’s lens cover, showing off its intention. Same LED treatment in rear lights but highlighted with the back dual chrome tailpipes emitting that raspy exhaust note. However, the moment I feel in love was when I sat inside though, a place you’d like to spent more time, rather than looking from outside (it’s for the others do). As a base spec model, the legendary tartan pattern now called ‘Clark’ fabric seats offer good support. Sami Siddiqui’s diary expressed the dismay for the cloth shrouded interior at this price: the titanium color all fabric interior easily pick up the stains and embed the dust. From door cladding to arm rest, how long they’ll gonna sustain the brand-new  look! You’ll have to pay more for leather interior to increase the longevity, though it will eventually return in resale!

Nevertheless, the interior quality is exceptional, as expected. Ergonomically, everything in its right place, so that one doesn’t have to waste time to learn and remember.  GTI specific touches include an eye-catching  contrast red stitching all-round and a snazzy GTI logo flat-bottom sport steering wheel, red ambient lighting and polished sport pedals. A state-of-the-art cabin with touch screen multimedia center round off the practical 5 seater.

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Safety: Park n’ Ride – 8.5/10

The golf has class leading active and passive safety equipment. Our car also had the VW parallel park assist, including park distance control. Simply activate the system and the car spots the first suitable parking space to steer itself into the slot. Uncanny, initially you use it, but brilliant. All you need to do is modulate the brakes and the car takes care of everything else.

A Buyer’s Guide To The Galaxy 8/10

VW Golf GTI is the harbinger in “Hot Hatch “category.  Highly recommended as proven by my reluctance to hand back the keys. This GTI MK-7 raised the bar higher along with the pricing as well.  AED 115000-130000 fantastic value too as the customer knows the difference and his ideals between the similar priced larger VW Passat.

So as we started so shall we end? The GTI is the default hot hatch and like Superman an all-rounder. The darker more powerful Sirocco R on the other hand, is the one that would do the vigilante Batman justice. Unadulterated performance with an affinity of breaking the law. Keeping watching this space!!

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