Golf GTI review by Top Gear

The Mark VI incarnation of the Volkswagen Golf GTI is a gentle, skilful evolution of the Mark V. Meaning that what was the best hot hatch on the market has just got gently, skilfully better. This is definitive blend of performance and practicality.

  • Comfort

    The latest Golf, in any guise, is unusually refined. Thicker glass and better sound proofing have made it remarkably quiet at speed, while the adaptive chassis on the GTI means that you can turn off the harder focus of suspension and steering as and when you want to take it easy.

    Rated 8 out of 10
  • Performance

    With a few extra horsepower and more readily available torque, the latest GTI provides more than enough grunt for the public road. It may lose ground to the Focus RS on paper, but in the real world, in normal hands, this is a properly quick car.

    Rated 9 out of 10
  • Cool

    The GTI used to be all about understatement, the sort of effortless cool that we all ought to be aspiring to. It's gone a bit flash in its sixth evolution, but is still a handmade brogue compared to the day glow trainer that is the Focus RS.

    Rated 7 out of 10
  • Quality

    It's a Volkswagen, and a posh one at that. With that in mind you can rest assured the quality of materials and fit and finish are all superb. Mechanical reliability ought to be top notch too, so there's nothing to worry about here.

    Rated 8 out of 10
  • Handling

    For the first time, Volkswagen has put a limited slip differential on to the GTI's front drive set-up, maximising traction for those few extra horses. Combined with the adaptive chassis and a communicative and linear steering set-up, it corners with assurance and changes direction with remarkable stability.

    Rated 9 out of 10
  • Practicality

    Available in three or five door body shapes with an uncompromised and comfortable interior and big, easily accessible boot space, this is the definition of a practical modern hatchback. It just so happens to also be shit-off-a-shovel fast.

    Rated 9 out of 10
  • Running costs

    Depreciation on the new GTI might be increased by the sheer number you can expect to see around in the coming few years, but residuals will be stronger than many a hot hatch. Meanwhile day-to-day running will be manageable thanks to VW's comparatively frugal 2.0-litre TFSI engine and modest(ish) emissions.

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