2015 Volkswagen GTI 4-Door

Refined and practical sporty hatchback.

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  • VW GTI
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  • What's not to like?

Redesigned for 2015, the car that brought the hot-hatch genre to the US is still one of the most refined and well-rounded sporty hatchbacks you can buy.

With its smooth and virtually lag-free turbocharged engine, composed ride and quality interior, the seventh-generation Volkswagen GTI has a distinctly Audi-like feel. Hot-hatch purists, however, will be glad to note that the GTI is still available with its trademark plaid seats and golf ball shift knob. Volkswagen says the current model is the fastest, highest-performing GTI to date, thanks to the upgraded 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4 which now boasts 220 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque, up 51 from last year. An optional Performance Package, new for 2015, adds larger brakes and a mechanical limited-slip differential, which helps the GTI put down power faster when coming out of corners.

Acceleration is now strong throughout the rev-range, with the 2015 GTI able to go from 0-60 in 5.8 seconds. The 13.4 inch front/12.2 inch rear disc brakes that come with the Performance Package do an excellent job, stopping the GTI from 60 mph in a mere 100 feet. The GTI also posts good numbers in handling and skidpad grip tests. Steering is quick and immediate, the GTI's wheel having only 2.1 turns lock-to-lock. A programmable driving mode can adjust the amount of steering effort required; we found that in normal mode the effort was too light, while selecting sport mode increased the effort but didn't actually add much road feel. As with so many new cars, feedback through the steering wheel is dulled and muted by overzealous electric power assist. A competent car in every respect, the main shortcoming of the 2015 GTI as a sporty car is that it actually asks for too little from its driver.

The DSG twin-clutch automated transmission on our test car worked well during spirited driving, delivering fast, seamless shifts when using the paddle-shifters. However, like most twin-clutch units, it was not as smooth as a regular manual transmission when cruising slowly or in stop-and-go traffic.

Despite the dull steering, the GTI remains an excellent car, thanks to a responsive chassis, willing engine and impressively solid feel. But the real quality that sets the Volkswagen GTI apart from its competitors in the hot-hatch segment is refinement. There are faster and better-driving cars in this class, but none that has the GTI's combination of sportiness, practicality and luxury.

Warranty/Service: 3-year/36,000-mile new vehicle limited warranty; 5-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty;

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GTI 4-Door is featured on

Specs

Base Price: $29,095

As Tested: $29,095

  • 25 / 33 mpg
  • EPA
  • 5.8 sec
  • 0-60
  • 220 hp
  • Horsepower
  • 124 mph
  • Top Speed
  • Engine: 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4 with direct injection
  • Horsepower: 220 hp
  • Torque: 258
  • Transmission: 6-speed dual-clutch
  • Curb Weight: 3,088 lbs
  • Wheelbase: 103.6 in
  • Length: 168 in
  • Width: 70.5 in
  • Height: 56.8 in
  • Turning circle: 35.8 ft
  • Brakes: Front and rear vented disc with ABS
  • Suspension: Front MacPherson strut, rear multilink
  • Traction: Traction and stability control standard; not fully defeatable; sport mode
  • 0-60 mph: 5.8 sec
  • 60-0 mph: 100 ft.
  • Top Speed: 124 mph
  • EPA City: 25 mpg
  • EPA Highway: 33 mpg
  • Combined MPG: 28 mpg
  • Seating Capacity: 5
  • Safety: Front and front-side airbags, post-crash automatic braking

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