It’s tough to view new choices just like the 2022 Volkswagen GTI as something however lame geese. VW has made it clear that, like nearly all of the trade, its future product pipeline will transition to electrical energy over the course of the approaching decade. Inner-combustion, fanatic choices like this one are formally endangered species, and automakers have few alternatives remaining to actually get them proper.
And whereas GTI followers could also be loyal, additionally they are usually persnickety. Even an automaker as giant as VW Group has finite sources, and using them is a zero-sum recreation. Electrification’s acquire is inner combustion’s loss, and area of interest merchandise just like the GTI typically get the brief finish of the stick. For those who really feel like I’m prepping you for dangerous information, properly …
However let’s begin with the nice, as a result of there’s loads of it. Volkswagen was amongst those that lengthy insisted that 200 horsepower was the affordable restrict for front-wheel drive. Advances in digital throttle management and torque apportionment have softened the corporate’s resolve. The 2022 GTI’s 241 hp and 273 pound-feet of torque really feel completely tame and satisfyingly potent. VW says it’ll do Zero-60 in underneath 5.four seconds with the dual-clutch computerized; our handbook check automotive on snow tires wasn’t an excellent candidate for testing straight-line velocity.
The brand new, MKVIII GTI’s fundamentals are extremely sound. The whole lot that connects the motive force to the highway is flawless. The steering is dialed in completely. The clutch and kit selector each have glorious weight and talk clearly. In typical GTI vogue, each the driving place and the help from the seat itself are glorious.
The powertrain is equally excellent. There’s loads of energy and minimal lag if you’re out of the meat of the torque curve. The throttle response is borderline telepathic. In per week of driving, I didn’t as soon as misjudge a blip. This, regardless of not driving a manual-transmission Golf or GTI (from this century) in years. It has simply that pure of a rhythm to fall into.
And if it had been a toy, this is able to be sufficient. However until you’re a cargo house fanatic, you’re shopping for a GTI as a result of it’s greater than a mere weekender. Not like a Miata, the GTI’s rear cargo space had no bother swallowing a three-piece wood child barrier, some art work, getaway luggage and different assorted sundries. That is the purpose of a GTI. It’s the enjoyable automotive you purchase when you may’t actually justify a really enjoyable automotive. I notice that appears like a back-handed praise, however consider me, it’s provided in good religion.
My Volkswagen appreciation goes again to my first automotive — a B4 Passat. It was additionally my final Volkswagen. After that monetary fiasco, I vowed to understand them from a distance, however I’ll be the primary to acknowledge that the GLI, GTI and the varied permutations of R have all the time represented the perfect all-around compromises of their respective classes. Not all the time probably the most enjoyable, not all the time probably the most sensible, however constantly a near-perfect stability between the 2.
By that measure, the brand new GTI falls brief, and never simply by slightly bit. For each satisfying “snick” of the shifter or blip of the throttle, there’s a corresponding annoyance. Take the infotainment system, which is gradual besides (assuming it does in any respect; that’s not assured) and firewalls nearly each operate behind a menu or app of some type. People who aren’t hidden behind the digital interface are small capacitive buttons and toggles, few of that are lit, that provide just about no suggestions, particularly when you have the audacity to put on gloves.
The adaptive cruise management is likewise finicky to make use of however blessedly straightforward to revert to “regular” cruise. With both, although, you’re nonetheless caught with 5 mph incremental velocity changes – there isn’t any choice to do 1 mph at a time. At the least that I can may discover – perhaps it is locked away in a type of menus. The one different model that involves thoughts that does that is Subaru.
We may extra simply take care of these shortcomings in a Miata, BRZ or GR86, however in a automotive that’s purported to be the front-wheel-drive Swiss Military Knife of fanatic transportation, this consumer expertise borders on unforgivable. A GTI is meant to be simply as rewarding to stay with as it’s to drive; this one fairly merely isn’t.
However VW lovers are die-hard, and the GTI’s drive could also be satisfying sufficient to sway those that can stay with its day-to-day shortcomings. In spite of everything, negotiating the model’s inherent German-ness has develop into second nature for its devoted followers. Those that are keen to stay with (or discover methods to work round) its unlucky quirks shall be rewarded by an expertise that defies the GTI’s humble front-wheel-drive commuter automotive roots.