2014 Volkswagen Golf GTI | road test

Posted on Mar 31, 2014 by
2014 Volkswagen Golf GTI
  • Editor Rating

  • Rated 4.5 stars
  • Outstanding
AEDAED 120,000 - 138,000
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  • Exterior
    Editor: 100%
  • Interior
    Editor: 90%
  • Quality
    Editor: 90%
  • Features
    Editor: 90%
  • Performance
    Editor: 90%
  • Value for money
    Editor: 100%

Review Summary:

The English language has evolved, so much so, that words like phat have replaced terms like cool; and ripped is no longer the condition of your favorite T-shirt, but instead an adjective that is associated with those brawny gym-going blokes. So using the English language as an analogy to express the transformation the GTI has gone through over the past 38 years, is more than appropriate. Because with power at exactly double what it was in the first generation German hot hatch and loyal fans increasing exponentially, the GTI hasn't gone through an evolution, but a revolution.

Pros

From a 2.0 litre engine, the kicks you get out of driving it are simply phenomenal.

Cons

The safety sensors were a bit too enthusiastic and quite a nuisance.

I had landed the keys to the 2014 Golf GTI and as I pondered about my latest weekend escapade, it hit me. To avoid the Abu Dhabi license plated GTI feeling homesick, I decided to venture out with a couple of friends and discover Lake Tilapia in Al Ain, after which it would be time to put the German hottie through its paces at Jebel Hafeet and then head back to civilization.

2014 Volkswagen Golf GTI front

From the beginning of the 370 kilometre road trip, the GTI was greeted with glances of appreciation and put a smile to many a faces that it passed, but can it be helped? With a striking Tornado Red paint job, stunning 19 inch alloys, red brake callipers and a salient roof spoiler, the GTI is an absolute head turner. Up front, the threatening visage is composed of a traditional honeycomb grille; Wolverine’s claws on the bumper and a red stripe that begins at the brand’s insignia and runs into the headlamp clusters. At the other end of the hot hatch sits smoked LED tail lamps that look like they’ve been embellished with Swarovski crystals and two chrome tipped exhaust pipes that I have aptly named Simon and Garfunkel, as a result of the heart racing symphonies they emit.

2014 Volkswagen Golf GTI rear side

With the Vienna leather wrapped sports driver’s seat holding me firmly in place, the thick flat-bottomed sports steering in my hands and brushed stainless steel pedals at my feet, I couldn’t help but feel that the GTI should come with its own warning message: happiness guaranteed. Making its sporting pretensions even more clear, the designers have chosen carbon fiber as the material to adorn the dashboard, door panels and centre console and quite frankly, it’s the perfect choice.

2014 Volkswagen Golf GTI steering

Once the sound system had been set properly and the GTI was akin to a moving discotheque, everyone wanted to be temporary DJ and play the latest and hippest of tunes for the trip. Thankfully, with an iPod connection, SD card slot and an extremely easy to use Bluetooth system that didn’t require an Engineering degree to operate, it was an absolute breeze.

2014 Volkswagen Golf GTI rear seat

I was almost certain that an hour into the road trip, my nitpicky buddies in the rear seats would be complaining about the lack of space and begging me to stop for a short break, but two whole hours later, and not a word was muttered about the space. With curiosity getting the better of me, I hopped into the rear seats when we completed the first leg of the trip and it all made sense. There were rear A/C vents, ample amounts of headroom and absolutely no shortage of leg space either, in fact, I’d say the leg space was on par with most C-segment sedans.

2014 Volkswagen Golf GTI headlamp

At the heart of the 2014 Golf GTI is a 2.0 litre turbocharged engine that whips out 220 horsepower and 350 Nm of torque, but numbers are only half the story. Because the GTI suffers from a split personality disorder; it can either sip just 6 litres of fuel for every 100 kilometers on the highway, or pin you to your seat and charge from 0 – 100 km/h in 6.5 seconds and continue all the way to 244 km/h – the choice is yours.

2014 Volkswagen Golf GTI gears

Fitted with a 6 speed dual clutch transmission, the GTI shifts cogs ridiculously quickly and almost makes you question if it possesses telepathic powers because it’s somehow always in the correct gear. Knock the gear lever to a lower position to activate Sports mode however, and the German hottie holds onto gears like a toddler would hold onto their mother on the first day of school. With the RPM needle rising and the turbocharger whining up front, it’s at 7,000 RPM that the GTI jolts into the next gear as Simon and Garfunkel emit the raspiest grunt possible. The drawback of such gearing, however, is quite clear when stuck in traffic, as the unwillingness of the GTI to shift into the next gear provides instant power at the cost of a smoother ride.

2014 Volkswagen Golf GTI front - 3

You’d be forgiven if you were to walk out of the GTI and check the front bumper for some fancy adhesive spraying mechanism, because the level of grip is simply mind boggling. If you’ve progressed from the hip crowd to the hip replacement crowd, you’re likely to find the suspension extremely hard, but head up a twisty mountain road like Jebel Hafeet and it all begins to make sense. With everyone buckled up, I put the GTI through its paces on the bends and although it remained planted, I was greeted with a predictable amount of understeer, enough to keep the ride exhilarating.

2014 Volkswagen Golf GTI RPM gauge

The sound of tires squealing, exhausts popping and a turbo whistling away is what resonated in the air as the GTI zoomed down the straights and carved through the bends, rising, rising and leaving me wanting more. The 42 kilogram weight loss over the previous model was more prominent now than ever before and with brakes measuring 312 x 25 mm at the front and 300 x 12 mm at the rear, instant stopping power was always just a tap away.

2014 Volkswagen Golf GTI badge

Once we broke away from the not so busy streets of Al Ain and made our way to the bustling streets of Dubai, a not so pleasant trait of the GTI emerged. The paranoid sensors located around the car would sound a buzzer if a bike zoomed past the side, or if an individual crossed the street, or simply if it thought you were standing too close to the car in front at a traffic signal. With my man points at stake, pulling the manual out and indulging in some afternoon reading was absolutely prohibited, and sadly, my ingenious idea of turning the volume up further to drown out the buzzer wasn’t successful either.

2014 Volkswagen Golf GTI front - 2

As I admired the sunset in my rear view mirror while the GTI parallel parked itself, my thoughts fluttered to the day that cognition got the better of me and I opted for a larger and more powerful full-size luxury sedan over the GTI. After just three days and 800 kilometers with the 2014 Volkswagen Golf GTI, I regret my decision more than ever before and wish I had a time machine so I could go back and do things a little differently. So just trust me when I say, close your eyes and follow your heart, because the GTI is a smile generating, heart pumping and seductive hot hatch that won’t disappoint.

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