HD Road Test Review – 2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI Is Sophisticated But Trumped By New WRX

The GTI seems like a city car for people who actually want a BMW.

The tricky thing about the latest GTI is that it overlaps with the base BMW 228 and even the $33,000 320i sedan. This is a big problem for Volkswagen — but it is not the worst problem. The competitiveness of the 2015 WRX is definitely causing wrinkled foreheads in Wolfsburg.

The Subaru is now as refined as the GTI when cruising, but far more fun and much quicker at all times.

Bright red seems to be the GTI’s signature color. After driving the new GTI a bit in the below video, we warmed to its charms. Practical, mature and sophisticated — this really would have slammed any Subaru WRX of the past. The cabin is wide and quiet, but VW has some serious competition from the new Focus ST and supremely good WRX.

The one buyer group that will love the GTI are people who prefer an automatic versus a stick. The WRX automatic is dreadful versus the manual, and the Focus ST is only offered as a stick.

Our test car had the $1500 performance pack and the lighting package, also including DCC adjustable chassis and damper settings.

Total price for this model is near the top of the range at about $31,000. This seems rich, but the Focus ST with St2 or ST3 packages (Recaro’s, HID lighting, etc) is within $500.

Would you love driving the GTI every day? Of course. It is a rewarding and practical cult classic with handling and refinement that is very sophisticated.Car-Revs-Daily Nails Another USA First-Photos -- NEW BMW 228i M Sport in 36 High-Res Photos 21 Car-Revs-Daily Nails Another USA First-Photos -- NEW BMW 228i M Sport in 36 High-Res Photos 34Car-Revs-Daily.com Autocrosses the 2014 Ford Focus ST 20 Car-Revs-Daily.com Autocrosses the 2014 Ford Focus ST 222014 Honda Civic Si Sedan WHITE spinner gif1 2014 Honda Civic Si Sedan Looking FU Cool In 32 Real-Life Photos 6 2014 Honda Civic Si Sedan Looking FU Cool In 32 Real-Life Photos 23

Updated with 37 High-Res Photos - Track Review - 2015 Subaru WRX Automatic 16 Updated with 37 High-Res Photos - Track Review - 2015 Subaru WRX Automatic 3

But should you pick it over the BMW 228i or Subaru WRX? How about the Civic Si and Focus ST?

The GTI has a wider stance, better refinement and class-above appeal versus the Civic Si. That is for sure. The Focus ST is cool and very fun to drive fast, but the cabin is icky by comparison with the VW.

The Subaru WRX is now as refined as the VW on half-throttle, but much faster and sportier at full throttle. It is also AWD.

The BMW 228i is the most fun of the group, but easily the smallest and least practical in front and back and trunk. The 228i even offers an M Sport pack to look just like the $45,000 M235i. But it is $35,000 as equipped with the good seats and sporty exterior of the M Sport trim line.

From this driver’s perspective, a hot hatch comparison test would stack up like this:

1. BMW 228i

2. Subaru WRX


4. Ford Focus ST

5. Honda Civic Si

On the tech front, VW’s embarrassing lack of (any) USB ports in their cars appears to be solved with an iPhone 3 and iPhone 4 plug sticking out from beside the touchscreen.

One glitch tho? My iPhone 4S running iOS8 did not recognize anything as being plugged in.

So…. Perhaps might want to skip this optional feature.



The GTI has two main problems beside being late to the US market:

— The new GTI does not look new enough. For a car that literally is brand-new to the USA market, it takes a sharp eye to even notice it. Nor does the GTI look much better than a base 1.8TSI Golf model with the same LED lighting option pack. We shudder to think of how dull the GTI will look without the LED lights up front. Kindof sad. WRX has LED low-beams and LED accent as standard, dark wheels and better colors than the GTI’s six dull choices.

— The GTI just is not very cool.

Rational, sure.

Spookily competent at all things, all the time? Yes.

But you really wonder if it has the draw of anything with a BMW badge or the AWD turbo fanbase of the WRX. A nerdy/fast VW hatchback just seems like a tired and 100-year-old idea with styling to match, but ambitious pricing thrown in for free.

And iPhone jacks that do not work.

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The new GTI is at dealers nationwide in two and four-door guises — with pricing from $25k for both. Available Performance Pack and Lighting Packs add a few thousand to the total, with the four-door our pick!



2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI


2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI 3 2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI 2



2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI 1

 2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI Review

Golf GTI

2.0T 2-Door

$24,395* Starting MSRP

34* Hwy

25 City


Golf GTI

2.0T 4-Door

$24,995* Starting MSRP
34* Hwy
25 City

View Trims

2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI


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The latest Golf GTI adds more standard equipment and exciting new optional features

  • Seventh-generation Golf GTI is bigger, lighter, faster, and more fuel-efficient

  • Price rises just $195 over previous-generation GTI, despite more standard equipment and an increase of 10 horsepower and 51 pound-feet of torque from new EA888 TSI® engine

  • Golf GTI Performance Package provides a great value at just $1495, includes electronically-controlled torque-sensing limited-slip differential

  • Dynamic Chassis Control (DCC) adaptive damping to be offered as an option for the first time in the U.S.


New York  – Today, Volkswagen of America, Inc., announced pricing of the 2015 Golf GTI models. The entry-level S trim starts at $24,395 (plus $820 destination and handling) in two-door form with a six-speed manual transmission, an increase of just $195 over the base price of the previous-generation two-door GTI. Compared with the previous GTI, the all-new 2015 Golf GTI adds the following features as standard equipment:

  • Latest EA888 turbocharged and direct-injection TSI® engine offering 210 horsepower (up 10 hp) and 258 pound-feet of torque (an increase of 51 lb-ft)

  • Driving mode selection feature

  • VW Car-Net® connected services

  • Touchscreen radio

  • Leather-wrapped multifunction steering wheel

  • Ambient and footwell lighting with LED reading lights

  • LED foglights

The 2015 Golf GTI will be offered in two other trim levels: SE and Autobahn. The SE model starts at $27,395 for the two-door model equipped with a manual transmission. The Autobahn model is available only in four-door form, starting at $29,595 when equipped with the manual transmission. A six-speed DSG® dual-clutch automatic is available as an $1100 option on all Golf GTI models.

Later in the year, Volkswagen will be offering the Performance Package, which includes larger brakes, a torque-sensing electronically-controlled limited-slip differential, and a 10 horsepower boost over the regular GTI, all for just $1495. The Dynamic Chassis Control (DCC) adaptive damping system will also be available later in the 2015 model year on the SE and Autobahn models with the Performance Package.

The seventh-generation Volkswagen Golf GTI manages to do the seemingly impossible. While it’s bigger and more spacious than the car that it will replace, it’s also lighter and more fuel-efficient. Volkswagen is predicting that the EPA estimated highway fuel economy rating will improve by three miles per gallon, to 34 mpg, for the model equipped with the manual transmission. Based on the new MQB (modular transverse matrix) architecture, the 2015 Golf GTI ends the cycle whereby new versions of a car end up heavier than the models they replace.

The 2015 Golf GTI is 2.2 inches longer and 0.5 inches wider than the current car. It is also 1.1 inches lower, which benefits both aerodynamic performance and the car’s proportions. The interior package has been optimized to give 0.6 inches more rear-seat legroom and 1.2 inches of additional shoulder room in the back. The trunk is approximately 10 percent larger than in the car it replaces.

The seventh-generation Golf GTI will go on sale as a 2015 model in June. It will be built at Volkswagen’s Puebla, Mexico factory.


The Golf GTI S features the following standard equipment: 210-hp 2.0-liter TSI engine; 18-inch aluminum-alloy wheels; Bluetooth® connectivity; a touchscreen radio; Sirius XM® Satellite radio; a Media Device Interface (MDI) with iPod® integration; a leather-wrapped multifunction steering wheel, handbrake, and shifter knob; VW Car-Net® connected services; ambient and footwell lighting with LED reading lights; cloth sport seats with heritage GTI design; LED foglights; heatable front seats; and a new driving mode selection feature. The two-door GTI S with a manual transmission is priced from $24,395.

The Performance Package becomes available later in the model year on all trims, and includes: larger front and rear brakes, a torque-sensing electronically-controlled limited-slip differential, and a 10 horsepower boost over the regular GTI, for $1495.

A Lighting Package is available for $995 and adds Bi-Xenon headlights with LED daytime running lights and the Adaptive Front-lighting System. The $695 Driver Assistance Package adds a front collision warning system and front and rear Park Distance Control. The six-speed DSG transmission is available as an $1100 option.


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The SE starts at $27,395 for the two-door manual transmission model. It adds the following standard equipment: a power tilt and slide sunroof; Keyless access with push-button start; a rearview camera; automatic headlights; rain-sensing windshield wipers; the Fender® Premium Audio System; and leather seating surfaces. The Performance Package will be available later in the model year with the Dynamic Chassis Control (DCC) adaptive damping system for an additional $800 at this trim level.

GTI Autobahn

The Autobahn is only available as a four-door model, priced from $29,595 with the manual transmission. This adds navigation, a 12-way power driver’s seat, and automatic air conditioning to the list of standard equipment on the SE.

About Volkswagen of America, Inc.

Founded in 1955, Volkswagen of America, Inc., an operating unit of Volkswagen Group of America, Inc., (VWoA) is headquartered in Herndon, Virginia. It is a subsidiary of Volkswagen AG, headquartered in Wolfsburg, Germany. VWoA’s operations in the United States include research and development, parts and vehicle processing, parts distribution centers, sales, marketing and service offices, financial service centers, and its state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in Chattanooga, Tennessee. The Volkswagen Group is one of the world’s largest producers of passenger cars and Europe’s largest automaker. VWoA sells the Beetle, Beetle Convertible, Eos, Golf, GTI, Jetta, Jetta SportWagen, Passat, CC, Tiguan, and Touareg vehicles through approximately 640 independent U.S. dealers. Visit Volkswagen of America online at www.vw.com or media.vw.com to learn more.


This press release and images of the 2015 Golf GTI are available at media.vw.com. Follow us @VWNews

“DSG”, “TSI”, “VW”, “Volkswagen”, all model names and the Volkswagen logo are registered trademarks of Volkswagen AG. “Car-Net” is a registered trademark of Volkswagen Group of America, Inc. “Bluetooth” is a registered trademark of Bluetooth SIG, Inc. “iPod” is a registered trademark of Apple, Inc. “Fender” is a registered trademark of Fender Musical Instruments Corporation. “SiriusXM” and “SiriusXM Satellite Radio” are trademarks of SiriusXM Radio, Inc.

Features and technical data apply to models offered in the USA. They may differ in other countries.

All prices listed are the Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price and exclude transportation, taxes, title, options, and dealer charges.

Available EPA fuel economy estimates are provided and identified as such. All other fuel economy values are forecast manufacturer estimates for the USA; EPA estimates for those models were not available at time of release. Individual mileage will vary and depends on several factors including driving habits and vehicle condition.


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About The Author

Tom Burkart is the founder and managing editor of Car-Revs-Daily.com, an innovative and rapidly expanding automotive news magazine. He holds a Journalism JBA degree from the University of Wisconsin - Madison. Tom currently resides in Charleston, South Carolina with his two amazing dogs, Drake and Tank. Mr. Burkart is available for all questions and concerns by email Tom(at)car-revs-daily.com.