Volkswagen Golf

Our Volkswagen Golf GTI Edition 30 takes a break from life on the road to meet its race twin. We see how they compare

  • Performance: having covered 9,950 miles, our Edition 30’s 2.0-litre engine has loosened up, and feels stronger than ever.<br><br>Dials: they’re standard across the range, but the deep-set, blue-backlit dials look great.
  • Navigation: VW’s sat-nav is slow and the graphics are old-fashioned. And at £1,845, the optional set-up is poor value.<br><br>Badging: it’s a small point, but I’m not a fan of the Edition 30 decals on the dash and door sills.

My long-running love affair with the Volkswagen Golf GTI continues unabated. I’ve run our Edition 30 for six months now, and still adore it. However, this summer I got to drive a very different kind of performance Golf, and I took our long-term GTI along to meet it.

The standard Golf GT TSI uses a turbo and supercharger to make 168bhp from its 1.4-litre engine, but Volkswagen Racing has built this very special competition TSI. Power has increased to 230bhp – that’s the same as the Edition 30 – and when stripped of all luxuries, it’s 277kg lighter than our GTI.

So it’s no surprise that the TSI feels at least as quick in a straight line, and with its super-stiff race suspension and slick tyres, it’s faster in the corners, too. It also emits less CO2 and averages 16mpg when lapping, compared to the 11mpg of a race-prepared GTI. The track car highlights the potential of VW’s twin-charger technology to produce GTI power from a smaller engine, while at the same time bringing lower emissions and better economy. So could the TSI be seen under the bonnet of the next-generation GTI?

We’ll have to wait and see, but for now, the Edition 30 is the most powerful GTI available, and our car continues to impress with its unrivalled usability. While some hot hatch rivals – not to mention the TSI racer – are more involving, the GTI remains a delight to drive.

Every time I get back into OY56 ZVE, the lovely blue backlit dials, comfortable seats and tactile gearlever bring a smile, while the flexibility of the 2.0-litre engine means the performance is really accessible. And now, with 10,000 miles on the clock, everyone who has driven the GTI agrees the engine has loosened up and performance feels even brisker.

Economy has improved, too, and the 25.6mpg we’ve averaged is fairly respectable for a hot hatch. Our Golf has been reliable, too – there have been no negative comments about the Edition 30 from anyone who has taken the keys, which is an indication of what a great day-to-day car it is.

I can’t think of anything that has changed my opinion of the VW, and as I mentioned in our last report, my only criticisms – if you could call them that – are of the Edition 30’s appearance when compared to the standard GTI. The 18-inch alloy wheels make the ride a fraction firmer than the standard 17-inch rims, and I still don’t think the Edition 30 looks quite as good as the original.

Colour matching the bumpers and side sills means you lose the black sections which seem to highlight the standard car’s detailing. As a result, our Golf has a bit of an ‘aftermarket’ feel.

Still, once I’d finished racing the TSI, getting back into the GTI to drive home was a pleasure.

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