Driven: 2020 VW Golf GTi

What a hoot! The 2020 Golf GTi S | Rebecca Nguyen photograph

From the time I used to be a baby, a stage my ex-wife will inform you I by no means outgrew, I obtained to see, and really recognize many varieties of racing. One which was significantly enjoyable to observe was SCCA Showroom Inventory C from 1979-1981. It featured Volkswagen Rabbits, and later these had been succeeded by Mazda Miatas and Dodge Neons.

There was banging and bumping, and door handle-to-door deal with racing as these “waskily wabbits” went round corners on three wheels. Common in Europe for half a decade prior, and recognized there because the “Golf,” the Rabbit, because it was marketed within the US, would turn into the weekend warrior’s alternative to go racing with loads of pleasure — and with out loads of value, nicely, apart from the post-race bodywork.

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Forty-some years later, I’ve the chance to spend per week with the 2020 Volkswagen Golf GTi S and it put a smile on my face similar to after I was a child watching these showroom inventory races.

Impressed by these races, I even obtained an opportunity to place the automotive via its paces within the Phoenix-area mountains and on the West Course on the Bondurant School of High Performance Driving at Wild Horse Go.

Was a enjoyable playdate with Formulation Four driver, Josh Sarchet. Extra on that in an upcoming story.

It’s straightforward to say this automotive would blow the doorways off these late ‘70s hatchbacks for positive.

Entrance-wheel drive isn’t my first selection for spirited driving. The dynamic is way completely different. With rear wheel drive, the automotive can oversteer properly via corners — assume drifting with no tire smoke.

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That stated, even working an errand to the nook retailer within the GTi, the temptation to slice via the six-speed guide gearbox, late-brake and apex the corners within the workplace park on my method, was overwhelming.

The two.0-liter turbocharged DOHC, 228 horsepower four-cylinder engine within the GTi S has loads of pep. The electromechanical steering feels mild — that’s till you turn from regular to sport mode. Then the automotive turns into much more settled and the steering suggestions turns into heavier.

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For the budding household, as a grocery getter and each day commuter, there’s loads of room for the children within the again and Mother and Dad up entrance. As a result of it’s a four-door hatchback with rear folding seats, it definitely can do mild obligation for hauling a myriad of issues and is accessible for passengers. Even so, with the rear seats up, there’s first rate storage. It will get 32 mpg on the freeway which additionally makes it good for weekend jaunts.

However at its core, it is a responsive automotive that may get out of its personal method, which can also be essential with a younger household on the highway.

The inside is nicely laid out and my tester featured enticing “Clark Plaid” fabric seats – one thing I at all times favored on German vehicles. Porsche additionally has had choices like this. The shifter knob, which regarded like a golf ball, was a delicate, but cool contact.

For what is basically a compact, this automotive feels extra like a midsize with first rate legroom within the again and a roomy cockpit. The seats are snug and the six-way adjustability, together with a telescoping steering wheel, may be configured to excellent driving positions. The 6-airbag and Clever Crash Response techniques has given this automotive a authorities five-star security ranking.

OK, that’s good. Drop the spouse and children off and go be “boy racer” for a bit. It was time to see what all these years of improvement can do. To say the least, it was spectacular.

Over at Bondurant on the 15-corner, 1.5-mile observe, the Golf GTi was in its factor. The steadiness and stability of the automotive would give any novice driver confidence. Being front-wheel drive, the automotive tends to understeer underneath acceleration via a good reducing radius nook, however in my expertise, nothing that will be thought of hazardous – only a little bit of “FWD push.”

This V-Dub is a really good dealing with automotive. Whereas I prefer to really feel the automotive, it ought to be famous that I don’t drive check vehicles any greater than 70%, so I used to be not setting any lap information. However I can inform you, as secure and straightforward as this automotive is to drive, it could be a enjoyable for an outing to the SCCA Track Night in America or a NASA HPDE event.

It went the place I pointed it on the sporty, tight circuit. On the exit of the tight left hander that results in the again straight, it was straightforward to brake and switch in late with out shaving an excessive amount of momentum because it hustled up the quarter-mile straight with very good, immediate acceleration as much as the subsequent 90 diploma left hander. The large vented brakes had been good for “throwing out the anchor” The automotive was simply plain enjoyable!

General, I discovered the 2020 VW Golf GTi to be as sensible because it was enjoyable. It actually did convey again some pleased childhood reminiscences.

For underneath $30,000, this automotive is undoubtedly the very best in school.

2020 Volkswagen Golf GTi S
Car kind: 4-passenger four-door hatchback, Entrance wheel drive
Base value: $328,595 Worth as examined: $29,515
Engine: 2.0-liter 16-valve DOHC turbocharged 4-cylionder, 228 horsepower @ 4,700 rpm, 258 pound-feet of torque @ 1,500 rpm Transmission: 6-speed guide
Wheelbase: 103.6 inches General size/width: 168 inches / 70.8
Curb weight: 3,062 kilos
EPA mileage estimates: 24 metropolis / 32 freeway / 24 mixed
Assembled in: Puebla, Mexico
For extra info go to the Volkswagen website

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