Is the Golf GTI still the perfect all-rounder?
I was fortunate enough to obtain a ticket to the launch event for the Golf 8 GTI in South Africa, and here's what I have to say about it.
The Golf GTI, the car that comes to the minds of most when the words "hot-hatch" arise in conversation, the go-to choice for many car enthusiasts looking for both fun and sensibility, but can the new generation live up to its predecessors?
To celebrate the launch of the new Golf GTI, Volkswagen South Africa decided to take a fleet of them around the country to three different locations; Cape Town, Durban and Johannesburg, to star in launch events. In order to obtain tickets to the event, one would be required to get onto the leaderboard in the GTI 8 on Tour game which was available for Android and iOS. Once your time was set, you chose your location as well as time slot you could attend the event and you were good to go!
Leaderboard for the GTI 8 on Tour game
Volkswagen really went all out for this event, at the entrance you were greeted by two stunning Golf 8 GTIs surrounded by red lighting while standing to get your ticket checked. Once you entered into the event, there were numerous activities to partake in, such as the viewing of every generation of Golf GTI throughout the years, a Gymkhana experience with professional drivers, a racing simulator to virtually experience the Golf GTI and finally, my favourite, the 100m dash where visitors could drive the Golf GTI for themselves.
GTIs lining up to be hooned in the Gymkhana experience
The 100m dash was where I was able to experience the Golf 8 GTI first hand, I may have only got to drive it 100m and back, but that was all I needed to fall in love with the vehicle. The seats were comfortable, the interior was quite well laid out (which it doesn't seem to be in pictures), but most importantly, it was a joy to put all 180kw to the ground while vrrrrphha'ing down the 100m strip.
Vrrrphaa'ing down the 100m straight
When it comes to the exterior, the car is certainly a looker in person. The car has sharp yet elegant lines allowing the car to look sporty and not absolutely ridiculous. The new unibrow LED light linking the headlights of the car is a unique and very visually appealing feature giving the vehicle some character. This paired with the new honeycomb-styled fog lights allows for a distinctive eye-catching design that won't be missed when out on the roads.
She's quite the looker, isn't she?
The final verdict...
The Golf 8 GTI is powered by a 2.0l turbocharged petrol engine producing 180kw and 370Nm. This power is sent through a 7-speed dual-clutch transmission to the front wheels propelling the vehicle to 100 kph in a satisfying time of 6.4 seconds. So, the car has all the performance you could ever need on public roads, and enough to enjoy a Saturday out on the track. The car comes with all the comfort and convenience you need such as heated leather seats, a crisp digital driver's display, cruise control, wireless phone charging and keyless entry to name a few, but can always be further improved, if your wallet allows for it, through options such as upgraded 19" alloys, a panoramic roof, adaptive cruise control, a Harman Kardon sound system or LED matrix headlights, among other options.
The car is still practical, allowing for up to 4 additional passengers in the vehicle and can easily be used as a daily driver. As you can see, Volkswagen hasn't changed up the GTI formula, but rather further perfected it. During the short time I was able to experience the car, I may have not been able to learn all of the its quirks, but I can tell you one thing for sure, Volkswagen have nailed the hot-hatch once again.