I was up in the Bay Area for my dad’s surgery. I was assigned with the family uber driver for 4 days and luckily I picked up a 2015 VW 4-door GTi at National’s Executive Selection at SFO. It wasn’t a hard choice to pick between a Kia Sedona or VW GTI. It has been a while since I have driven a good FWD sports car (Mk2 Audi TT), and this car has shown how much technology has improved to make front drivers fun and potent.
(Disclaimer: this rental had about 8000 hard rental miles with heavily curbed wheels and one tire bubble on those rubber band Pirelli Cinturato P7s which gave the car a horrible tire noise at 70 mph)
Several years ago if you wanted a 4 door GTI you would have to buy an Audi A3 Sportback. However Americans are not a big fan of luxury hatchback so Audi did away with the Sportback and gave us the A3 sedan and fool us with the taller shoed Q3. With Audi out of the picture the MkVII GTI 4-door hatchback is back and it’s better than ever.
Features & Comfort:
- This was a base S model came standard with Bluetooth with streaming and CD/SD card reader in the glove box. Plenty of empty SD card slots in the glove box too.
- LED interior lighting has a modern touch but not enough light output. Don’t depend on it if you dropped your phone on the floor
- 4 door hatchback is very practical and you can fit a baby seat and put a 6-ft tall passenger in front
- Those plaid seats looks awesome and very supportive.
- Flat bottom steering wheel looks cool but it’s big and buttons are oddly placed.
- AC system is very weak.
- Touchscreen system is easy to use and less annoying that Audi MMI systems.
- Overall interior quality is superb and just few layer of sound insulation away from Audi standard.
- ZERO torque steer! XDS+ Cross Differential System uses ABS system to mimic LSD function and worked very well in all conditions.
- Mid-range power is plentiful with the 258ft-lbs of torque. However power drops on the top end.
- Exhaust tone is throaty and it reminds me of the TT.
- DSG is quick and responsive or you can drive it in S mode all day.
- You can have fun in the canyons then go back to Trader Joes and load up with groceries before picking up your kid from daycare.
This is a tough one depending on trim levels. In this mid to high 20k market. You have plenty of great cars to choose from. We have FRS/BRZ duo for RWD, WRX for AWD, and Mustang EcoBoost if you feel like playing Team America soundtrack. However if you can only have one car that does everything then this GTI is the better choice. The 4 door hatchback factor is unbeatable. The overall fit and finish will not remind you that you have a big engine econobox (cue the Lancer Evo here). You might say Ford Focus ST is in the same class but Ford also made a cheaper Fiesta ST which is much more fun for less. When you drive a GTI other car enthusiast throw thumbs up your way and cyclists in the canyons will think you are one of them if mount an empty bike rack over the hatch. I say get the S trim in black just like this one.