A car as flashy as its advertising

The latest VW Golf GTI is more exciting than you'd imagine, says Sean O'Grady

Now, you've probably seen those clever television ads for the Volkswagen Golf GTI "starring" the late Gene Kelly in a breakdancing version of his famous routine in
Singin' in the Rain. "The original: updated" is the strap-line. Actually, that could also be the slogan of the ad itself, as it reminded me of another great car ad, the one where they used a few clips of Steve McQueen in
Bullitt to suggest that he, too, had been reincarnated and was going around in a Ford Puma.

Now, you've probably seen those clever television ads for the Volkswagen Golf GTI "starring" the late Gene Kelly in a breakdancing version of his famous routine in Singin' in the Rain. "The original: updated" is the strap-line. Actually, that could also be the slogan of the ad itself, as it reminded me of another great car ad, the one where they used a few clips of Steve McQueen in Bullitt to suggest that he, too, had been reincarnated and was going around in a Ford Puma.

Not to put too delicate a point on it, dead celebrities sell. Sales of the Ford Puma were greatly boosted by its association with the cool Mr McQueen, and I have no doubt that the "Poppin' in the Rain" adverts will have much the same effect on the GTI.

Strange to say, the GTI does need a little help. It suffers from being the glamorous sister in a plain family - it's tainted by association. Worthy and durable the new VW Golf may be, but most people see it as just a bit too predictable, a little ubiquitous, a touch tedious. Plus, the last Golf GTI, the Mark IV, was just as dull as its siblings. This Golf GTI, however, is a more distinctive car than the old one, or its lesser brethren. Just as well, for £20,000.

I know this because my neighbours own a red three-door Golf Mark IV, and I had never noticed it was a GTI variant until I parked the press car I was driving - also a red three-door version - next to it, just to compare them. The anorak in me is ashamed to admit I hadn't clocked it before, but really it's all VW's fault that I had overlooked this important piece of neighbourly intelligence. For the old Golf GTI was just a bit too understated to be special.

The new Golf's detailing is much more striking, and the use of black plastic in the bumpers and red piping around the grille lifts its heavy lines and lends it a more delicate look - in fact, just like the great original Mark I of 1976. White paintwork brings the best out in it; it's unfashionable now, but give it a year or two and it might be "the new black", as they say, and your used GTI will be much more sought-after on the second-hand market. Just a thought.

The interior is beautifully finished, too, with those blue dials gently telling you what is going on as it progresses from rest to 60mph in seven seconds and on to nearly 150mph.

Which just leaves me to tell you how it drives. It has lots of torque and revs like crazy, so it is incredibly accelerative. All you need to know, in fact, is that whichever of its six gears it is in when you put your foot down, you will feel like you are sitting on a speeding bullet. That's it.

Voices
Barn owls are among species that could be affected
charity appeal
News
Sarah Silverman (middle) with sister Reform Rabbi Susan Silverman (right) and sister actress Laura Silverman (left) at Jerusalem's Western Wall for feminist Hanuka candle-lighting ceremony
peopleControversial comedian stages pro-equality Hanukkah lighting during a protest at Jerusalem's Wailing Wall
Arts and Entertainment
The Bach Choir has been crowned the inaugural winner of Sky Arts’ show The Great Culture Quiz
arts + ents140-year-old choir declared winner of Sky Arts' 'The Great Culture Quiz'
Sport
After another poor series in Sri Lanka, Alastair Cook claimed all players go through a lean period
cricketEoin Morgan reportedly to take over ODI captaincy
PROMOTED VIDEO
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Recruitment Genius: Finance Director

    £65000 - £80000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Finance Director required to jo...

    Recruitment Genius: Medico-Legal Assistant

    £15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a unique opportunity fo...

    Ashdown Group: (PHP / Python) - Global Media firm

    £50000 per annum + 26 days holiday,pension: Ashdown Group: A highly successful...

    The Jenrick Group: Quality Inspector

    £27000 per annum + pension + holidays: The Jenrick Group: A Quality Technician...

    Day In a Page

    Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
    Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

    Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

    As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
    The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

    The Interview movie review

    You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
    Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

    How podcasts became mainstream

    People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
    Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

    Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

    Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
    Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

    A memorable year for science – if not for mice

    The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
    Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

    Christmas cocktails to make you merry

    Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
    5 best activity trackers

    Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

    Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
    Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

    Paul Scholes column

    It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
    Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

    Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

    Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
    Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

    Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

    2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
    Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

    Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

    Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
    Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

    Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

    The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
    Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

    Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

    The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
    Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

    The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

    Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas