Does the facelifted GTI match the Focus ST? 

Volkswagen’s Golf GTI has always been in the top echelon of hot hatchbacks. Plumping for an absolute favourite in this market has grown increasingly tough in recent times thanks to the arrival of strong competitors like the Ford Focus ST, Seat Leon FR, Renault Megane Renaultsport and Peugeot 308 GTI.

It’s even harder to cast your vote for the new Golf GTI. For a start, it isn’t really new. The car it’s based on is not a gen-eight Golf, because that car hasn’t arrived yet.

This ‘7.5’ GTI has a little extra power – up to 227bhp, from 217bhp. That puts it on the back foot compared to many of the hatches mentioned eariler. In its defence, you can take the Golf GTI up to 242bhp by adding the Performance Pack, and if you really need mega power there’s always the 206bhp Golf R.

There are some changes to the new GTI’s external extremities, like the bonnet, bumpers, wheels and lights, and some jazzy new bits in the cabin, including the option of an Audi Virtual Cockpit-style instrument display. The transmission and braking are unchanged, but there’s a new gesture-controlled infotainment system.

But what about the driver entertainment system? Does the new car respond to foot and hand gestures in the right way, in the way that most of its predecessors have done before it – in the Golf GTI way? In the end, does it all boil down to affordability and the roundedness of the package? 




To find out one way or the other, our Matt has taken the ‘new’ GTI out on Majorcan roads. Take a seat alongside and listen to his thoughts.

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