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William Maley

Review: 2015 Volkswagen GTI SE 2-Door

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All of the hot hatches and sport compact cars owe their existence to one car - the Volkswagen Golf GTI. The engineers who worked on the first model during the mid-seventies didn’t know their little project would make massive waves in the industry. For six-generations, the GTI was the benchmark that many competitors were measured against. But with fresh blood arriving in the form of the Ford Focus ST and Subaru WRX, Volkswagen knew it was time to ready a new GTI. Thus last year, the seventh-generation Golf GTI was introduced to the market. Has the father of hot hatch lost its way or can it still show newcomers a few tricks? I spent a week in a GTI SE 2-Door to find out.

 

The Golf GTI has never used any design gimmicks to stand out from a standard Golf, only minor trim changes. The seventh-generation model continues this tradition. Starting with a standard Golf with smooth body panels and large window space, Volkswagen added small touches such as a mesh grille in the front, 18-inch wheels and little GTI emblems on the side; and rear diffuser with dual exhaust ports. It may not be the flashiest hot hatch, but the understated look fits the vehicle.

 

The interior sticks with a simple design and materials. Soft-touch materials, carbon fiber around the center stack, and faux aluminum trim line the interior and gives the feeling of quality. SE models get leather seats with red stitching and piping. The seats I found to provide both excellent comfort and support when cruising or tackling the twisties. A set of manual adjustments help dial in the right seat placement I wished the leather was an option on the SE, so you could get the iconic tartan cloth as standard. But alas, I am nitpicking here. The back seat in the two-door is quite easy to get into thanks to the front seats sliding forward. Headroom is quite good, while legroom is almost non-existent for taller passengers.

 


2015 Volkswagen GTI 11

Each Golf GTI comes equipped with a 5.8-inch touchscreen boasting Volkswagen’s new infotainment system. Compared to the system used in the rest of Volkswagen’s lineup, this new system is a breath of fresh air. The graphics look very modern and is easy to read at a glance. Also, the touchpoints are much larger which means the system is easier to use than before. Aside from the screen itself, you have buttons on either side to take you to various parts of the system such as the radio, USB and Bluetooth, trip Computer, and settings. If I do have a complaint with the GTI’s infotainment system, its that you can’t get navigation as an option on the SE. If you want navigation, you’re going to have to make the leap to the Autobahn trim where it comes standard.

 

Thoughts on the Powertrain and Ride are on the next page






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Great write up, Love the Interior on the car as a commuter car or fun run about it would serve the purpose well. The exterior I know is now Iconic and most people know what it is, but I still have to say that this car is just a bland jelly bean design to me. Not sure why but over all the years the GTI is a sleeper car. Just wish it had more spunk in the design language.

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at that money I go Focus ST......or say fk it and get a 2016 Camaro and a winter beater.  I don't care how German it is or how nice to drive it is, it's not a flashy looking rig and its still a VW.....

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at that money I go Focus ST......or say fk it and get a 2016 Camaro and a winter beater.  I don't care how German it is or how nice to drive it is, it's not a flashy looking rig and its still a VW.....

 

Not everyone wants a flashy hot hatch i.e. Focus ST.

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I drove a new GTI because of the all the rave reviews.  I did not care for the car because of the DSG transmission, and neither mode made the car pleasing to drive.  The stick is probably the way to go.

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at that money I go Focus ST......or say fk it and get a 2016 Camaro and a winter beater.  I don't care how German it is or how nice to drive it is, it's not a flashy looking rig and its still a VW.....

 

The Focus ST is more frenetic, less comfortable and is at its best when driven like a maniac. VW's GTI may be slightly more 'polite' but that makes it a far more pleasant drive and a better fit for most people who need/want just one car. Not everyone wants a 'boy racer' appearance package and VW's one of the few companies preferring to 'un-pimp' their pocket rocket to satisfy that market. 

 

I'd bet that if you're hitting the highway, the ST's seats will guarantee that you'll be making rest stops at chiropractic offices. The VW is suited for around town and the long-haul.

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