lineup for 2007 is an all-new four-door model. First introduced in the U.S. in 1983, the GTI
is a truly affordable and athletic German engineered sports car.
Offering an ever-evolving legacy rooted in performance, the GTI
has grown immensely over the past 24 years. The current iteration is both practical and fun to drive
's hood is a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that generates 200 horsepower and 207 lb-ft of torque. The engine features a sturdy cast-iron block, lightweight aluminum cylinder head and direct fuel injection.
Fuel is typically injected into the intake port in gasoline-powered engines, but with direct injection, fuel is sprayed directly into the combustion chamber. The benefit is increased power and reduced emissions.
It should be noted that the 2007 GTI
with manual transmission delivers 23 mpg city and 32 mpg highway. The GTI
s featuring the automatic are rated at 25 mpg city and 31 mpg highway. The downside, though, is that GTI
's engine requires premium fuel.
For drivers that prefer a manual gearbox, GTI
comes standard with a 6-speed version. But, for improved launch and quicker acceleration, GTI
's optional advanced automatic DSG transmission is the better choice.
This dual-clutch transmission utilizes direct shifting that automatically engages and disengages gears without a clutch. A computer engages one clutch on the next gear needed, just as it releases the other clutch from the previous gear.
The DSG transmission also features special programming called "Launch Control". With Launch Control, the computer allows the engine to rev up before engaging the first clutch to provide a controlled amount of wheel spin at launch.
The DSG transmission can be operated in fully automatic or manual modes. Manual shifting requires tapping the shifter or the steering wheel-mounted paddles.
I didn't have the opportunity to test a GTI
with the DSG transmission, however, I was very impressed with the amount of fun my GTI
four-door tester provided.
's engine is more than capable of smoking the front tires when dropping the clutch. There's also plenty of power for passing at highway speeds.
I liked the feel of the clutch pedal in my GTI
tester. I also found the crisp-shifting 6-speed manual gearbox to my liking as it was easy to grab gears regardless of how hard I pushed this pocket-rocket.
is clearly a driver's car. The fully independent sport-tuned suspension does well at keeping GTI
fairly level in corners, and at the same time, remains pliable over bumps to deliver a likable all around driving experience.
Four-wheel disc brakes with anti-lock are standard equipment, as are ASR (Anti-Slip Regulation), ESP (Electronic Stabilization Program) and EDL (Electronic Differential Lock).
With an entry price of around $22,000, GTI
is loaded with safety and conveniences. Built in Wolfsburg, Germany, the GTI
benefits from high-tech production processes that lead to best-in-class fit and finish.
's seats offer exceptional comfort and maximum lateral control with thigh and thorax bolsters. However, I asn't to keen on the retro plaid pattern covering those seats.
On two-door models, the front seats slide forward to provide easier access to the rear seats. We like the attention to detail and upscale materials used on this affordable sports car.
The three-spoke steering wheel has leather grips and features aluminum trim. Aluminum is also highlighted on the gear shift knob, trim inserts, and pedal cluster.
The standard audio system is a 10-speaker system with an in-dash six-disc CD changer. A stereo upgrade is available as is an iPod adapter.
Outwardly, VW's GTI
is distinguishable by special badging and its large, black honeycomb grille outlined with a red stripe. Another tell-tale sign are the red-painted brake calipers that are visible through GTI
's standard 17-inch (or optional 18-inch) wheels. For those wanting an affordable, economical, yet, sporty car, the GTI
is sure to satisfy.
2007 Volkswagen GTI
Engine: 2.0-liter (200 hp) turbocharged I4
Transmission: 6-speed manual
Drive Type: FWD
Fuel Economy: 23 city/32 highway
Base Price: $22,600
As Tested: $24,950 (including $630 for destination)