By on April 4, 2022

2022 Volkswagen Golf GTI 2.0T Autobahn

2.0-liter turbocharged four (241 hp @ 5,000 rpm, 273 lb-ft @ 1,750 rpm)

Six-speed manual transmission, front-wheel drive

25 city / 34 highway / 28 combined (EPA Rating, MPG)

9.8 city / 6.9 highway / 8.5 combined. (NRCan Rating, L/100km)

Base Price: $39,790 US / $41,432 CAN

As Tested: $40,185 US / $43,177 CAN

Prices include $995 destination charge in the United States and $2437 for freight, PDI, and A/C tax in Canada and, because of cross-border equipment differences, can’t be directly compared.

In some cases where a product is offered in a series, each successive generation is improved and is greater than the last. In other cases, the maker hits upon relative perfection early and later generations can never quite live up to the legend. In the arts, for example, while Indiana Jones fans can argue the merits of Raiders of the Lost Ark versus The Last Crusade¸ you won’t find any sane person suggesting that Kingdom of the Crystal Skull is anything but a dank shadow of the past glories. Similarly, my fanatic daughter tells me that the third book (Prisoner of Azkaban) in the Harry Potter series is the best, and all other editions pale.

We are now looking at the eighth generation of hot hatches from Wolfsburg with this, the 2022 Volkswagen GTI. Is it the greatest GTI ever, or has Indy jumped into a lead-lined refrigerator with this latest redesign?

I can indeed tell you that this Mk.8 GTI lives up to the high standards of recent generations when considering driving dynamics. The latest 2.0-liter engine produces 241 horsepower and a stout 273 lb-ft of torque, all headed to the front wheels in this case through a six-speed manual transmission – a seven-speed, dual-clutch automatic is optional.

Torque steer is minimal, helped no doubt by the standard limited-slip differential. Even though my tester was fitted with winter tires, the GTI positively leaps off the line with little drama other than some chirping from the snow tires. Torque shoves the seat into your backside with authority. Shift throws are a bit long, but the action is solid and precise.

Similarly, there are no complaints when the asphalt turns sinuous. That electronically controlled differential pairs with the adaptive damping (only available on this top-level Autobahn trim) to send the GTI diving for apexes, gripping enthusiastically and rotating seemingly at will. I’ve driven precious few cars that make commutes at sane speeds genuinely enjoyable – the GTI is in that upper echelon of fun-to-drive cars without seriously jeopardizing one’s license, though stupid speeds are there for the asking should irresponsibility beckon. Professional driver, closed course, do as I say not as I do, yadda yadda. Grins are there below 65, don’t worry.

There is nothing revolutionary about the styling of the GTI – it’s been a long, gradual evolution over the past forty-plus years of the same basic two-box shape. Still, a few changes make the latest car distinctive, mostly with the lighting. The fog lights have five LED lamps that form an X – on this Autobahn trim and on the midrange SE package, the fog lamps are “Active Cornering” lights that will illuminate around corners in conjunction with the steering wheel angle. Otherwise, there is little to distinguish this GTI from the previous generation to anyone but total VW geeks, and that’s perfectly fine by me.

The interior has seen a significant upgrade in materials, with a clean, attractive layout. The leather seats fitted to this upmarket trim are heated and ventilated, and twelve-way power-adjustable – and it shows. My old body would not have a problem sitting in this GTI and crossing several states in one sitting – the seats are marvelous, with enough bolstering for fun times on backroads and plenty of support for a long day on the interstates.

Rear seats are comfortable enough, my kids report, and cargo room is plentiful in the wide hatchback. Road and wind noise are well controlled – usually, I notice tire noise especially when winter tires are fitted to a test vehicle, but not here.

However – and this is something I’ve pointed out from other automakers as well – the trend of “simplifying” audio and HVAC controls has reached Volkswagen, and it’s inexcusable. There is a line of something that resembles buttons below the 10-inch touchscreen – these touch-sensitive pads allow for temperature adjustments for the left and right side of the car, and the center pad will allow you to slide your finger for what turns out to be very coarse volume adjustments.

Below that bar of pads sits four more buttons flanking the hazard switch – one to engage the parking assists, one to bring up the menu, one to engage various driving modes, and one labeled “CLIMA” (incidentally a rather odd abbreviation) that will bring up the climate controls. From here, several button presses are required to toggle through the options of adjusting temperatures, fan speeds, the split between face/floor/defrost, and seat heating/cooling options. Each button press takes concentration – and an eye from the road. Even the sunroof control is a touch-sensitive pad.

I’m sure that, with time and practice, these functions will become second nature. However, these are all controls that have been well established by other means and didn’t need improvement. Knobs, sliders, and physical pushbuttons may be old – but they work, and they work without practice. You may call me a knob since I so frequently call for knobs, but I shall keep preaching until we’ve brought intelligent human-focused interfaces back to all cars. Am I so out of touch? No. It’s Volkswagen who is wrong.

This is where I usually wrap up my reviews with an assessment of whether I’d buy the car in question. It’s a tough call this time, especially as I’ve been casually considering my next daily driver over the past few months and one of the strong candidates has been a GTI – either used or new. The whole idea of a well-rounded hot hatch for adults is incredibly appealing – especially as the grey in my beard makes it unquestionably clear that I’m not one of the youths any longer.

The 2022 Volkswagen GTI is the whole package. It performs beautifully on the highway, the city streets, and the back roads – and I’m sure it’d be a hoot at a track day, too.

It’s comfortable, practical, and reasonably good with fuel economy as well – heck, it doesn’t need premium fuel to make those power numbers. But those damned controls. I’m torn. I’m probably leaning toward recommending the GTI and getting VERY used to setting and forgetting the automatic climate controls. The latest GTI may well be a Temple of Doom in the VW hot-hatch canon — a slight misstep, but still worth watching.

[Images: © 2022 Chris Tonn]

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55 Comments on “2022 Volkswagen GTI Review – Generation Revelation?...”


  • avatar
    Kyree

    It’s a shame that Volkswagen had to ruin a good thing with the interior. The Mk 7 in general and Mk 7.5 in particular were probably the best in the business when it came to an interior layout that was logical, high-tech, and pleasing. Now they’ve ruined it with the touch-sensitive nonsense, and interestingly, other brands (notably Honda and Mazda) have stepped in to fill the void.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      Yep. I guess no one at VW heard of “Cadillac User Experience.”

    • 0 avatar
      EAM3

      Breaks my heart. I was finally going to replace my car this year (or next) and the GTI was going to be it. Then I saw what they did to the controls and I am back to square one, figuring out what my next car will be.

      • 0 avatar
        jalop1991

        EAM3, you took the words quite literally *right* out of my mouth.

        Mk7 was the pinnacle. Fortunately, mine is running well. And, Audi is right there with Plan B.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        @EAM: Jetta GLI is mechanically identical to the old GTI and has good old fashioned buttons on the dash. Check it out.

        • 0 avatar
          jalop1991

          @FreedMike: while the engine/trans is the same as the Mk7 family (NOT Mk8), the seats are different. Also a ton of details that really make the GTI are different–weaker. The GLI is absolutely a cheapened vehicle, and it shows horribly.

  • avatar
    thegamper

    This is a pretty compelling package for enthusiasts who need a comfortable daily driver. My analysis is that it is very compelling at $30k, but loaded up versions of the GTI go in the low $40’s at which point that opens up a lot of other choices, not all of which may be direct competitors, but choices none the less.

    I am also a little concerned with reports that VW has cheapened the interior, which I just dont understand. At $40k, there has got to be enough room for a few more square feet of soft touch plastics thereby avoiding that nit to pick. With the LSD part of this package, I think I may have to check out the SE next time I am in the market in the next 2 years or so. This may be my last opportunity to get a 6speed manual given my age, needs in a daily driver and the rapid electrification of the automotive landscape.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      Agreed – this is a great $30,000 car (and as a bonus, on the base version, you get the plaid seats, which no GTI should be without, and there are actual radio knobs). But at $40,000, I’d be more inclined to step up to a Golf R for a few grand more.

      (Yes, I know this doesn’t take the current price situation into account.)

      • 0 avatar
        stuki

        I prefer the GTI to the R. Unless you’re planning on driving really fast for extended periods. To me, the R feels as heavy and “overplanted” as an S6.

        But I’m a big fan of the GTI/Si class of cars for practical everyday enthusiast cars under US conditions.

  • avatar
    Astigmatism

    My Mk7 GTI was one of my favorite cars I’ve ever owned. In driving dynamics it came pretty damn close to both my old E46 330ci and my current Alfa, but it did so at a significant discount to both of them, and it was far, far more practical than either one of them – the Alfa can’t even fit two roller carryons in the trunk, for God’s sake. And I love the look of the Mk8.

    I just hope that the idiotic interface design, which has been mentioned in every single review I’ve ever read of this car, of the Golf R, and even of the iD4, gets cleaned up in a midcycle refresh. It’s gotten more uniformly bad press than Gigli. Hopefully the VW designers take the hint.

  • avatar
    MitchConner

    Not sure what drives manufacturers to fix what ain’t broke when it comes to instrument panel design. Perhaps it’s cost. Perhaps it’s trying to do something different that consumers unexpectedly enjoy and thereby sets a new and innovative standard. Maybe it’s just marketing and design types trying to justify their existence so they don’t get whacked.

    Thing is knobs and buttons for stuff like volume, temperature control, fan speed, and ventilation direction control are simple, intuitive, and ergonomically efficient. To replace them with slides, touch pads, joysticks, or touch screen inputs that require a consumer to drill down more than one level has been proven not to work multiple times from numerous manufacturers — yet they just keep doing it.

    Would have been interesting to watch how this development process unfolded through the various design iterations, meetings, and approval processes — seeing if someone, somewhere stood up and said “this is really stupid” and to see how their take was dealt with.

    • 0 avatar
      jalop1991

      MitchConner, I couldn’t have said it any better.

      For a superb balance of touchscreen and hard controls, see the Chrysler Pacifica.

      For a superb infotainment UI, also see the Chrysler Pacifica–specifically the current UConnect 5.

    • 0 avatar
      stuki

      I’m sure part of it, is just the “Tesla” effect: So many people are now convinced that tech for tech’s sake, is somehow like, WOW!!!

      Not trying t say anything bad about Tesla as actual cars. But too many are too easily impressed by what looks Flash Gordon, leading other manufacturers to believe that is how to grow sales.

      Instead of them realizing that what really grows road car sales, are naturally aspirated I6s of between 2 and 3 liters in size, longish stroke; manual transmissions; largely mechanical and predictable drivelines; a premium placed on low COG and balanced weight distribution; high quality, longish travel suspension built with US roads in mind; and a decent amount of tire sidewall. That the rest is just varying degrees of waste.

  • avatar
    tedder

    I had a Mk6 (2013) GTI that I absolutely loved for about 18 months and then sold after ~3 years and 55k miles before the warranty could expire. I loved how it drove, huge back seat and cargo space. But then before 3 years were up had to replace shocks twice and tires that scalloped because of the shocks. Fuel injector replaced (twice), water pump replaced. Power window stopped working in the rear. I bought it new and sold it before warranty ended and in that short time left me stranded at the side of the road 3 times getting it towed. I loved the GTI but it broke my heart.

    • 0 avatar
      thegamper

      As a younger man, I had a Mazdaspeed6, thankfully bought an extended 100k mile warranty that paid for itself. Incredibly fun car, ate tires for breakfast, lunch and dinner, had a few gripes with a post sale reflash, some turbo plumbing issues, rear transfer case leak. I sold at 99k miles. Despite my gripes, I have to remind myself that I beat the $h*T out of this car on a daily basis. Almost miraculous that it made it to 100k miles with as few problems as it had. I went through 6 sets of 4 tires in less than 100k miles, When they got low, I would practice drifting before replacing.

      Just saying, that cars intended for young people and driven like they were stolen for most of their life can be self inflicted wounds to a certain extent.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        @thegamper:
        “… cars intended for young people and driven like they were stolen for most of their life can be self inflicted wounds to a certain extent.”

        This is why I’d be very, very reluctant to buy a used GTI, WRX, Civic Si, etc. My GLI loves to be driven hard, but when the lease is done, there’s zero chance I’m going to buy it.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      @tedder: Your story is too common among VW/Audi owners.

      I’ve had exactly one VW for the similar reasons; I just couldn’t keep it on the road. Twenty years later, why would I take that chance again?

      • 0 avatar
        jalop1991

        SCE to AUX, it is widely considered that they got everything right starting with Mk7 (actually, starting in MY2016).

        And I’m living proof of that, for the last 4.5 years.

        After Honda screwed me big time, I decided that all manufacturers are equally bad–and that there’s no reason NOT to get the “fun car”. So into the VW dealer I went. And it turned out I got into VW just as VW fixed everything.

        Now I enjoy a car that Honda can only dream of making, with all the reliability that Honda gave up on 20 years ago.

        Dear VW: understand that with the glass cockpit, you took all that excellent customer goodwill and ruined it. In no way will I buy a glass cockpit car. It isn’t “fancy”; it’s not usable on the road.

        • 0 avatar

          Our Mk 7 Facelift Jetta is cheap VW interior but great bones…IRS, and the 1.4 liter engine is quite good. I addressed the weak parts…eibach springs and Bilstein shocks. GTi brakes were an easy and cheap upgrade. A set of wider rims and tires, kept 16 inches due to roads but 225/50 so lots of rubber. A tune gets 180 hp out of the 1.4 liter. All in, with cost of car and all parts, maybe $22k. Fun to drive on twisties and the tune is how the 1.4 should come from the factory. My FIL has CUE in his Caddy XTS…I consider it a cruel joke from someone at GM to the elderly purchaser base.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    @Chris:
    I wouldn’t talk you out of a used GTI, but make sure you know what you’re getting into with the E888 engine. My old A3 had the same engine, and I had to have the water pumps (there are two) replaced at 60k, and the car STILL ate oil and coolant, which meant a) piston rings, b) head gaskets, or c) both. And, yes, the car was properly maintained. Those are all known issues with this engine. And be careful that you don’t inherit someone else’s bad driving habits.

    Personally, I’d recommend a lease on a new one. That’s how I did my GLI. And be sure to check out the DSG version before you buy – you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

    • 0 avatar
      Chris Tonn

      @freedmike:

      Stay tuned on the GLI with DSG.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        Ah, the plot thickens…

        Hard to go wrong there, but I own a GLI S with the DSG, so I’m all kinds of biased. Still, 11,000 miles, and zero problems (fingers crossed).

        • 0 avatar
          theflyersfan

          @Chris Tonn @FreedMike and the other current and ex-VW owners.

          This new video is not of the GTI but of the latest VW Passat before it vanishes for good.

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BJWlpMbK2KU

          (Regular Car Reviews)

          There are some killer comments made in the video about current VW ownership and it is funny as hell.

          And my current VW ownership should be ending any day now. I got an update from a few days ago that the 2022 MX-5 is in the US and was waiting for a truck driver to start the journey (yup, shortage of them as well…) It’s been around 3 months since ordering, and next week looks to be 70-75 degrees with no rain. Prime RF driving weather! Now the latest issues are the rear cross traffic alert tends to be bipolar in bad weather (beeping when no one is there and vice versa) and the infotainment system easily locks up 4-5 times upon startup before it decides to cooperate.

          I highly encourage VWoA to donate this car to an auto mechanic class and the first person to diagnose and fix everything goes to the head of the class…

          And if the current quality of VW wasn’t so hit and miss, I was going to give the GTI a very serious look. I was willing to give the infotainment a chance, but at times I think the interior designers don’t think that we need to interface with the car at speed, over bumps, etc. And didn’t anyone learn after the CUE debacle? I predict a major interior refresh in about a year, similar to what Cadillac had to do with CUE and the 2-generations ago Honda Civic where they had to make major changes due to poor reviews to pretty much everything.

      • 0 avatar
        theflyersfan

        And one more comment to @Chris Tonn. I am VERY interested in how your review goes. I know FreedMike has had a totally different experience with this VW than I’ve had.
        You have a couple of GLI owners here who won’t mind adding their 2 cents to your review. I’m not sold at all at the somewhat garish red trim pieces in the lower grill where it looks like fog lights should go, but nope. I do not like the fact at all that the summer tire option is gone and it’s only the very generic Hankook tires that work best on a sedate CUV and not a performance sedan. And the only one trim available could be a deal killer because it’s only top trim now and it got expensive.

        But at least it keeps the same infotainment setup which means solid buttons and knobs (even if the volume knob DRIVES ME CRAZY by having the Power On/Off symbol rotate with the knob. It just looks odd – it looks like it’s broken. And the DSG was made for that engine.

        • 0 avatar
          FreedMike

          @flyersfan:

          The Hankooks are meh. I’m not interested in summer tires, but there are definitely better all-season options out there.

          And I think you should do a reader review of your upcoming Miata.

          • 0 avatar
            theflyersfan

            2FreedMike – if they let me submit one, I will. I just need an e-mail address to send it to along with some pictures. I take my new cars, and some very nice rentals, to the front of Churchill Downs and get some good pictures there.

            The Hankook’s verge on scary. Scary in bad weather. The “All Season” part borders on comical because the slightest bit of snow results in a traction control light losing its mind. They don’t have that good of grip in rain. My previous Honda had a good set of Goodyears and those were excellent tires for all seasons.

  • avatar
    ajla

    Similar to how the Challenger is the only big coupe available under $80k, the GTI is really the only game in town for what it does so you kind of need to accept the foibles if it’s form is what you really want.

    There’s no Civic SI hatch, the Veloster N has the weird doors and more extroverted styling (and will probably be killed this year), the Mazda3 turbo is automatic only, and the Cooper S 4-door is down on performance. Maybe the Integra A-Spec will be an alternative.

  • avatar
    6250Claimer

    “Significant upgrade in materials”. Really? I’ve yet to get up close and personal with the Mk8, but everyone I know who has, and every review that’s mentioned materials that I’ve read says exactly the opposite.

    • 0 avatar
      Astigmatism

      Was curious about this as well. The Mk7 GTI felt like a baby Audi inside, other than the excess of piano-black, but I’ve read a number of reviews saying that they felt the Mk8 was a major step back in interior quality. If feels like VW generations see-saw on this from generation to generation.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      The pictures look much less Mk7 and much more US-market Tiguan SE, but I’ll reserve judgment (of either the car or Chris) until I see one in person.

    • 0 avatar
      theflyersfan

      @6250Claimer – back in November/December 2020 when I was first looking at VW, I was blown away at how good the interior felt in a 2020 VW GTI. It really did look and feel like an Audi. Solid surfaces, no rattles, good door “thunk,” and it felt really good. I’ve sat and driven a new GTI and pretty much toss everything I wrote up there into the trash. It’s not quite GLI cheap materials level (and even as an owner, I have no problems saying that the plastics in the current GLI shouldn’t be used even on kid’s toys – they are just awful, especially the interior door surfaces, rear shelf, and upper dash – after 8,000 miles, this bad rattle formed), but it was a major step downward. I know corners have to be cut to make the budget work. Like the GLI, it feels hollow now, kind of like things are barely being held together.
      But, man, the days of VW having a better quality interior than the Japanese and Americans are gone. Except the Arteon. But that’s basically an A5 Sportback and commands some serious money.

  • avatar
    Master Baiter

    I really thought the Germans would resist the temptation to make everything touch-sensitive and menu-driven. Every review of this car has panned the ergonomics, so assuming VW is listening, maybe the next generation is the one to wait for.

    • 0 avatar
      Astigmatism

      In the Mk7 they significantly overhauled the entertainment system interface in the mid-cycle refresh, so there’s hope.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        True, but they basically just installed a different infotainment head unit into the dash. Not a huge deal. All of the non infotainment controls were unchanged, but the old dash actually *had* non-infotainment controls (climate, lights, etc). In this case, the dash itself would have to be redone – there isn’t a climate control panel on the Mk8, for example.

  • avatar
    Whatnext

    I like the exterior redesign but the new interior controls suck. Plus there’s signs of cost-cutting from the highs of the Mk 7.5.

    Even worse is VW not deeming North Americans worthy of the base Golf instead leaving us with the lumpen Taos or base Jetta.

  • avatar
    Irvingklaws

    The review expounds on the car’s excellent driving dynamics, but I don’t get a sense if there’s significant improvement driving a MK8 vs a MK7-7.5? The interior material quality of the tester (in top-of-the-line Autobahn trim?) is reported as improved, but in contrast to what? A MK7-7.5 Autobahn? or an S, SE? Even with infotainment and subjective styling issues aside, I’m doubting the benefits of this car compared to the previous generation.

  • avatar
    tonycd

    I’ll add to the chorus above: No other reviewer I’ve seen agrees that this new 8th Gen represents “a significant upgrade in interior materials.” Most have said the opposite. C/D put the phrase “cost-cut interior appointments” into a boldfaced subhead as the first of the car’s “Lows.” The old TTAC would never have done this.

  • avatar
    ToolGuy

    Nice writeup!

    I can see the appeal of this vehicle.

    (Side note: My spouse used to think Harrison Ford was hot. Not anymore.)

  • avatar
    redapple

    XM 1st Wave – best xm channel
    Bryan Ferry – Top marks. The master of “art music.”
    Boys and Girls album – His best, or maybe “Bete Nior.”

    Dont listen to crap y’all.

    • 0 avatar
      Astigmatism

      1st Wave is good. I’m okay with XMU but it ends up being too repetitive – like if Clearchannel owned an indie station.

      The good news is that I can stream KEXP to my phone and then play that through the car’s Bluetooth. Even better news is that I can stream KEXP straight to my home hifi.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      I did like First Wave, but I got rid of XM last year, and I’m not missing it much. Apple Music is a better deal for like three extra bucks a month, and I can pick out what I want to listen to, make playlists, etc. The only real advantage XM had was that it works everywhere, but I can download whatever I want to my phone, which works even better.

  • avatar
    Funky D

    “Active Cornering” lights …

    I have these in my 10-year-old Eos. They’re just now available on the GTI?

    • 0 avatar
      ronin

      >>“Active Cornering” lights …

      >>I have these in my 10-year-old Eos. They’re just now available on the GTI?

      Had the cornering lights on my 2010 GTI. Which I bought new, although terrified by the interweb horror stories. Served me well, and problem-free, for 9+ years, until I got a new job and got tired of rowing the gears in stop and go traffic.

  • avatar
    Big Wheel

    This review matches what I’ve seen elsewhere. Great driving dynamics, infuriating radio & climate controls. No sale for me, & there are too many other cars like this.

    Much like was suggested above, go out & do what I did less than two weeks ago: by a decent used Mk7. In my case, a 2021, base S trim, with the plaid cloth seats & golf ball shifter on the six speed manual as God intended. Three fantastic physical round dials for climate control, & the touchscreen for the radio isn’t bad. Also backed up with radio buttons on the steering wheel. Simple to use. I hadn’t driven a stick in 30+ years, but it was like riding a bike during the test drive. The powertrain has come a long way since my last manual, which admittedly was a poor example being a 1984 Chevette. The six speed moves easily with short throws, & you don’t even have to give it gas to get moving from a stop. The modern engine has so much more power/torque down low that you barely have to slip the clutch. The hardest part is making sure you are in the right gear since the gates are so close now vs. the long spacing in the ‘vette four speed. And the gear ratios are also tight, I can go easily go 1-2-4-6 or 1-3-5 depending on the road. It’s not my daily driver for all activities, & I don’t think I could if I had my long pre-Covid commute due to heavy traffic. But it’s great fun taking my youngest (9th grader) to school in the morning, & even he’s been learning how to drive it in the school parking lot on the weekends (he specifically wanted to learn on a manual, God bless him). My wife also hadn’t driven a manual in decades, but marveled how easy it was to pickup again in the school parking lot. I love the dynamics of driving a car again vs. the CUV that I now drive. Brings back great memories of my Preludes (86 Si, 91 Si, 97), & yes, even the Chevette back in high school & college.

    Still under warranty for four more years. Too bad it doesn’t have the 7/70 warranty.

    And yes, 1st Wave is the best Sirius channel, although that’s in my other car.

    • 0 avatar
      Astigmatism

      Such a great car. Congratulations. I had the DSG on my 2017 Autobahn trim, largely because of a brutal commute in stop-and-go traffic.

      • 0 avatar
        Big Wheel

        Thanks Astigmatism! I’ve also heard great things about the DSG & completely understand choosing it. I actually want to test drive any modern dual-clutch automatic, particularly a Porsche since their PDK is supposed to be the best. A former neighbor down the street had a 911 PDK, but it never worked out for me to get a ride.

        But our son is 100% in to Save The Manuals. There was no way I could have got a DSG GTI without him rebelling. How could I say no?! The manual is fine for short trips in easy to moderate traffic, & his school is just a few miles away. We’re having lots of fun with it.

        • 0 avatar
          theflyersfan

          There’s a tear in my eye – of course continue to help him learn how to drive a stick! It’s an art. I’ve had mainly stick shift cars. My current GLI is the DSG because I couldn’t find a stick shift one in the Midwest and parts of the South. The DSG was made for that engine. The GLI/GTI engine has so much midrange torque and the DSG has enough gears and brains to sit in that powerband. But you know what? To this day, when backing out of a parking spot, I STILL catch myself trying to find the clutch with my left leg. That’s a sign that I must continue with a stick, even though they are getting harder to find.

          I’ve even ordered a small “Save the Manuals!” sticker off of Etsy. Should be here any day now. It’ll look good in the rear corner glass of the MX-5 – 6 speed manual only please!

          And that kind of training is what my Dad did with me as well. We have some small hills near where I grew up and when traffic was light, we’d go out and I’d learn hills. The local high school parking lot was for parallel parking drills, emergency braking, and veering and steering. Needless to say, I aced the road test thanks to all of that help before. You’re really helping your son out by doing that, and in a REALLY nice and fast car! (Break it to him that there is ZERO chance he’s driving it while his license is still warm from the printer! ;-) )

          • 0 avatar
            Big Wheel

            Thanks Flyers Fan!

            When I was younger & a manual was my only car, I would do the same thing as you. I would occasionally drive my parents cars (automatic), & my left leg would instinctively go for a now absent clutch pedal. Doh!

            Car & Driver also used to sell a Save The Manuals sticker, so congrats on finding one & for the MX-5. What a great car that is!

            Clothing brand Made In Detroit sells some manual inspired stuff like t-shirts, hoodies, etc., with a six-speed pattern on the shirt & the word D-E-T-R-O-I-T spelled out. Probably not fully appropriate when driving a foreign job, but I did wear my t-shirt for the test drive. Link below. And Blipshift.com occasionally has some cool manual-themed shirts as well.

            It was my brother who taught me to learn to drive a manual. And I too remember learning on hills to use the manual parking brake lever between the seats (which our GTI has) & coordinate with clutch release. Heck, he even had a stick (as did his girlfriend-now wife) when they lived in San Francisco & I would sometimes borrow to go for a drive. Now those are some hills! But the GTI has that down pat – it has a Hill Hold feature where it keeps the brakes on for 2 seconds after you release the brake pedal. Every day my son says “I can’t wait until I can drive”, so I know he’s looking forward to it. We’ll keep practicing for now. And the manual is a built-in anti-theft device since so few people can drive them.

            https://www.madeindetroit.com/collections/detroit-muscle-car-collection-apparel/products/ms120

  • avatar
    hreardon

    ’16 GTI autobahn owner here, 6 years and 51,000 on the clock.

    Outside of regular oil changes and a repair to the sunroof drain, I’ve had zero issues with my GTI. A first, coming from a long line of Volkswagen products (’00 Jetta VR6, ’04 R32, ’06 A3, ’16 GTI).

    Chose the GTI after considering a B8.5 S4, the first gen S3 sedan, and the GTI. The GTI won in the smiles department, hand down, and as others have mentioned, at a significant savings.

    I’ve had seat time in the MK8. Infotainment is not as bad as the reviews make it, though it’s far from great. The MK8 UX is a great example of: Just because you can do a thing, doesn’t mean you should.

    The front end styling is growing on me, the rest of the car looks sharp and modern.

    All that said, I agree that the MK7 GTI is probably “peak GTI”. I intend to keep mine and tune it, while adding an M340i to the stable.

    • 0 avatar
      skeeter44

      The stick is nice and rare nowadays but this is now a $40K+ car. I looked at it but went for the 230i – less room but more power, performance, cache and (IMHO) looks. The 340i is on a whole other planet.

      • 0 avatar
        Astigmatism

        I think the M340i is the closest thing BMW makes to the E39 M5 today, auto transmission notwithstanding. If I were in the market for a new sedan, it would absolutely be at the top of my list.

  • avatar
    The Comedian

    I bought a 2022 GTI “S” trim level a couple of weeks ago. The S is still very well equipped, but two features make it the clear choice for me.

    – Unlike the higher trim levels the S has actual knobs on the infotainment unit (volume/power and input select/enter) making the UI much more tolerable.

    – In the US the S is the only golf available without a sunroof.

    The lack of DCC, wireless CarPlay (though you buy aftermarket for about $55), HUD, leather seats, LED trim, matrix headlights, and upgraded stereo aren’t missed because the “base” GTI is actually very well equipped. Given all the “missing” options’ avoirdupois, the S model is likely the fastest GTI trim.

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