By on March 10, 2022

Just about every automaker has committed itself to going “all-electric” at some point in the next decade, and whether you think that’s a good thing or a bad thing, it means that the internal combustion engine (“ICE”, for the purposes of this article) is dead tech walking. Death and discontinuation are usually one-way tickets to the scrap heap for cars – but some cars are different. Some cars are special, and being made rare or obsolete just makes them more appealing.

The Great Jack Baruth once called this The Grand National Problem, and I think there are a few ICE cars out there that will be more appealing to car guys and gals than others in 20- or 30-years’ time. As such, I’ve taken some time to look at the automotive class of 2022 and pick my 5 future ICE Age Classics. Enjoy!

(Read More…)

By on November 9, 2021

2022 Vokswagen GTI. Tim Healey/TTAC

If you’re a Volkswagen Golf GTI fan, you were probably worried that Volkswagen would screw it up as they refreshed it for 2022.

Here’s the good news – the company (mostly) didn’t do that. Especially when it comes to the most important part of GTI ownership – on-road driving performance.

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By on November 2, 2021

For car freaks – and they don’t get any freakier than the B&B – a car is more than just a transportation appliance. We end up involved with our cars. We care for them. We worry about them. Some of us even name them.

My last car, a ‘15 Audi A3 2.0T Quattro, was Mitzi – petite, German, cute, fun … and not very easy to live with. If Mitzi had been a human female, she’d have been a blast in the sack and high-maintenance and kind of clueless the rest of the time. A great mistress and a lousy partner, if you will. The “it’s not you, it’s me” conversation had been coming for a while, and when used car prices went bonkers, it felt like the right time to kiss Mitzi on the forehead and say goodbye.

That’s how I ended up on a car-search journey that took several months and ended with one of the best hard decisions a car freak can be faced with: Choosing between a VW GTI or Jetta GLI. Which one won my heart? Read on.

(Read More…)

By on July 14, 2021

Volkswagen

Volkswagen’s base Golf may be dead, at least in America, but the performance-oriented GTI and Golf R are on their way to pick up the slack.

The 2022 Volkswagen GTI and Golf R have been unveiled in the flesh (or sheetmetal, as it were) at the 2021 Chicago Auto Show.

(Read More…)

By on September 18, 2020

Golf GTI TCR Concept. Image: Volkswagen

I’ve written before that the Volkswagen Golf GTI is almost the perfect car for automotive scribes – available with a manual, affordable, and hatchbacked. Really, it’s the perfect car for almost any enthusiast on a budget who doesn’t want to sacrifice utility at the altar of sport.

Then there’s the Golf R, which is a hopped-up GTI that is better in most respects, save one: Price. It’s no cheapo.

Enter the GTI TCR. This track-focused car fills the gap between the GTI and R and is rumored to make 296 horsepower.

(Read More…)

By on May 14, 2020

Everyone’s favorite German warm (hottish?) hatch debuted in eight-generation guise early this year, enticing purists with a profile and performance envelope not too dissimilar from what came before. Perfect for VW diehards.

The only problem here is that, despite pent-up anticipation for the Mk8 GTI, America’s favorite Golf variant isn’t about to arrive anytime soon. (Read More…)

By on March 24, 2020

2001 Volkswagen GTI GLX VR6 in Denver junkyard, manual gearshift - ©2019 Murilee Martin - The Truth About Cars

As dry cleaning tycoon George Jefferson once said, “In politics, lies are called promises.” Automotive purists surely hope that lesson doesn’t apply to Volkswagen’s pledge to hang on to manual transmissions for dear life.

While the automaker says it has no inherent desire to go the two-pedal-only route, it makes clear that the ball is entirely in the customer’s court. (Read More…)

By on December 2, 2019

2001 Volkswagen GTI GLX VR6 in Denver junkyard, LH front view - ©2019 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsBecause high-performance German cars require exactly the sort of regular maintenance and attention that most American car owners aren’t so good at doing, I find plenty of nice-looking factory-hot-rod Audis and VWs and Mercedes-Benzes during my junkyard travels. Most of those cars get scrapped because something expensive broke and the third or seventh owner wouldn’t or couldn’t spring for the repair.

Today’s Junkyard Find is different, though — here’s a GTI GLX that was running well enough to drive to the crash, found in a Denver-area self-service yard. (Read More…)

By on September 17, 2019

1987 Shelby CSX (P), Image: Shelby AutomobilesIn the recent Shelby CSX Rare Rides entry, long-term commenter 28-Cars-Later suggested some sporty competitors to the Shelby, all of which cost the same according to the state of Michigan. Japan, Germany, and America are well-represented in today’s trio.

Which one sets your sporty-small-car heart aflame in ’88?

(Read More…)

By on February 4, 2019

2018 Volkswagen GTI front quarter

Volkswagen has big plans for mild hybrid powertrains and fully electric vehicles, but the perpetually popular Golf GTI’s successor won’t be a point of contention for motoring purists. That’s because VW has reportedly pulled a screeching U-turn on that model’s electrification.

According to Autocar, the eighth-generation Golf’s hot (but not hottest) hatch variant won’t go the hybrid route. Instead, company engineers have concerned themselves with incremental improvements over the current model. No electro-mobility here; just fun hatch.  (Read More…)

By on August 6, 2018

Our personal biases frequently lead us to condemn any number of advanced automotive technologies. That’s partly because we’re dinosaurs who fetishize vintage automobiles that, in reality, are actually far worse than we like to pretend. But it’s also because most modern-day tech sucks harder than a jet-powered Dyson. A large portion of that problem stems from automakers implementing technology solely to appease regulators or line their pockets with cash.

Fortunately, this isn’t always the case. You sometimes end up with things like power windows, torque vectoring, the dual clutch transmission, and satellite navigation. And while it’s still handy to know how to read a map, GPS has made car-based voyages a breeze, and it’s only getting better.

Waze, a preferred navigation app for many, offers community-confirmed accident information, fuel pricing, and speed traps. Since its purchase by Google in 2013, the system now finds itself baked into Android Auto. Things are progressing rather nicely, as a new partnership with Volkswagen implements features that cater specifically to driving enthusiasts.  (Read More…)

By on July 13, 2017

hyundai i30 n

After four years of development, Hyundai is ushering a new entry into the hot hatchback category with its i30 N. Based on the newest incarnation of the family friendly i30, known throughout North America as the Elantra GT, the N badge separates it as a serious performance model. Hyundai appears to be taking direct aim at the Ford Focus ST and Volkswagen GTI, both through the N’s performance and styling — which seems to be a handsome amalgamation of the pair.

Available in two trims, the base model i30 N provides 246 horsepower while the performance package quipped version bumps that number up to 271 hp. Both use a turbocharged 2.0-liter and six-speed manual transmission and, according to Hyundai, can manage 0-60 times in the low six-second range. Power is sent to the front tires and only to the front tires, with an electronic limited slip differential to keep things manageable in the corners.

It’s a legitimate hot hatch and Hyundai’s first if you discount the Veloster — which you definitely may.   (Read More…)

By on December 7, 2016

2018 Euro VW GTI Golf

Alexis writes:

I give advice to everyone about what to get and not get, and yet I’m finding it impossible to decide for myself.

I’m a moderately successful realtor living in Toronto, and my 2005 Saturn Ion is about to give up the ghost. Yes, I know, an enthusiast driving an Ion doesn’t really make sense, and I admit it’s a car for people who just gave up — that’s why I bought it four years ago.

Alas, it’s time for something else.

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By on May 19, 2016

2016 Volkswagen Golf R Lapiz blue

$26,415.

$36,470.

$43,395.

The jumps in price from the four-door Volkswagen Golf GTI to the Volkswagen Golf R to the Audi S3, three closely related cars, are not insignificant. Yet in spite of the dollar differences, or perhaps because of the dollar differences, the trio inevitably undergoes the value proposition comparison, as if “value” is the reason 460 buyers per month spend around $40,000 on a Volkswagen hatchback.

I’ve now been privileged to spend a week with each car. Sadly, a Lapiz Blue 2016 Volkswagen Golf R just left my driveway to make room for, as fate would have it, a 2016 Toyota Prius.

And I have no trouble making the case for the Golf R as the fast VeeDub to own. (Read More…)

By on May 2, 2016

2015 Volkswagen GTI, Image: © 2016 Steve Lynch/The Truth About Cars

The automotive media slobbered over the redesigned 2015 Volkswagen GTI sporty hatchback ever since its introduction two years ago. I put 13,500 miles on mine over the past year and I agree that it is one of the great all-around fun cars available today.

I just went through the process of selling it, and that is when the real fun began.  (Read More…)

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