POSTED: Friday, December 18, 2009 - 10:42pm
UPDATED: Wednesday, March 17, 2010 - 11:07am
A real bahn-burner...
Some of us are old enough to remember the controversy when Volkswagen finally gave up the classic Beetle. But we’re also young enough to appreciate the VW GTI.
As far as what to call this car, I wish VW would make up its mind. It was the Rabbit back in the 1970’s, then the Golf, then Rabbit again, and now we hear it is the Golf. Whatever the heck it is, it is a blast.
The latest little hot rod is smoother and sleeker without giving up the essential practicality that made it a hit in the first place. It is a smooth box, period. There’s really no way to sugarcoat this for you. No matter what angle I took with the camera…it pretty much has the sex appeal of a small UPS truck.
But once you get behind the sporty 3-spoke wheel, it doesn’t matter, because, when you’re inside, you can’t see the outside. The cockpit is a delightful place in which to conduct business, with a perfect instrument and control layout and a 6-speed manual gearbox that’s as smooth and confident as Tiger Woods in a Vegas disco.
All this fun comes from a 2-liter, 207 horsepower turbocharged 4-cylinder engine and the GTI handles like it’s all-wheel-drive. It is not and it is sweet.
You can flog it like a rented mule and drive the mileage down to 15 per gallon or drive like a normal human and nurse it to nearly 30 in the city. But if you’re going to be a normal human, get a plain jane Golf.
This car is for folks who like their practicality with an occasional bout of full, bull goose loony.
The GTI starts at $25,000.