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2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI Long-Term Update 3

Motor Trend logo Motor Trend 6/19/2015 Brian Vance, Motor Trend Staff
2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI Long-Term Update 3

You'll recall that past updates on this hatchback were written by Rory Jurnecka. Since then, Rory has politely parted ways with MT to become the features editor for Automobile. On his way out the door he tossed me the keys to the GTI and told me to take pleasure in racking up the miles in one of the best GTIs VW has ever sold in America.

Knowing that this bright red Euro hatch (VW calls it Tornado Red) has a torque-heavy, direct-injection, turbo engine and a quick-shifting transmission, I was eager to make it my daily driver. It's also a fully loaded Autobahn model, meaning it's been jammed up jelly tight with lots of premium options.

MotorTend Image© Provided by MotorTrend MotorTend Image I was hoping we'd ordered the car with the Performance package. Unfortunately we didn't, but after giving it some thought I realized it's for the best. Sure, Perf pack GTIs come juiced with 10 extra horsepower, bigger brakes, and a torque-sensing limited-slip differential. All fun stuff and a solid equipment combo that no doubt can help the GTI more triumphantly lap your local racetrack. Yet none of the $1,495 package is needed to rat race the rough and bumpy streets of most American cities. Regrettably, dynamic chassis control is also held back on non-Perf pack GTIs. This system allows for three different settings of suspension damping providing variability in vehicle ride. Such options would have been nice for smoothing out the road when the asphalt turns to yuck.

The rearview camera hides under the logo, but the actuation can be heard from the driver's seat every time it peeks its lens out.© Provided by MotorTrend The rearview camera hides under the logo, but the actuation can be heard from the driver's seat every time it peeks its lens out. That aside, VW's driving mode selection is standard. Something that at first seems unnecessary in a hatchback that is, by default, sport-oriented. But after a few days of bouncing around the Drive mode options via the button near the shifter, you can start to more clearly understand VW's reason for allowing different throttle responses and steering feel weights. The throttle response change is easy to detect, but the steering change takes a more discerning driver to distinguish, yet they work symbiotically to more accurately focus and sharpen the car's sporting objectives.

This GTI is equipped with an la carte combo package from Volkswagen that includes parking sensors and forward collision warning. The $695 package has thus far kept the red paint from any unintended brushes with other parked cars and has once or twice kept me from nearly rear-ending my fellow freeway drivers.

12-volt placement just aft of the shifter is perfect for muting my necessary but noisy radar detector.© Provided by MotorTrend 12-volt placement just aft of the shifter is perfect for muting my necessary but noisy radar detector. Read more on our long-term Volkswagen Golf GTI here:

2015-Volkswagen-Golf-GTI-top-view1© Provided by MotorTrend 2015-Volkswagen-Golf-GTI-top-view1

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