Golf GTI Mk.VII Road Test. – /CHRIS HARRIS ON CARS
Golf GTI Mk.VII Road Test. – /CHRIS HARRIS ON CARS


CHRIS HARRIS: The new Golf GTI
doesn’t have a beard, but it is lighter, faster,
and more efficient than the car it replaces. Now, many enthusiasts have
always thought that this car is just too boring to wear the
GTI badge, but I’ve always disagreed with that. Does this Mark 7 version
change anything? The Golf GTI is quite a simple
car, but it’s one with a complicated history and
a complicated set of responsibilities. On the one hand, it’s the car
that should be everything to all people. It’s the classless performance
car that does everything all the time for all people. But on the other hand, it’s
a car that was once an enthusiast’s object,
a car that people like me lusted after. And then it became a car that
people like me slightly laughed at. And then more recently
again, it became a car that we respected. So within that, there’s the
full range of emotions. So when I come to test a car
like the Golf GTI, it’s quite difficult, really. Who am I speaking to? Am I speaking to the full
hardcore enthusiast? I’m not sure that person
buys a Golf GTI. Am I speaking to the casual
driver, the person who doesn’t really care? Well, they wouldn’t be watching
one of my videos. I don’t really know. Actually, do you know what? I think a lot of people that
know a lot about cars quietly respect the Golf GTI. And if they were given the
chance to own one car year round, I think they’d look long
and hard at one of these. So let’s have a look
at the Golf GTI. First of all, some numbers. This car has 220 horsepower,
because it’s the base GTI. It doesn’t have the performance
pack, which costs another about 1,000 pounds
and gives you another 10 horsepower. So we have 220. We have 250 foot-pounds of
torque, a maximum speed claimed at 152 miles an hour,
0 to 60 in 6.5 seconds. It all seems entirely
reasonable and acceptable to me. Basic setup of the Golf? Well, the Golf body, independent
suspension all the way around, electric power
steering, and a turbocharged four-cylinder engine. It’s becoming a kind of normal
recipe, isn’t it? But Volkswagen reckons
they’ve added some abnormal stuff to this. They’ve brought in people from
other projects, let’s say, within the Volkswagen group, a
man who was involved with the GT3 RS, 3.8-liter version, the
Gen 2 one that we all loved. Carsten Schebstat, he has
worked on this car. And to me, initially, it feels
like a clever car on the road. It feels nice and supple. They haven’t gone down the
crazy, hardcore, overdamped, oversprung route. And that has to be
a great start. Now, even though we have an
open differential, you can turn off the traction
control in this. And it scrabbles its way
out of second gear turns pretty well. I wouldn’t really miss
the diff on the road. It’s got a really
nice front end. It’s accurate. Steering, as ever in the
electric way, doesn’t have any great sense of connection
to it. But they’re getting good
at this stuff. I think we’re going to be at a
point fairly soon where they can start to replicate the feel
of hydraulic steering. I think the actual weighting is
good, even though it does shunt around a bit according
to speed. It’s an enjoyable car to drive
fast, but it’s not a kind of car that you decide to grow
horns and drive too hard. However, if you do, its
competence comes through and through and through. This has been developed to the
nth degree in this car. You can just tell they’ve spent
time getting all the performance from it that
they possibly can. There are three driving
modes in this new GTI. Normally, this stuff doesn’t
interest me because I think you should just have
a suspension setup and deal with it. But this car’s quite
interesting. We start out in Comfort. And I like cars in Comfort,
even cars with badges like GTI, because they tend to
work better on the road. So we’ve got this quite
long travel feel. It’s supple. It feels really, really nicely
damped over these roads– and comfortable. It’s not sort of irritating me,
but it doesn’t feel too sloppy and lazy. It wants to change direction. It’s an agile car like this. But it’s rolling enough
to give me an idea of what’s going on. If I go to Normal,
I don’t have a profoundly different car. In fact, I still seem to retain
90% of that comfort, maybe more, and I just
lose a bit of roll. The steering remains sharp. It’s a variable ratio rack, so
I’ve got 2.1 turns, much more resistance at low speed than
I have at high speed. So in Normal, I think it’s
rather nicely balanced. In fact, I might leave
it in Normal. This is the interesting
one for me, though. If I go into Sport, normally
when I press the Sport button in car, it’s a button that
says, I’ll tell you what. Let’s totally [BLEEP] the dynamics of the car and
make it horrible to drive unless you’re on a really
flat racing track. But no one drives a Golf
GTI on a really flat racing track, do they? But I’m now in Sport mode, and
this car has not been shafted. I’ve got flatter cornering, but
I’ve retained a sort of supple edge to the suspension. It feels like that initial
spring rate, that initial amount of spring, isn’t too
harsh, almost like there’s a variable rate spring
on the car. And so I’m cushioned. And it’s not unpleasant. Yes, it’s firmer. Yes, I’ve got more control. But it hasn’t wrecked
it for the road. I think that’s a very important
distinction, because all too often, Sport
mode wrecks things. And in the Golf GTI on
the road, it doesn’t. The motor itself, well, you
can look at it two ways. It’s either a bit bland
and not that much fun. Or it’s ruthlessly efficient
and impressively smooth. Four cylinders, to me, used to
mean quite harsh, but this is smooth as you like. And as for the turbocharging and
the throttle response, I cannot fault it– fourth gear, 80 clicks. You put your foot down,
and it just goes. I mean, really goes. And it gives you the impression
of far more performance than a car with a
claim of 0 to 62, time of 6 and 1/2 seconds. And your gearbox, the
gearshift is lovely. It makes me ask a few
more questions of Renault, this does. If Volkswagen can make a manual
gearbox for the Golf GTI, a car which I think is more
often not specified with a DSG gearbox, then why can’t
they do a manual gearbox for their Clio RS? This is a lovely shift. Short shift, but not too short,
very, very accurate. The clutch pedal’s nice. In fact, the relationship
between the three pedals is quite good. And when you’re pushing on the
heel and toe, it’s quite natural as well. I’ve haven’t driven the DSG yet,
but we might get a skid in one of those tomorrow. But we know all about that
gearbox and just how efficient it is. This five-door car with a manual
gearbox is a very, very nicely balanced package. But it has got a couple
of problems. The first problem is its price,
and the second problem is related to that. It’s not a cheap car. If you were to buy this car
and specify it with five doors, a DSG gearbox, and the
performance pack, you’d end up with a car that cost
over 28,000 pounds. And that drags it right into
BMW M135i territory. Now, I know people think I’m
boring about that car. But it has 300 horsepower
and probably weighs a little bit less. And it’s performance is on a
completely different level to the Golf GTI. So I’m worried that the Golf
GTI’s marketplace has been taken away from it. I can’t really give you any
answer to that until I drive the two of them back to back. But it is interesting to note,
isn’t it, that a near 30,000-pound Golf GTI is upon
us, and yet BMW has a turbocharged six-cylinder
rival to that car in the market already. [CAR ENGINE ROARING] CHRIS HARRIS: –the basic
layout of the car. Well, this is– [BLEEP]. What are those? Bald sheep! They look like Gollum. Did you see those? Scared me. Start again. MALE SPEAKER: It’s Gollum! CHRIS HARRIS: Wrong. [INAUDIBLE] Middle Earth.

71 thoughts on “Golf GTI Mk.VII Road Test. – /CHRIS HARRIS ON CARS”

  1. officersnout says:

    Mr Angry.

  2. laci maci says:

    the best review possible

  3. ThePorsche4life says:

    What's the Porsche engineers name who worked on the MK7? I can't seem to look him up.

  4. callmekitt says:

    Chris, your thoughts are always so spot on! Im looking right hard at a GTI for a all-around-the year right now 🙂

  5. Doctor Ferdinand says:

    I just can't imagine this car with an open diff, an LSD should be standard on a GTI.

  6. Darcy Knight says:

    Great car

  7. Oliver Paton says:

    Chris is underestimating the love of the golf. the BMW is ugly as hell

  8. Steven Jackson says:

    Chris, Loving your videos, Amused, a bit, that aside from your irritation at " sport " buttons, the other thing that you were excited about was the "naked sheep"  DID YOU HAVE YOUR WELLIES N SHIN PADS HANDY?   keep up the vids, some of the most interesting and entertaining reviews, and fanatical car porn I have seen. Well done.

  9. Pat O'Hara says:

    With just a downpipe and Stage 2 GIAC tune my three door Mk 7 continues to impress me with how quick it is! Noticeably quicker than the GFs 2016 421 HP Mustang GT V8, although that is completely stock.

  10. KAI BIDELL says:

    Completely disagree. The M135i is not a good hatchback. It is too slippy and is very pricey. The golf has plenty of power and can be chipped to add 70 hp or more for $600 US dollars. The point of a hatchback is to be an automotive swiss army knife. The m135i is not that. If you are gonna get a beemer pitch in the extra cash and just buy an M3. Big price difference, yes. But the M135i is a car that should have never been.

  11. Hasco De La Vega says:

    Chris Harris you said the GTI is pricy, but you guys doing car reviews you are never talking about cost repairs. Go to repair a BMW you will check later if the GTI was pricy.

  12. S Mncwabe says:

    I want one.

  13. Fungist aka (B-laze) says:

    electric steering?? what if a fuse blew, or a short or something? sorry i live 15 years back in time..

  14. Enrique says:

    is the 2013 GTI a mk6 or mk7?

  15. Mark Proudfoot says:

    Andrew young has a pink one of these….

  16. GTI Mod Blog says:

    Fantastic cars I think I would buy the BMW new. But the GTI can be had for much less used and provide you with a more care-free maintenance schedule 🙂

  17. Sneedle Woods says:

    chris harris is awesome

  18. Simon Zhao says:

    No price problem in the USA. I just bought 17 GTI sport which has the performance pack and lighting package for 26000 usd. Very good value in my opinion

  19. Super_Slav says:

    Better off getting a retune for almost half that and get allot more than 7kw.

  20. Sun Trails says:

    Seat Leon FR anyone ?

  21. davidhindu says:

    if it doesnt have a performance pkg then the hp on it is 210HP and not 220.

  22. Robz1471 says:

    I LOVE IT WHEN CHRIS TALKS ABOUT SPRING AND DAMPER RATES!! 🙂 GEEK ALERT

  23. cody ellis says:

    Well this video has been sitting in my watch later and favorites list since it first aired years ago! Chris compelled me to make the silly chose to sell my almost paid off mkV Jetta, for my 15 mkVII GTI! I've not regretted that decision since the day I took it home! Looking back though, I wish I had found a GTI S form with the performance package. I think that trim, with that package, may have been the best deal for this generation (if you found it without silly mark ups). What I've found about the lighting package, particularly what the IIHS has said, is that these xenon lamps are shit, and don't serve their purpose, providing vision. With that said I'd stick with the standard halogens, and find either some led bulbs or a good aftermarket kit. Back to the S with the performance package, compared with the current sport package, I think you'd save a few clams(dollars) with that kit.

  24. tuska20000 says:

    I do like the golf r. but then i also like the 135i…
    FIGHT!!!!!!!

  25. tuska20000 says:

    I do like the golf gti. But then i also like the 135i…
    FIGHT!!!!!!!
    Golem lol

  26. Rob Cohen says:

    28 thousand? what that's not that bad. 28 thousand POUNDS? Oh that sucks. I guess the fact that they make them in Mexico makes it cheaper for the USA but more expensive for Europe?

  27. chiswickbeasty says:

    Sold my R. Too removed from the driving experience.

  28. The Cafe Chaser says:

    The GTI is a more practical car than the BMW 135i. Rear passenger space in the 135i is non-existent. The boot space is terrible and while the rear wheel drive is a blast in dry conditions, you're totally screwed in snow or ice. Not to mention that the GTI is also more economical to fuel (and insure.)

  29. Birmingham racing says:

    Can't go wrong with a gti

  30. zack worrell says:

    Respect! Nuf said.

    Where VW the GTI, Porsche the 911, BMW the M3, Benz and Audi have failed to maintain an Iconic sports car which they have crafted and celebrated through time without fucking it up or moving too far away from its roots. If only Porsche still offered Tartan interiors.

  31. TheOriginalBRad says:

    owned many of the main tuners now drive a gti most pleasant of all, also the most frustrating complex engine. Parts fail other cars don't even have.

  32. James McHale says:

    Is that a little trump at 7:24?

  33. n8tehgr8 says:

    "No one drives a GTI on a flat racetrack." Uh… I do… GTIs are great on the track.

  34. Christopher King says:

    Nice review, picking mine up Wednesday. Reflex Silver SE 6 speed. Lighting Package, roof, mats, and roadside assistance options. $6750 off MSRP. Stoked !!!!

  35. A. Elder says:

    Fantastic review, Chris! Thanks! Held great weight when I got my 2017 GTI in July. I got the DSG (like many, the wife didn't want to learn stick), and haven't looked back at all. My last car was a stick, but this is FAR more fun with the paddles and how quick the shifts are. And dead on: no reason to drive this in anything but Sport mode! I, personally, only drive mine in paddle/Tiptronic mode with the Sport mode steering and suspension. Responsive as hell, and a straight-up blast to drive. Cheers.

  36. mistertee says:

    I bought a regular Golf and wish I had gone for the GTI. It really is perfect.

  37. Li U MAAA says:

    a golf gti will be always an golf

  38. Chris McConnell says:

    In the US I bought a new SE which includes the lighting package, limited slip differential, upgraded brakes, 10 extra HP, leather and a moonroof for $26,800. It’s honestly more fun to drive than the M Sport 328 it’s replacing. Not as plush and power is not as smooth across the rev range, but it just makes me smile more often. Both great cars!

  39. Rellings says:

    Fantastic, quality review.

  40. Manny Echaluce says:

    getting discounted right now in the US 😀 good deal, but value plummet like a rock immediately only after a few months of purchanse, get a used 1 year old one of more than 1/2 the original…

  41. thapelo Max says:

    gti 7 is expensive

  42. Lemme Smash says:

    The 3 door golf, especially the gti and the r, is one of the best looking hot hatches ever made. It's such a subtlety handsome car. My dad had a mk6 and it was loads of fun even as a passenger.

  43. Roberto Moreno says:

    in europe have same price than bmw 220i

  44. DOMg00g says:

    That infotainment screen looks much larger and nicer than the U.S. model

  45. Steve Lane says:

    What a beard!

  46. Little R says:

    Bought a mkii and fell in love with GTI's. Forgetting the Mkiii GTI's are magnificent vehicles.

  47. Kevin Hibbard says:

    Damn I really want this car for a daily driver for my wife.

  48. Nguyen Duong says:

    Bought my 16 GTI S Base brand new for $24,000

  49. CryptoChat says:

    Which would you rather buy? Toyota Prius that gets 50 mpg/highway and puts out 120 hp on a CVT transmission, –OR– a Golf GTI that gets 35 mpg/highway and puts out 320 hp (Cheap tune) on a DSG transmission? This car is the best of both worlds. It gets just as good gas mileage as a tiny little wimpy sedan/hatchback… but you can unleash 400+ lb-tq in an instant with almost zero turbo lag on a responsive dual clutch transmission. This car is a steal… fully loaded Sports trim car; leather seats, performance package limited slip, sun roof, etc. for $25,000 brand new? — If you want a FUN muscle car and don't care too much about mpg, buy the Ford Mustang GT at $35,000.

  50. Timothy ONeill says:

    Chris you’re video is awesome as always I was a lifelong VW customer and after my last purchase 2016 GTI autobahn the clutch went after just 25k and they would not cover this repair on their extended warranty? Fool once shame on you fool twice shame on me. The end of my VW family purchase

  51. skilegit says:

    Did a goose fart at 7:24?

  52. Nick Rubien says:

    Gti is such a bargain in America you can get a 2 year old Gti less that 30k miles for under 20,000usd

  53. Garrett Adams says:

    Just bought a base model 2017 GTI for 19,900 USD. Thanks to Jeff Smith VW, but still, there is no pricing issue with this car.

  54. Robin Marples says:

    The Léon cupra sub 8 pack is not more expensive but so much faster

  55. Rob , says:

    Best review ever

  56. seriouscatisserious says:

    *BALD SHEEP*

  57. Unseen Voice says:

    Really good car. It's so much fun to drive and it's very practical as a daily driver. Gets 34 MPG on the highway and it's turbo charged. Love it!

  58. Painter Lava Lamp says:

    My boss actually spent almost a month debating on getting the GTI or the WRX, a month he kept asking all of us what we thought was the better car personally I think the GTI is better because well I babysit my foster cousins all the time I also love hatchbacks

  59. CHARLES PEREIRA says:

    Your missing the lsd if you don't have the performance pack…

  60. Victor Rykowski says:

    How about buying it as a first car over a few year

  61. 15october91 says:

    M135i

  62. David Stauffer says:

    Shop it. Bought a "used" 18 Autobahn mt with 1100 mi for 28000. Nothing wrong. 6 years of warranty still on it.

  63. Day Today says:

    i owned a 2018 GTI Autobahn and my experience out of this car is that i don't look at any other cars this year i will take it to the track which i"ve never been, wish me luck!

  64. OspreyBravo18 says:

    If you're watching this video in 2019 go watch the Mighty Car Mods episode where they put a modded Evo 9 against a stock Golf R.

  65. OspreyBravo18 says:

    BMW M135i never made it across the pond. The 135i however did and that car was 39-42k which is Golf R territory. At least the price of the 135i used has finally settled.

  66. butchmeister 80 says:

    Nice just put a deposit on one

  67. pietro scelfo says:

    This is the best mk7 review. As for price, the basic S is all you need. I did spend for bigger brakes, though.

  68. SpaceMissile says:

    6:48 – He mentions that the "heel to toe is quite natural too."

    Does he mean like the pedal tilt, or is he talking about heel-toe down-shifting? I cannot make my foot work for heel-toe in this car. feels like the pedals are spaced oddly for that.

  69. SuperDigitalMe says:

    I want one!!! Oh wait. I have one. A clubsport 😂

  70. 1066gaz says:

    Excellent review from chris.

  71. Nick Ishchuk says:

    2019 here.
    Damn that beard!

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