Volkswagen Golf V GTI 2009 test

Golf V GTIGTI…three letters synonymous with affordable sports cars for more than 30 years.

When you think of GTIs, the first thing that comes to mind is the Golf. For 2009, Volkswagen’s pocket rocket has been given a face lift as well as increased power….

Golf V GTIThis GTI features all the attributes of the new Golf 6; including the front and rear lights with an overall line that is very similar…there is also a new honeycomb radiator grill, enlarged wheel wells, a twin pipe exhaust. The Golf GT1 can be had with either the standard 17-inch wheels or 18-inch on option.

A discreet roof spoiler above the rear window adds to the sporty look, but VW has been careful not to overdue it. Some among us may have preferred a bit more aggressiveness but keeping things humble isn’t a bad idea when it comes to everyday use.

It’s the same story for the interior where the new Golf GTI is a perfect mix of sport and sobriety, despite being just a touch austere for our taste, but the nifty steering wheel, with its chrome inserts and red piping, saves the day.

The seats are both comfortable and enveloping. If you don’t go for the option leather seats that you see here, you can have some totally rival tissue seats that were first used on the original 1976 Golf GTI.

Golf V GTIWhile these two cars continue the legacy of the affordable sports car, they are, all the same, quite different….there are 33 years of technological advances and a good 100 horsepower separating them.

It doesn’t take long to get the feel of being behind the wheel of a Golf, but here the suspension is a lot stiffer. Chassis roll and body movement have to be at their strictest minimum, but it does make for an uncomfortable ride, especially in town, where the ultra stiff shocks take their toll.

But that is what we’ve come to expect with a Golf and what were negatives soon become big positives on secondary roads.

Golf V GTIWith very little rolling and a very satisfying and safe road handling; the GTI is a sane and amusing little car, even when undoing the ESP, which is a must if you’re to exploit al its capabilities.

The VW engineers did some fine work on the 2-litre TSI adding 10 more horsepower to the existing motor for a total of 210bhp and a lot more character than the older GTI power plant.

This reworked engine offers good fun, especially from 4500 rpm, where the GTI gets its second wind with a grunt far more pleasing to the ear.

Despite a certain amount of complacency that has set in over the years, the GTI retains its original esprit and this version is more powerful and gets better fuel economy.

The Golf GTI is an affordable sports car icon at €27,500, making it one of the least expensive cars in its class.

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