Ricochet News

The legendary Golf GTi

By Graeme Lund - Aug 11, 2017
The legendary Golf GTi

Eight generations (or rather seven generations and a facelift) later and the Golf Gti is still a legend.  Not many people can trace their family heritage back eight generations – perhaps if they were all legends they might.  Yes, royalty certainly know their family history, so I guess it is fair to say that the Golf GTi is motoring royalty.

It was with much anticipation that I drove the Golf GTi off the Tavcor VW forecourt and not before a thorough briefing by Craig Dunnington, of the Tavcor VW sales team. 

I remember the original GTi and in particular, my uncle’s red “pocket rocket” as he called it.  It had two dials and about ten buttons – at least seven more than the average car back then.  That car was awesome, even when sitting on the back seat, as we tore up the lawn on my grandparent’s farm.

The eighth generation Golf GTi is positively Sci-Fi compared to generation one and this is why Craig took some time to explain the features.  The dashboard and 8" Touch Screen infotainment centre are magnificent.  Certainly as good, if not better than any other cars in its class, and a good match for some of the top of the range executive models that I have driven.

It took me just 17 seconds, a record in my book, to connect my cell phone to the infotainment system.

Once on the first piece of open road, yip, you guessed it, I hit the accelerator – hard! I was not happy.  Well, for a few seconds I was disappointed because it felt like the GTi was sluggish but then I looked at the speedometer and realised that I was doing what Craig had told me not to do.  Honestly Craig, the GTi simply took off and the auto gearbox did it so smoothly that I didn’t realise what I was doing!

The six speed, 2.0l, Turbo Stratified Injection engine produces 169kW of power and 350Nm of torque.  It’s no wonder Jeremy Clackson considers the GTi the world’s best hot hatch and uses one as his everyday run about.

Being a GTi, the suspension is harder than your average sedan or hatchback but this does not mean that your back teeth rattle every time you hit a speedbump or pothole.  In fact, I hardly noticed the rough patches on the road but I did notice how the GTi stuck in the corners even though my right foot was giving the accelerator a strong nudge (sorry Craig).

I took the GTi down and up Port Elizabeth’s famous Brickmakers Kloof.  This has been my favourite testing ground for any vehicle because of the combination of speed bumps, pot holes, steep incline and traffic circles at both ends. It was awesome!  Craig, perhaps its best that you don’t look at your tracking device.

The Golf GTi is packed with features, to many for me to fit into this limited worded article, but Start-Stop with Brake Energy Recuperation, Electronic Stability Programme (ESP), Transverse differential lock (XDS), Front, side and curtain airbags with knee airbag for driver, Multi-collision brake system, Fatigue detection "Rest Assist" and Sports suspension are perhaps a few that most impressed me.

My advice is to take the GTi for a test drive and you can do so at Tavcor VW on William Moffatt Expressway, but give them a call first on 041 390 1200.