The 2017 Volkswagen Golf GTI is solid, sporty, fast, functional and fuel efficient.
That’s a rave review I could end right here, but my picky Herald editor demands details.
GTI’s quintessence is a frisky 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine generating 210 horsepower. Its peak torque of 258 lb-ft arrives early and stays late, from 1,500 to 4,500 rpm.
There are four trim levels of the 2017 Golf GTI: S, Sport, SE and Autobahn. All are available with a six-speed manual transmission or a six-speed automatic, and base pricing ranges from $25,595 to $35,195 plus a destination charge of $820.
My tester was an SE with manual transmission. Interacting with the GTI gearshift is such a pleasure I shifted all the time, whether it was necessary or not.
When equipped with the six-speed manual transmission, the Golf GTI has a fuel economy rating of 24 mpg city and 34 mpg highway. The optional dual-clutch automatic garners 24 mpg city and 32 mpg highway.
It will surprise no one when I say the Golf GTI was born to be driven on twisty roads.
Externally, the GTI is distinguished visually from other Golf models in the VW lineup by a red horizontal highlight on the grille, LED fog lights positioned within a series of horizontal strakes on either side of the grille’s unique mesh pattern, red brake calipers, bright exhaust tips on both sides of a unique rear diffuser, and a roof spoiler.
A sampling of the standard features on the SE trim includes an adjustable sport steering wheel with auxiliary controls for the infotainment and connectivity systems, a power tilt and sliding sunroof, rain sensing windshield wipers with heated washer nozzles, a 6.5-inch touchscreen, and a Fender premium audio system whose sound quality is a reason to live.
The artfully designed and meticulously crafted Golf GTI SE interior has seating for five, technically. Realistically it’s a four-seater because a person sitting in the middle rear seat is someone we’d all feel sorry for. Behind the rear seat is a handy, usefully sized covered cargo area accessed from a lift-up fifth door, or hatch.
There’s some serious bolstering for the front seats, essential for a sports car as true as the Golf GTI.
As I write this, the Volkswagen Golf GTI SE is still in my possession, so I’ll end here. As John Muir would not exactly say, the roads are calling and I must go.
2017 VOLKSWAGEN GOLF GTI SE
Base price, including destination charge: $30,715
Price as driven: $30,715
Mary Lowry is an independent automotive writer who lives in Snohomish County. She is a member of the Motor Press Guild, and a member and past president of the Northwest Automotive Press Association. Vehicles are provided by the manufacturers as a one-week loan for review purposes only. In no way do the manufacturers control the content of the reviews.