Fast, fun and affordable. Three words that have endless meaning in the car world. When my father decided to buy a new car a few years ago, I of course jumped all over the situation and found him all kinds of cars. He wanted something that was fast, fun, and of course affordable. Another requirement was a sunroof and manual transmission. In the end, the search came down to two vehicles- the Honda Civic Coupe SI or the Volkswagen GTI.
The decision was simple once we visited the Volkswagen dealership. It was instant love. The SI was out of the picture and my dad was now a proud new owner of a 2012 Volkswagen GTI.
Purchased for about $27,000 the GTI came with a sunroof, 6-speed manual transmission, touch-screen radio, bluetooth connectivity, 18 inch alloy rims with low-profile tires and unique plaid seats. Under the hood sits a turbo-charged Audi engine that produces about 211hp (although its only marked at 200hp). The duel chrome tipped mufflers let off a soft growl as soon as the ignition is turned on. The GTI is offered in a 4-door but this model is the 2-door, which in my opinion has a meaner look. On the grille of the vehicle is the iconic red stripe with the GTI badge proudly displayed between the stripes. The GTI badge is also shown on the trunk of the car. The VW logo stands out both in the front and rear of the vehicle, which I think it is perfectly placed. Look through those unique 18 inch alloy rims and your eye catches sexy red brake calipers.
Open up the doors and the first thing you’ll notice are the plaid cloth seats. This is a feature that has been passed down from each generation of the GTI. For the people who aren’t into plaid, black leather is also available. Personally, I think the seats are beautiful and help give the car a distinct look. The bucket seats are very comfortable and very sporty looking. All the stitching is red which adds to the true sports car feel. The 6-speed manual transmission is simple black leather that leads up to a steel-colored shifter knob. The touch-screen radio is the same you get in any Audi. The steering wheel, which is flat bottomed is absolutely stunning. Black leather, and outlined in red stitching it is truly sexy. In fact, it is the same steering wheel that has been used in Lamborghini Gallardo’s. The backseat has plenty of room for passengers and also has the plaid seats. The added optional Bose stereo sounds pristine!
Clutch down and turn the key. The GTI comes growling to life. A few revs even sound pretty nice. First gear is extremely powerful making for an almost immediate shift into second gear. The car weighs just over a ton so acceleration is excellent. Anyone in the car is thrown back against the seat has the FWD quickly gains traction and launches the car. The engine gets louder and louder making for a pretty good exhaust note. The driver can conquer all 6-speeds pretty quickly.
On winding roads the GTI really shines. With sport tuned suspension the vehicle easily handles turns at speeds of 40mph+ and remains completely flat. The low profile tires are glued to the asphalt and anyone inside the car is not roughly tossed around. The cornering in this vehicle feels as if you were driving in a Porsche. No turn is too hard to handle for the GTI. My dad often loves to take out the car on winding roads and put the suspension to the test- and it never fails.
On an open road in upstate New York, my dad and I decided to open up the GTI. Starting in 6th gear at about 65mph we floored it. With absolutely no turbo-lag the car rocketed forward and seamlessly reached about 115mph before we braked. The speedometer goes up to 180mph which is pretty impressive. The digital speedometer kept skipping numbers as the car reached higher speeds. The vehicle handled with such ease and if this had been an open-track, the GTI would have easily topped the 115mph mark. This car is completely stock, but there are many offered upgrades, some which give the vehicle 500+ horsepower!
Today the GTI has about 10,000 miles on it. It has been driven from Long Island to Tennessee with great ease. It has handled the snow of New York, and even a crazy ice storm in Arkansas. The vehicle is reliable and has never had an issues and VW offers great maintenance deals. The GTI is the perfect car for someone looking to add some fun to their daily driver. With a price tag starting at just $25,000 the GTI is extremely affordable for all power and superb handling it gives. Credited car magazines such as MotorTrend have said that the GTI is much better value than the more expensive R version. I would highly recommend the GTI to anyone. It has quickly become one of my favorite cars to drive and be a passenger in.
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