Long-term test update - 19 May 2008
Got an email from Andreas Loizias in Cyprus recently. He couldn’t believe the GT cost just £1500 less than the Golf GTI in Britain. In Cyprus the difference is nearer to £7k, apparently. My biggest stumbling block with the GT is just how closely aligned its price is to the GTI's.
Imagine if the GT cost £13k in Britain... At that price point, it makes a lot more sense.
By Ben Barry
Since Last Report
Since Last report
Clever engine, cheaper than a GTI…
…Not that much cheaper, I really want a GTI
What I really wanted was a Golf GTI. Problem was, we’d already run one on the CAR fleet back in 2006. So I could give up the Golf dream altogether, or take the next best thing to a GTI: the Golf GT Sport. I chose the latter option, which actually makes for the better test. Everyone knows the GTI is brilliant. But the GT Sport? Most people haven’t even heard of it. Confusingly, there are four models available, all of which look pretty much identical: two 2.0-litre diesels and two 1.4-litre petrols. To stay truest to the next-best-thing-to-a-GTI concept, I’ve gone for the most powerful petrol.
So before long I had the £18,522 VW parked on my drive. The GT looks pretty similar to a GTI and, if you mumble, hard-of-hearing passersby might think it’s one too. Anoraks will point out that the front grille is different and the GTI sideskirts are missing, but let’s be honest: most folks couldn’t tell the two Golfs apart.
I’ve given the options list more of a work out than most owners ever will. My car comes with sat-nav – complete with 30GB hard drive – for £1450; heated leather seats (£1645); 18-inch Charleston alloys (£630); bi-Xenon headlights (£750) and a winter pack, which adds heated washer jets and a low washer fluid warning light for a £205 premium. Which ones are essentials and which needless indulgences? We’ll find out over the next six months.
But what makes this test really interesting is the engine and whether the GT – just £1500 cheaper than the 197bhp GTI in 168bhp trim – can make a case for itself against its brilliantly rounded big brother.
So, that engine then. The GT packs just 1.4-litres but combines both a supercharger and a turbocharger – the former crank-driven device spooling up instantly for low-rpm shove, the latter waiting for exhaust gases to spin a turbine and force more air into the engine.
It’s a well-rated engine, picking up ‘best new engine’ at the 2006 International Engine of the Year awards. And it offers a decent blend of performance and economy too: VW claiming 38.7mpg on the combined cycle, a 0-62mph dash of 7.9sec and a 137mph top speed (GTI: 35.3mpg, 7.2sec, 145mph). The GT is also cheaper to insure than the GTI, but the difference is nowhere near as big as you’d expect – specialists Adrian Flux quote a clean-living 20-year-old from Peterborough £1200 versus £1260 for the GTI.
Gut feel? The figures don’t quite add up and you’re best off holding out for the GTI. But the GT’s got six months to change my mind.
By Ben Barry
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