The Volkswagen GTI enters into its 7th generation in 2015. The new GTI is bigger and more powerful than the outgoing car, promising both a faster and a more comfortable driving experience. Despite the increase in size, the new GTI is actually more than 80 lbs. lighter than the previous car, a development that aids both acceleration and fuel economy. Styling wise, the car looks somewhat similar to its predecessor, but gives the impression of being sleeker, sharper and lower.
The GTI is powered by a 2.0L Turbocharged 4-Cylinder engine making 210 hp and 258 foot-pounds of torque, more than 50 foot-pounds more than the 2014 GTI. A standard 6-speed manual sends power to the front wheels. Volkswagen also offers a dual clutch 6-speed for buyers who would prefer using steering wheel mounted paddle shifter or who would simply like to have an automatic mode. Acceleration is good with either transmission, but the dual clutch unit is able to shift faster than the standard transmission and even features a "launch control" mode for occasional trips to the drag strip. When equipped with the manual transmission, the GTI is rated at 25 mpg in the city and 34 mpg on the highway, significant improvements from the 21 mpg and 31 mpg of the 2014 car.
The GTI comes in three different trims: S, SE and Autobahn. The S trim may be the lowest trim level, but the GTI is already an upscale version of the Golf, so the S still comes quite well equipped for a hatchback of its size. The S is available in both four door and two body styles and comes standard with 18-inch alloy wheels, LED fog lights, Bluetooth connectivity, Sirius XM satellite radio, a touchscreen infotainment system, steering wheel mounted audio controls, heated front seats and a leather wrapped steering wheel, shift knob and handbrake lever.
The GTI SE comes with everything from the S trim, plus a sunroof, leather seating, a rearview camera, keyless access, push button start, rain-sensing windshield wipers, automatic headlights and a nicer sound system.
The top of the line Autobahn edition comes only as a 4-door. It features a built in navigation system, automatic climate control and a 12-way power adjustable driver's seat.
Several option packages are available for the GTI. For those looking for a sportier experience, the Performance Package offers a limited slip differential and bigger brakes. Horsepower also rises to a total of 220 and the further option of an adaptive dampening system is also offered.
The GTI is also available with a Lighting Package that adds Bi-Xenon headlights and daytime running lights.
Finally, a Driver Assistance package is also offered, it includes parking sensors and a forward collision warning system.