• Driven: 2011-2012 Volkswagen GTI

    2011 Volkswagen GTI

Sometimes, the whole of a car is greater than the sum of the parts. Such is the case with the 2011 Volkswagen GTI. On paper, the GTI looks fairly unremarkable. The starting price is just over $24,000 for a three-door, or just over $25,000 for a five-door, which makes it slightly more expensive than its closest rival, the five-door Mazdaspeed3. Worse, it gives up a significant amount of horsepower to the Mazda: the GTI makes 200 horsepower from its 2.0-liter, turbocharged four-cylinder, while the Mazda cranks out some 263 horsepower from its 2.3-liter turbo four. If you’re looking for performance and handling, it looks to be an open and shut case for the Mazdaspeed3.

Or is it? Life doesn’t consist of an endless series of mountain roads and racetracks, and even if you hit the track every weekend, chances are that you still drive there on boring public roads. On the road, the GTI’s ride is more refined than the Mazdaspeed’s, and the Mazda’s ever-present (and occasionally puckering) torque steer is absent from the GTI. Sure, it’s not as quick as the Mazda, but the difference is less than you might expect. Volkswagen is very conservative in rating the GTI’s power, and owners who dyno their cars often find that the GTI produces about 215 horsepower at the wheels on 93 octane gas. It weighs about 240 pounds less than the Mazda, too, so the real-world advantage of the Mazda in 0 to 60 times is only a few tenths of a second.


2009 Volkswagen Golf GTI
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The Mazda does stick better in corners, but that’s due to the car’s stiffer suspension and more performance-oriented tires (the GTI comes with H-rated all season tires, and odd choice for a performance car). The GTI still does an admirable job in the twisty bits, and it rewards the owner with a more comfortable ride quality across all conditions. In many ways the GTI feels more like an Audi A3 than its own stablemate, the 2011 Volkswagen Jetta. Besides, if the stock wheels, tires and suspension aren’t to your liking, there’s a huge aftermarket for Volkswagen performance parts.


2009 Volkswagen Golf GTI
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Inside is where the real difference between the cars becomes apparent. The Mazda’s hallucinogenic seating and trim isn’t for everyone, and there are no options to go with a more subdued interior. The materials used in the Mazda don’t feel as high quality as the materials used in the GTI: there’s a lot more hard plastic and less refinement, although the fit and finish on both cars is quite good. The Mazda feels roomier inside than the Volkswagen, although the actual difference in interior volume between the cars is just under six cubic feet.

2012 Additions

2009 Volkswagen Golf GTI
- image 265049

If you’re in the market for a hot hatch, the 2011 Volkswagen GTI is definitely worth a test drive. The 2012 models are beginning to hit dealer lots, and there isn’t a huge difference between the two cars. For 2012, the Volkswagen GTI gets new wheels, revised Bluetooth phone controls, LED running lights, LED license plate lamps, new shift knob, and new interior trim in higher-end versions; in other words, if you can strike a deal on a leftover 2011 model, now is the time to buy.

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  (119) posted on 11.4.2012

This car is unique in its own way. What I can say though is the dsg tranny in this car is excellent. It shifts lightning fast. I kinda prefer manual tranmissions but the dsg is nothing to scoff at.

  (382) posted on 12.7.2011

Well the starting price of this Volkswagen GTI is quite good enough for the satisfying image and features of this GTI. The new wheels of it is simply cool.

  (594) posted on 10.25.2011

The decent and hygienic body paint of this GTI is definitely looking so striking and awesome on it, but I’m quite curious on what will be the interior of this one will look like. I just hope that it is impressive as well.

  (647) posted on 09.9.2011

IMO, the Mazdaspeed3 is more powerful than this vehicle and cheaper. Well, I don’t think that the VW GTI can beat the Mazdaspeed3 in a race. It still needs an awesome modification.

  (474) posted on 09.9.2011

Talking about GTI, I think the figure performance of the car would be higher than its deliver power output. This vehicle is based from a racing vehicle so it should have a high speed performance.

  (300) posted on 09.6.2011

The interior touch is so impressive, cozy and relaxing! They are right the engine performance of this GTI is so remarkable and I also, I love the classy and the sophisticated look that it had.

  (708) posted on 08.12.2011

Yeah, the styling is very elegant and the engine performance is kind of remarkable. And its a good thing that the car is kind of cheaper. I bet this vehicle will spice up the competition in the market.

  (375) posted on 08.12.2011

I wonder on how it looks like inside. The exterior look so awesome and performance to me. Well, it seems that VW assure that this car is reliable even in off-road version. BTW, its not gas guzzler.

  (937) posted on 08.12.2011

Wow! I like the newer styling and design of the VW GTI! The black and white theme for the car makes the vehicle more sporty and aggressive. Plus, its a good thing that the car reaches its deliver power up to 200+ hp. I bet this vehicle is reliable and speedy vehicle.

  (743) posted on 08.12.2011

I really admired the new face of the car. I think the VW have made and awesome modification in the details and design of the GTI. And that’s not all, they have offer a high speed performance for the vehicle as well.

  (415) posted on 08.11.2011

Well the starting price of this Volkswagen GTI is quite good enough for the satisfying image and features of this GTI. The new wheels of it is simply cool.

  (320) posted on 08.11.2011

I would agree that it is better than Mazda Speed3. The performance-oriented tire is quite good and the suspension they put on the car is stiff. I also like the revised accessories of the car. A lot of tweaks are done with this new Volkswagen GTI thus the pricing is high.

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