If you want a Golf with a little more spunk, then there are a few avenues you could go down. There’s the hybrid route with the GTE, the diesel path with the GTD or the old-school GTI. There’s also the all-encompassing Golf R, if you’re looking for serious punch and all-weather traction.
Say you’ve gone for the traditional GTI but you’re desiring a little more oomph, where do you go? Well, this could be the answer – the GTI Performance. Power is boosted to 242 from the regular GTI’s 227bhp, while a locking front differential and larger brakes are added for improved handling.
Inside, you also get Volkswagen’s excellent Discover Pro infotainment system, accessed via a 9.2-inch colour touchscreen.
The media system is standard on the Performance, bringing a good level of value for money to the £35,364 car. It’s certainly not cheap, but you do get a lot of technology and performance for the outlay, as well as plenty of badge prestige with that all-important GTI moniker.
The GTI Performance uses the Golf’s regular 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder motor, which here produces 242bhp and a healthy 370Nm of torque. It’s driven to the front wheels through a seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox, controlled via steering-mounted paddles.
There’s also a range of safety systems fitted as standard, including electronic stability control and a full traction control system – as well as the previously mentioned differential. Our test car also featured dynamic chassis control (an £830 optional extra), which is a welcome addition when driving on country roads where a softer ride is imperative, and being able to change the ride softness is a huge plus.
Ride & Handling
In truth, the regular GTI feels sweet enough to drive without the inclusion of more power. However, that extra punch offered by this Performance model does feel noticeable, though because of the Golf’s unflustered way of delivering power it rarely feels sharp or raw. That’s our biggest criticism – the GTI Performance just doesn’t get under your skin in the way other cars do.
The acceleration is brisk, the larger brakes are sharp and have plenty of feel while the automatic gearbox will happily slush its way through the cogs – though manual changes lack the immediacy that you’d like. The dynamic chassis control is an optional extra we’d choose, as it allows you to soften the ride off enough for UK roads.
Interior & Equipment
The interior of the GTI Performance is finished to a high standard, with plenty of premium materials used throughout. There’s red stitching on the steering wheel and gear knob gaiter, and chrome-plated air vents to help lift the overall look of the cabin, too. Honeycomb black inserts also give the cabin a little more pizzazz. Despite being well-made, it’s not exactly a party atmosphere inside.
The cloth seats are hugely supportive, and should be ideal for anyone thanks to height and lumbar adjustment. They’re also heated – an added bonus in the colder months. You’ll also find 308 litres of seats-up boot space, rising to 1,270 litres with them folded down, ensuring that the GTI Performance remains practical as well as fun to drive.
Our test car came in at a price of £35,364 — which puts it in the territory of the Golf R. Considering how good the regular GTI is without the added performance, this begins to make it something of a hard sell when, for the same price, you can get a more powerful (if less-involving) machine.
As for running costs, the GTI Performance can achieve a respectable 44.8mpg on the combined cycle. Insurance group 29 covers the Golf GTI Performance.
The GTI Performance adds a little extra sparkle to the regular GTI offering a little more power for those who want it. High equipment levels mean that the Performance does feel like a complete package, while solid build quality justifies the price tag.