Golf GTI

Opinion | Are new cars actually getting more expensive?

The new Volkswagen Golf, and the excellent revised GTI in particular, got us wondering. Just how much more expensive are new cars compared to their predecessors? 

2017 New Volkswagen Mk7.5 Golf GTI

Having already won rave reviews from both print and online media, the Mk7.5 Volkswagen Golf GTI is already attracting attention. Yet a lot of the Internet comments seem to take umbrage at one particular fact – the cost. To clarify, the new Golf GTI has a list price starting at £27,865. As with any modern car, there is the huge temptation to run wild with the extras, but that basic amount will get you a brand-new three-door GTI, with a manual gearbox. No options, no fancy technology packages, not even metallic paint. Signature GTI colours like Tornado Red will add an extra £250, with metallics needing £570. In short, it’s rather easy to spec’ a GTI which costs over £30,000. Shock, horror, Internet outrage.

The most recent time a new Golf GTI garnered such positive attention was with the introduction of the Mk5 in early 2005. After the lacklustre Mk4 effort, the all-new GTI was an absolute revelation. Tartan seats helped, too. Yet when first introduced, the new Mk5 GTI had a starting price of just £19,995. Yes really, less than £20,000, and although the amount did rise shortly afterward, that’s the value we’ve used for comparison.

2005 Volkswagen MkV Golf GTI

A difference of £7,870 equates to a substantial sounding 39.4% increase in those twelve years between 2005 and 2017! On the other hand, horsepower has gone from 197hp in the Mk5 GTI, to 230hp in the Mk7.5, a jump of only 17%. If it had followed the same pattern as pricing, new GTI models should be rolling out the factory with 274hp. So have Volkswagen left new GTI buyers shortchanged?

Well no, actually. Inflation on the cost of goods and services in the UK has risen on average by around 2.9% each year. That 2.9% figure is based on the Bank of England’s CPI information, and there is little difference when using inflation calculators that rely on RPI data instead. We’re not going to delve into A-Level economics and debate the differences here – this is a car blog, not the Financial Times.

2017 New Volkswagen Mk7.5 Golf GTI

Inflation between March 2005 and March 2017 totals roughly – wait for it – 39%. Meaning a new Mk7.5 Golf GTI costs within £75 of what the financial data tells us it should do in 2017. It also means we’re getting a better deal in 2017 with 230hp, and the continuous improvement in technology and specification that has taken place in the last decade. So the next time someone exclaims the new Golf GTI is far too expensive, feel free to shut them down with data.

We couldn’t just leave it at one car, however. The Golf GTI may happen to be a freak automotive bellwether, so we checked out the new Golf R, just to be sure. But this time we went even further back with our research. All the way back to 2002, and the introduction of the Mk4 R32. (more…)

New – Volkswagen Golf GTI Clubsport S takes Nürburgring record

Did you honestly think everyone had forgotten about hot-hatch Nürburgring lap times, after Honda’s Civic Type-R effort last year? No, of course not. So what better way for VW to celebrate 40 years of the Golf GTI than by setting a new Nordschleife record of 7:49.21.

2016 Volkswagen Golf GTI Clubsport S We’ve already seen the regular GTI Clubsport, and it’s actually on sale now, but the ‘S’ version has been cranked up to 11 to ensure it can beat that pesky Civic around the ‘ring. That means more power, less weight, and a special Nürburgring mode for the driving profile selector. Yeah, we’re not convinced ‘engage Nürburgring mode‘ is quite catchy enough for us to consider rebranding. Sorry, Volkwagen. However, we can say the S has cured the slight indifference we felt  from first reading about the normal Clubsport when announced last year.

2016 Volkswagen Golf GTI Clubsport S The Nürburgring mode tunes the suspension, engine, steering, and exhaust to best suit attacking the twisty German circuit. Racking up a decent ‘ring lap isn’t all about rock-solid suspension, due to numerous bumps and dips littered along the 12.9 miles of tarmac.  (more…)

Frankfurt 2015 – Volkswagen Golf GTI Clubsport

Hitting 40 is kind of big deal, so Volkswagen has decided to celebrate four decades of the Golf GTI in their usual style. Adding a little more power, some bigger wheels, and interior trinkets to create the 2016 GTI Clubsport.

2016 VW Golf GTI ClubsportVW showed off the Golf GTI Clubsport as a concept at the Wörthersee show earlier in the year, and the car has made it through to production format virtually unchanged. It’s hardly revolutionary, following a similar pattern to that introduced by the Mk4 25th Anniversary, but does make for a rather powerful GTI.

2016 VW Golf GTI Clubsport

Power is upped to 261bhp (265PS) from the 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine. It’s an output familiar to anyone who bought a SEAT Leon Cupra 265 SC, but makes this the most powerful production GTI to emerge from the Wolfsburg factory. There’s also the ‘over boost’ function which allows the Clubsport to produce 286bhp (290PS) but only for ten seconds at a time. Surely a quick remap will result in having all the power, all of the time.

Acceleration is improved over the regular GTI, with 0-62mph in 5.9 seconds for the DSG car, with the six-speed manual just behind at 6.0 dead. The DSG loses out by 0.3mph to the 155mph top speed of the manual car, but nobody is going to really mind. Well, except on internet forums, perhaps. Naturally as it’s not a Golf R power only goes to the front wheels.

2016 VW Golf GTI Clubsport

Externally Volkswagen claims there’s an entirely new bodykit with redesigned front bumper, rear diffuser and side skirts though it is hardly a dramatic change. The strakes on the front end now sit proud of the bumper, and get a gloss black finish. In fact VW has gone slightly mad with gloss back, using it on the wing mirrors, and bigger rear spoiler also. (more…)

Friday Photo – New Volkswagen Golf Touring Car Concept

Is the Volkswagen Golf top on your list of cars that spring to mind as successful touring car racers? Nope, we didn’t think so either. But could the Wolfsburg marque finally be about to change that, with this striking looking machine?

2015 Volkswagen Motorsport TCR GolfRoll out the old cliché about good-looking cars being fast, and Volkswagen should be onto a winner with this Mk7 Golf Racer. Part Golf R / part Star Wars-inspired menace, Volkswagen Motorsport certainly know how to produce an aggressively styled race car. We’d probably call it our favourite looking touring car creation since the SEAT Leon Eurocup car, in fact.

2015 Volkswagen Motorsport TCR GolfWhich is somewhat relevant, given that the Touringcar Racer International Series (TCR), which this Golf has been built to specification for, seems to be completely dominated by that Spanish creation. Volkswagen admits that there has been some technology sharing with the Leon, presumably helping to keep costs down. If you’ve never heard of TCR, it’s a production-based race series aimed at offering manufacturers a cheap way into tin top competition. This years TCR series has 11 rounds, and it’s the eighth meeting that Volkswagen will be entering the Golf in this weekend, at the Red Bull Ring in Austria. (more…)

Paris 2014 – Friday Photo – The Volkswagen Polo GTI (again)

Full disclosure; we only featured the new Polo GTI as a Friday photo two weeks ago. But, to coincide with the full launch of the car at the Paris Motor Show, Volkswagen revealed more details of the baby GTI. Including one that’s very important to EngageSportMode.

Dr. Heinz-Jakob Neußer, (right) Volkswagen board member for ‘Development’ is possibly our new favourite person.

The XL Sport may have stolen the show in Paris, but Volkswagen also used the French event to release more details about the new Polo GTI. Unlike EngageSportMode’s prediction, the new GTI doesn’t feature a 750 bhp V12 engine, 4WD, or ten-speed automatic gearbox. Well, we guess you have to save some things for the ‘R’ version…

What it will have, is a 1.8 litre TSI turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine, producing 189 bhp – 12 more than the previous 1.4 TSI – and 236 lb-ft of torque. That’s sufficient for 0-62 mph in 6.7 seconds and a top speed of 147 mph; not bad for the smallest GTI in the Volkswagen family.  In fact, that’s only 0.2 of a second slower to 62 mph than the bigger Golf GTI. A six-speed manual gearbox now comes as standard, meaning buyers are no longer forced to endure a DSG transmission. The seven-speed dual-clutch ‘box does remain on the options list, however.

The biggest news, for ESM at least, is the optional ‘Sport Performance Kit’ that features a Sport button on the dashboard. Yes, the new Polo GTI will have a Sport Mode; we rejoice! Along with changing the stiffness of the optional ‘Sport Select’ suspension, the Sport button will also increase steering weight, sharpen the throttle response, and make the engine noise inside the car louder through the sound actuator. Quite frankly, Volkswagen has ticked every single box on the Sport Mode checklist when putting together the Sport Performance Kit, for which we’re truly happy.

They're not kidding!

They’re not kidding. Best VW switch since the Mk4 Golf ‘Funk’ button?

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New – 2014 SEAT Leon Cupra and Cupra 280

A Cupra version of the latest Leon was inevitable. Less so was a choice of doors and power outputs which the all-new Leon flagship will offer. For the UK, the Cupra 280 will represent the most powerful production car SEAT has offered. So, just what do you get for your money?

  • Choice of 265 or 280 PS 2.0 TSI engines,
  • Standard six-speed manual, with optional DSG gearbox,
  • 3-door Sport Coupe or 5-door hatchback options available,
  • Prices from £25,960 OTR

2014 SEAT Leon Cupra 001

In comparison to the two previous generations of Leon Cupra, the third iteration looks somewhat more restrained with less to differentiate it from its normal stable mates. Compared to the regular Leon FR, only the slightly deeper (Golf R mimicking) front bumper, unique cut-outs below the grille, and bespoke rear-diffuser set the Cupra apart as packing more heat. It’s certainly attractive, and pays credit to the good looks of the base car, but you can’t help but feel SEAT have played it a little safe. Perhaps the bodykit hijinks will be reserved for a Cupra R model?

2014 SEAT Leon Cupra 003

Power comes, predictably, from a 2.0 litre turbocharged petrol engine with two flavours on offer for the SC three-door: 265 PS (261 BHP) or 280 PS (276 BHP) with both churning out 258 lb-ft of torque. As seen with the recent Golf GTI, the Volkswagen Group strategy seems to involve producing two versions with slightly varying power levels and charging a premium for the higher output. (more…)