Volkswagen Golf GTI

Top 7 (or 8) New Cars of 2017 with Ned Jasper

Ned Jasper is back, and he’s picked out the best new cars we’ve seen during 2017. You might well be surprised by what takes the top honours!

Those of you who are regular readers of EngageSportMode will know that it has become somewhat of a tradition that each year at roughly this time, I take a look back through the years motoring new arrivals, and pick a select few to be crowned the best new cars of the year.

This year, however, there’s a slight problem with that. As, over the last 12 months or so, the only car I’ve actually had the chance to write about is the Porsche Panamera Sport Turismo. Now the Panamera is an awesome machine, and undoubtedly one of the coolest cars to be released in 2017, being that it is both a Porsche and an estate. But it would end up being a rather short list.

Luckily for me, Editor John has been busy this year, so I’ll be pinching a some of the cars he’s written about. Plus I’ll add in one or two extras. Right, let’s get started, shall we?

7. Tesla RoadsterTop 7 New Cars of 2017

Elon Musk snuck in this little beast at the end of his Semi-truck presentation last month, and although it may have looked like an afterthought there, the engineering that’s behind it all certainly isn’t.

This is the car you want in a game of top trumps. Headline figures are as follows: 0-60mph in just 1.9 seconds – that will make it the quickest production car on the planet. It then goes on to run a 1/4-mile in 8.8 seconds, all the way to a top speed of over 250mph. No exact figure has been given, but it looks like they’ve got another certain speed record in their sights. All-electric range: is 620 miles. Impressive, sure, but considering the other two figures, I wouldn’t care even if it did half that.

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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…)

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…)

Game On – Volkswagen GTI Supersport Vision GT

Gran Turismo 6 has been kicking around for a while now, with a next-generation console GT7 still some way off. As such, Polyphony is still encouraging manufacturers to add more content to the PS3 game in the form of ‘Vision’ concepts.

VW GTI Supersport Vision Gran Turismo

Volkswagen has already contributed to Gran Turismo 6 with the mental Vision Roadster from last year. But it’s decided to offer up another digital concept in the form of this GTI Supersport. Safe to say, it’s also pretty crazy.

VW GTI Supersport Vision Gran Turismo

With a 503PS turbocharged VR6 engine and a 7-Speed DSG gearbox, there’s no doubting the virtual firepower of the GTI Supersport Vision GT. Unlike a normal Golf GTI, there’s a 4MOTION 4WD system to keep all that power under control, and 20″ wheels to, well, just look cool! The 0-62mph sprint happens in just 3.6 seconds, and there’s a top speed of over 186mph.

Freed from the shackles of practicality and road safety laws, it’s also meant Volkswagen’s designers could really let loose with the bodywork. The GTI Supersport does, however, still maintain obvious Golf GTI cues like the red trim running through the grille and headlights, and the daytime running lights in the outer reaches of the front bumper. (more…)