Review Volkswagen Golf GT Sport TDI 170 New car

19 Dec 2014 | Author: | Comments Off on Review Volkswagen Golf GT Sport TDI 170 New car

Review of the new Volkswagen Golf GT Sport TDI 170



(8.1 out of 10)

REVIEW DATE: 22 янв 2008

Diesel Hatches Don’t Have To Be Boring. The Defence Presents ‘Exhibit A’: The Volkswagen Golf GT TDI 170. Andy Enright Reports


Mere figures really don’t do cars like the Volkswagen Golf GT TDI 170 justice. When manufacturers are now cramming almost 300bhp in small hatchbacks, a 168bhp Golf probably isn’t going to knock your socks off. In fact, you’re probably possessed of a longer than average attention span if you’ve made it this far. Congratulations.

This diesel Golf may not be the most exciting car on paper but to drive one on the road is to experience a car with some serious muscle at its command. You could even wonder why you need anything significantly quicker.

This is the third TDI engine that Volkswagen offer in the Golf line up. There’s a rather underwhelming 103bhp 1.9-litre unit, a markedly superior 138bhp 2.0-litre powerplant and now this engine, a 168bhp tweaked version of the latter. It comes only in sporty GT Sport trim, priced from £19,700, with a five-door variant costing £500 more.

Go for the latter bodystyle and you also get the option of Volkswagen’s clever semi-automatic DSG gearbox for a premium of around £1,300.

The most potent diesel Golf to date, this model uses Piezo electric elements to provide high precision the fuel injections. This has a number of benefits. Not only does it maximise the power output by creating a very clean combustion cycle, it also minimises consumption and emissions.

A maintenance-free particulate filter further reduces carcinogens.

The headline figure with this model isn’t the power output but the maximum torque output of 258lb/ft. The Audi A4 3.2 quattro, the BMW 330i, the Ford Focus ST, the Mercedes SL350, the Porsche Cayman S, and the Subaru Impreza WRX all fail to top this figure. Torque is simply defined as rotational force and it’s best to think of it as the engine’s muscularity. With this sort of torque on tap, you can rest assured that this Golf isn’t going to get sand kicked in its face.

Acceleration figures from rest never do a diesel car justice and the 0-60 figure of 7.9 seconds sounds brisk rather than concussive. A more indicative test is the 30-70mph time through the gears and here the Golf is quick enough to give many of the cars listed above a real scare.

The Golf TDI 170 is as complete a family hatchback as you could hope to find

With a top speed of 137mph, the Golf TDI 170 will have no issues at cruising at British motorway speeds and even on the cut and thrust of a two lane derestricted autobahn, it has more than enough mumbo to jet up to speed after dispatching a dawdling artic. The great thing about this powerplant is that the torque is almost omnipresent. That maximum figure is available from just 1,750rpm, little more than tickover.

Given that it’s over £19,500 (and around £650 more than the TDI 140PS unit), you won’t need us to tell you that this Golf resides at the premium end of the hatchback sector but nevertheless, we’d say that this car represents sound value for money – especially when Volkswagen’s unimpeachable residual values are brought into the equation. Running costs are kept on the manageable side with a fuel economy figure of 46.3mpg while a 160g/km emissions figure will mean this car will figure on the wanted lists of many business users with a £20k budget.

It’s not as if they’ll need to look long and hard at the options list either as the GT trim level comes with a decent roster of standard kit. It’s been altered to more closely resemble the iconic GTI, with the addition of a revised front grille, 17-inch Classix alloy wheels, a 15mm drop of the ride height and twin exhaust pipes.

Volkswagen have made great strides concerning the refinement of the TDI engine and the effects are palpable as soon as you turn the key. The TDI system was once derided as being far less effective than the new wave of ‘common rail’ diesel engines that have become popular and in terms of refinement, Volkswagen’s solution has lagged behind. No longer: the difference is now virtually negligible.

If you’re interested in the technicalities, this 2.0-litre diesel works on the basis of so-called direct injection, a system intended to make better use of every drop of diesel. The injectors on all four cylinders are controlled by a single powerful electronic control unit (ECU) which carefully controls the amount and mixture of fuel passing through into each cylinder.

For engineers, the obvious next step is for each cylinder to have its own ECU unit; the fuel amount and mixture can then be even more carefully monitored and even greater efficiency achieved. This is the basic concept behind the new ‘second generation’ of ‘common rail’ diesels – engines that Volkswagen says it’s developing in its own time. The big bonus of Volkswagen’s TDI system is that it’s relatively easy to liberate big power outputs- as evidenced by this 168bhp model.

One criticism levelled at the two previous generation Golf models was that, although the cars offered a ride and refinement package that was hard to beat, they never really provided the sort of infectious handling that many rivals could boast. The fifth generation car adopts a pragmatic tactic in ‘benchmarking’ the suspension of the Ford Focus and first impressions are promising. The body is eighty per cent stiffer than its predecessor and the new electro-mechanical steering feel and composed body control are leagues ahead.

The interior keeps the Golf at the top of the family hatch tree. It uses a fascia design reminiscent of the Phaeton luxury saloon, although the centre console is lifted from the Touran mini-MPV. With the possible exception of its pricier Volkswagen Group cousin, the Audi A3, the cabin has the beating of anything out there as regards ambience.

The interior features soft-feel slush-moulded plastics, high-quality switches, subtle use of chrome, fabric-covered A-pillars plus blue instrument backlighting with red needles, a signature of the fourth generation model. Some of the plastics used on the minor controls and the lower fascia, however, do feel surprisingly cheap, perhaps allowing Audi a little ‘wiggle room’ to justify the A3’s higher prices.

It’s hard to look beyond this car though. Do you really need more than the Golf TDI 170 offers? It’s quick, good looking, well equipped, it handles, it’s relatively inexpensive to run and it’s joyously covetable. The Golf has come good.

Really good.


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