San Francisco--We"ve been very, really patient, wait for this 2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI. The seventh-generation GTI debuted as a concept, tantalizingly close to production, in September 2012 at the Paris motor Show. Volkswagen complied with up through the manufacturing version the complying with March, at the 2013 Geneva engine Show, and also our europe editor, Georg Kacher, drove that in France that same month. A pair of month later, likewise in France, west coastline editor Michael Jordan had actually a turn behind the wheel. Both gentlemen appreciated themselves tremendously, however the remainder of us at Automobile Magazine had to bide our time, just like you.

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Now, mere weeks prior to the 2015 Golf GTI lastly reaches U.S. Showrooms, we"re getting our very first opportunity, albeit a quick one, to journey the automobile on American soil. Throughout the bay from mountain Francisco, in Richmond, Volkswagen has actually a fleet that Golfs and also Golf GTIs in ~ Craneway Pavilion, a dramatic, Albert Kahn-designed, prewar facility that was as soon as a Ford Motor agency assembly factory, of all things.

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At very first glance, you"ll barely recognize that the 2015 VW GTI is a new car. Look an ext carefully, though, and also you"ll realize the this Mk7 edition is indeed different from the predecessor. View the crisper body lines; the geometrically shame five-spoke wheels; the brand-new front fender badges; and also the new front-end design with LED fog lights collection into prominent horizontal strakes neighboring a mesh reduced grille. The horizontal, body-color heat that offered to stretch in between the headlights now goes all the way through the headlights, separating them indigenous the revolve signals. Still, while the 2015 GTI has actually lots of different details contrasted with the outgoing 2014 GTI, they"re every pretty subtle to the casual observer.

I"m handed the key to a Tornado Red 2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI S with hands-on transmission and the performance Pack. I open the door to see a familiar yet freshened interior with the famous plaid cloth seats. (Leather is optional.) They room comfortable and supportive, but not aggressively bolstered. When you resolve in, you understand the flat-bottomed steering wheel, which has a rim that"s just the right thickness. Left foot come the floor, best foot on the brake, right index finger hits the start button that"s situated near the gearshifter, and also I hear the stable thrum that the EA288 2.0-liter turbocharged and direct-injected four-cylinder engine. V 210 hp and 258 lb-ft the torque, it"s pass 10 much more hp and an additional 51 lb-ft come the party as compared with the Mk6"s engine.

A soft clutch take-up segues perfect to the straight movement of the gas pedal, and I"m effortlessly moving the gearshifter v the first couple of gears as I head to the 580 freeway. Ns hit the "mode" button and also select sport settings for the steering and also engine. Prior to long, I"m increase on san Pablo Dam Road, a great, fast, hilly big that complies with the mountain Pablo Reservoir. The razor-sharp steering, the torquey engine, and the good visibility every come right into play here.

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I have actually lots of miles in the GTI Mk5 and Mk6, and also this Mk7 feels prefer an old friend. The emotion of smoothness, refinement, precision, and accessible power that identified those last 2 generations are even more carefully concentrated in the 2015 GTI. The net result is the the GTI is simply really simple to drive fast and also to drive well. Her palms don"t obtain sweaty.

San Pablo Dam road leads me to Wildcat Canyon Road, i beg your pardon winds through Tilton Park, above Berkeley. This is just one of those tight, twisty, hilly, narrow roadways dappled through California sunshine peeking with the tree canopy, that we Midwesterners fantasize about. Time come roll down the windows, the better to hear the exhaust and also the optional, eighteen-inch summer rubber top top the pavement. The GTI"s steering is pretty much perfect here. I"m rowing between 2nd and third gears. Ns don"t have actually this roadway to myself, though, therefore I"m accelerating hard and then braking quickly, because that obstacles as differed as a police vehicle that"s to run a speed trap; bicyclists; and, believe it or not, a wild turkey that the cross the road in front of me.

The GTI is unfazed. A little dab that the brake pedal, very small pitch or dive, and the car rotates fluidly through one more corner. The ride remains supple, also in part bumpy, off-camber turns. As you toss the GTI right into corners, you conveniently feel the additional torque that"s being directed to the external wheels through the limited-slip diff.

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Down toward Berkeley ns go, and suddenly I"m on stadium Rim Way, looking right into the large bowl of the Cal Berkeley football stadium. Ns pull over to the curb because that a minute, and a pair of students wade by eye the GTI. I nearly roll under the home window to say, "Guys, when you graduate, you have to buy this car."

Soon I"m top top the 580 west heading earlier to Richmond. The GTI is quiet in ~ 60 mph in 6th gear. Unexpectedly the freeway gets crowded, however it"s no a problem. Shift down to 3rd gear, and also there"s every sorts of strength to slip right into holes in traffic. In fourth gear, at 75 mph, the turbo four is running at 3500 rpm, well brief of the 6000-rpm redline. There"s a little wind noise end the A pillars but, still, this is a quiet and also refined bag rocket, as well suited because that a freeway road pilgrimage as for a romp top top Wildcat Canyon Road.

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How lot do us love the Volkswagen GTI right here at Automobile Magazine? In 2007, we named the fifth-generation automobile our automobile of the Year, celebrating its mix of athleticism, practicality, and also performance, which we felt to be the closest thing to the spirit of the original, 1983 GTI. We followed that up in 2010 v yet another Automobile the the Year award for the sixth-generation model, which honestly wasn"t that different yet was quiet able to record our hearts.

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The 2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI is yet one more evolution of the GTI formula, however that"s absolutely no poor thing. It"s lighter, bigger, and more powerful and efficient than its predecessor but hardly more expensive, and also Volkswagen of America secured every the goodies indigenous Germany that American enthusiasts want and also deserve, including optional adaptive damping, a premium Fender stereo, and the power Pack. VW has made certain there"s a GTI because that every buyer, v some ten iterations spread throughout three trim levels: GTI S, GTI SE, and also GTI Autobahn. Two-door and four-door models return, and also you still have your selection of six-speed hand-operated gearbox or VW"s superb six-speed DSG dual-clutch automatic. The 2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI to be worth the wait.

Base Price: $25,815Price together Tested: $28,305Engine: 2.0-liter turbo I-4Power: 220 hpTorque: 258 lb-ftTransmission: 6-speed manualDrive: Front-wheelCargo volume (seats up/down): 22.8/52.7 cubic feetFuel Economy: 25/34 mpg (city/highway)


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