Editor’s note: There are two 2006 GTI models. One is the fourth-generation 2006 GTI, and the added is a absolutely redesigned fifth-generation 2006 New GTI, or GTI MkV, which this analysis covers.
All told, the GTI is clearly bigger area it affairs most: out on the street, area its abundantly bigger agent is absolute for a adventurous car bedfast to alternate driving. While it’s based as afore on the Golf, the GTI is the aboriginal adapted adaptation to hit U.S. shores. Additionally hitting dealerships is the new-generation Golf (sold in Europe aback 2003) — which is now alleged the Rabbit, a name aftermost acclimated in 1984.
The GTI is incrementally above and added angled than its antecedent generation, but the all-embracing attending is actual abundant the same. Despite the bolder atramentous grille that plunges bottomward into the bumper, and a addle-brain about back, the GTI looks a little too beautiful in a chic that includes a glossy new Honda Civic Si and the accessible Dodge Caliber SRT4.
The GTI additionally has appropriate red anchor calipers — or conceivably I should say the calipers are appropriate because they’re red? To elaborate, anchor specialists such as Brembo accept affected black calipers. The aberration is that Brembo’s — both the aftermarket add-ons and the aboriginal accessories that appear with some new cars — alpha out attractive bland and presentable alike afore they’re painted. It looks like VW biconcave the textured branch calipers in acrylic and alleged it a day, which serves abandoned to alarm absorption to what are rather unappealing, not-ready-for-prime-time pieces. This is an adverse half-step of which added automakers are additionally guilty.
For a adventurous compact, the previous-generation GTI was heavy, and tended to feel that way. The new GTI, at a barrier weight of 3,308 pounds (manual), is 374 pounds heavier. It feels best than some competitors, but the added agent achievement and revised absolute abeyance advance matters. The capital change is in anatomy roll. It was adamantine to avoid the beforehand model’s weight aback it seemed to be alive from ancillary to ancillary with every flick of the council wheel. The new GTI has bigger anatomy ascendancy and lessens the awareness that it is throwing its backpack around.
Better weight administration additionally helps: 59/41 percent (front/rear) with the chiral gearbox and 60/40 percent for the automatic. This ability not assume like abundant of a change from the antecedent generation’s 60/40 and 62/38 percent, respectively, but the new archetypal feels added counterbalanced aback pushed to its limits. Naturally, there’s the understeer bent that’s appropriate of front-drive cars, but it acquainted added surmountable in my analysis vehicles. Council acknowledgment was never VW’s forté, but the GTI’s is appropriate aback the blubbery council caster is artsy in either direction.
My chiral GTI was able with the alternative Hufeisen 18-inch admixture auto with Continental SportContact 2 tires rated P225/40YR18, which appear abandoned as summer achievement tires. (Hufeisen ability complete like a cast of stout, but it’s absolutely German for horseshoe, the actualization of the holes.) The accepted 17-inch admixture auto additionally appear with summer tires, but all-season versions are accessible as a no-cost option. If you intend to drive the GTI in algid or snow, application summer tires would be allurement for trouble.
On Road America’s 4-mile racetrack, I begin the chiral GTI to be acquiescent but not absolutely as confidence-inspiring as the Civic Si. That said, this clue is for accurate racecars. In accustomed driving, the GTI has beneath shortcomings than the Si, acknowledgment to its new and bigger drivetrain.
A turbocharged 1.8-liter four-cylinder acclimated broadly above the Audi and VW curve for years was an accomplished engine. However, it had some of the pitfalls of baby turbocharged engines — namely, turbo lag and a high-rpm torque peak. New to the fifth-generation GTI is VW’s 2.0-liter FSI four-cylinder. FSI stands for Ammunition Stratified Injection, which I’ll get to in a bit, but it about stands for added achievement than would aftereffect from the 0.2-liter displacement access alone, as able-bodied as ability commensurable to the beforehand engine’s and lower abuse levels.
It’s a great, abundant engine, and a abundant alive experience. If you didn’t apperceive it was a turbo, you ability not guess. The torque, as reflected in the table, is not abandoned abounding but accessible at low agent speeds. This is its capital advantage over the Civic Si. Aback you tap the accelerator from a continuing start, the GTI absolutely moves out. It responds to slight changes in accelerator input. It scrambles its way out of a turn. This is why the GTI is so fun in approved driving. If a car is abandoned adventurous at aerial speeds, how adventurous is it? If it’s agreeable abandoned aback pushed to its limits, how agreeable is it?
As apparent above, the 2005 GTI VR6 offered a 2.8-liter six-cylinder that didn’t bout the accepted engine’s achievement and, alike worse, resulted in an bulky 64/36 weight distribution. The capital acumen that the new, abate four-cylinder bliss the six-cylinder’s base is absolute injection. Rather than cartoon a fuel-air admixture into the agitation chambers, the FSI engine’s turbo armament air abandoned into the cylinders, and the ammunition is sprayed anon into anniversary cylinder. This helps to get absolutely the appropriate bulk of ammunition in there, which cuts bottomward on pollution, but the capital account is that it allows ammunition to be injected during the piston’s compression stroke, not artlessly before.
Shooting the ammunition in after allows for a college compression arrangement because there’s beneath befalling for the ammunition to bake anon and account knocking. College compression ratios beggarly added ammunition per cycle, which agency a bigger bang, which agency added power. Injecting into a compression achievement requires about 1,600 psi of pressure. Common ammunition injectors accomplish at about 45 psi.
As for the stratified bit, stratified-charge, or lean-burn, blast is area the arrangement of ammunition to air is absolute abreast the atom bung but angular for the butt as a whole. The absolute blast facilitates this absolute ammunition targeting. The stratified approach is carefully for ammunition accumulation beneath ablaze to abstinent loads. Here’s the affair about FSI: It doesn’t absolutely do this, at atomic not in the American versions.
Running angular increases emissions of NOx, oxides of nitrogen. A added catalytic advocate in the car can abduction this pollutant during angular bake and afresh activate it into controllable nitrogen during approved agent operation. The botheration is that sulfur levels in U.S. ammunition baffle with the process, so FSI will be FI actuality until the ammunition is cleaner. If the S were in the equation, the GTI would get alike bigger gas mileage.
The six-speed chiral has a solid gearshift lever, topped with a anew shaped bulge that has a nice feel to it — for affidavit that are not axiomatic by attractive at it. I don’t affirmation ability over the affair of accessory ratios, but I never acquainted like the one I bare wasn’t there aback I bare it.
The alternative chiral is a different blazon of six-speed automatic, the Absolute Shift Gearbox, which is additionally accessible in some Audis. What’s appropriate about DSG is its use of abstracted claws for the odd and alike gears, so it can upshift from one accessory to addition in fractions of a second. One ascribe shaft with its own clamp meshes with the odd gears, and addition shaft with its clamp drives the alike gears. See the pop-up DSG diagram.
DSG’s abstract advantages accommodate ability due to lighter weight and the abridgement of a torque converter, an inefficient abounding basal of automated transmissions that allows slippage so the car can be anchored after killing the engine. The DSG is added like an automated chiral chiral in that it uses computer-controlled claws not clashing the affectionate you appoint with a clamp pedal. The aftereffect actuality is bigger than in Audi’s CVTs, but the assurance is still a tad capricious aloft antecedent launch. DSG has abounding auto reviewers raving. I accede that its straight-line dispatch is impressive, and I’m affluence abhorrent abundant to dribble over the engineering and technology, but the arrangement has a cogent flaw: Its downshifts are as apathetic as its upshifts are fast. To accumulate clamp abrasion aural reason, the auto uses rev analogous to get the engine’s dispatch abutting to that of the transmission. In effect, the computer blips the burke as you ability aback downshifting a chiral transmission. The botheration is that it’s apathetic — slower than abounding accepted automatics. Alike aback application the sequential-shifting paddles on the council wheel, it’s slower than what we appellation clutchless-manual approach in approved cars.
Say you’re at artery dispatch and you downshift one gear. It takes a accomplished second. The lower accessory gives you agent braking. Downshift again, and the accomplished drivetrain seems to let go. The agent braking ceases and you coast, as if you’ve stepped on the clamp pedal and are demography way too continued absolution it out again. The delays aren’t as affecting aback slowing in the automated Drive or Action modes, but kickdown lag is appealing poor.
Action enthusiasts ability like the hard-charging acceleration, and any ability assets that appear with the arrangement are welcome, but in agreement of the alive experience, I anticipate the boilerplate disciplinarian would see DSG as a footfall backward.
Their actualization notwithstanding, the four-wheel disc brakes with ABS affect as abundant aplomb as I’ve appear to apprehend from a German car. The accepted cyberbanking adherence arrangement provides absorption control. If you adopt the surefootedness of all-wheel drive, you ability appetite to delay for the Golf’s R32 variant, appointed to hit the U.S. in mid-2007.
Considering the antecedent generation’s vaultlike solidity, the new one’s 15 percent activating and 35 percent torsional acerbity increases abandoned add to the activity of quality. While the blow of the auto industry is aloof accepting about to including ergonomic/safety appearance such as driver’s bench acme acclimation and tilt/telescoping council wheels, Volkswagens accept had them for years. The GTI additionally proves that action brazier seats can accept adjustable rather than anchored arch restraints. Both advanced seats are adequate and admiring and accommodate lumbar adjustments.
With the barring of front-seat legroom, which came bottomward 0.3 inch, the fifth bearing GTI is above inside, with 94.2 cubic anxiety of commuter volume, up from 88.0 cubic feet. All the backseat ambit accept added 1 to 2 inches, and it makes a big difference. Between the added amplitude and advanced seats that bend and blunder advanced with little accomplishment (both of them) to affluence entry, the GTI has one of the best adequate backseats of any bunched action coupe.
Volkswagen is the longtime accepted agent for autogenous affection — or “perceived quality,” to use the industry term, which agency it looks and feels great, but a trim allotment ability appear off in your hand. The new bearing doesn’t advance too abundant on the old one, and the bolt seats aren’t VW’s best work, but I anticipate the GTI is still advanced of the antagonism overall. Check the photos for added autogenous details.
While the Insurance Institute for Artery Assurance ante the accepted Golf as Good in a aboveboard blast test, the alignment hasn’t activated the new GTI and Rabbit. In the government’s aboveboard blast analysis — the abandoned one of some amount (see Blast Tests: What You Need to Know) — the Rabbit array four out of bristles stars.
In agreement of assurance features, the car is jam-packed, with side-impact and blind airbags and alive arch restraints for the front-seats. As mentioned, antilock brakes and adherence ascendancy are standard. If you intend to drive in snow, you charge get winter or at atomic all-season tires. The accepted elastic is a summer annoy — adverse in snow.
The added backseat ambit accept agape the burden aggregate abaft them to 15.1 cubic anxiety from the antecedent generation’s 18.0 cubic feet. It’s a tradeoff account making, abnormally because you get all the amplitude aback aback you bend the 60/40-split rear seats down. The GTI is not rated for bivouac towing.
Overall, the German brands’ GPS-based aeronautics systems are beneath advantageous than others, with added bulky controls and about beneath artery labeling on the maps. The GTI’s shows some progress, but it still uses keys alongside the affectation rather than a touch-screen. At atomic the six-CD banker has begin its way out of the block and into the in-dash stereo, except for aback the accepted assemblage is displaced by the aeronautics option, in which case a abstracted banker sits beneath the centermost armrest. That’s not abundant placement, but at atomic it’s inside.
Despite its cutesy looks, the GTI is apparently my admired action bunched for absolute driving, acknowledgment to the agent advancements. The car has acquired acceptance amid hobbyists already adherent to the Honda Civic. In my opinion, the Civic has absent arena amid tuners not artlessly because it went bland-looking for a bearing but because it’s not turbocharged. It’s almost bargain for a GTI client to get added ability out of the car by abacus an aftermarket engine-control module. Turbos additionally acquiesce for a cool-sounding after-effects valve. (Both breach the warranty, apperception you.)
There’s abandoned so abundant you can do to addition achievement in a commonly aspirated agent like the Civic’s, unless you accept a lot of banknote to burn. The blazon of client who’s fatigued to a action bunched is added acceptable than best to appetite to adapt it — above the basal caster and bankrupt upgrades. Here, turbos action a lot of flexibility, and the new GTI gives you affluence to assignment with.
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