OpenRoad Driver Volume 13 Issue 1 - Page 60

60 » OpenRoad Driver 2016 Volkswagen Golf GTI » As the car that invented the hot-hatch segment, the Volkswagen Golf GTI continues to wave its tartan-patterned flag proudly. It comes in three- and five-door hatchback versions with a 210-hp 2.0L direct-injected turbo four-cylinder engine. A six-speed manual is standard, while VW’s excellent six-speed dual-clutch DSG automatic is optional. Check off the box for the Performance package, and you’ll get a few more goodies including an extra 10 hp, beefier brakes, and the best part, a torque-sensing limited-slip front differential that allows you to put the power down in corners. This has traditionally been a weak point for front-wheel drive cars, but the limited-slip differential here works beautifully as advertised. Few cars can match the all-around appeal of the GTI, which combines hatchback practicality, reasonably priced driving fun, and that satisfyingly Teutonic bank vault-sounding thump when closing the doors. If you have even more need for speed and want to be the envy of many a VW owner, the 292-hp all-wheel-drive Golf R is the natural step up.