2023 Golf GTI Turbo has Autobahn performance

 In a parking lot a passing lady commented, “Great color,” referring to the King’s Red” metallic paint on the 2023 Golf GTI four-door sedan I was test driving.  It was a bright red that goes with the stellar performance of the 2.L turbo-charged GTI “Autobahn” model with a 7-speed automatic “Tiptronic” transmission with front-wheel drive.

 I’ve driven any number of VWs in my driving experiences and loved them all; going back to college days and having a stick shift, rear-engine “bug.”  It was so much fun to drive and to coax heat out of that little rear engine in cold weather.

 The GTI has always been a more spirited model, usually with a stick shift, but I was grateful to find the latest GTI with an excellent automatic transmission with steering wheel shifters.  The drive mode offers an “S” drive beyond the normal drive selection.  

 The GTI has a VW appearance, somewhat square in design with two chrome tipped tail pipes extending from the rear as a symbol of performance.  This GTI turbo does perform well at high freeway speeds and with four-wheel independent suspension. Keep in mind that VW and Porsche are long  standing allies. German engineering has always been at the top level for planes, trains, and cars .

This GTI is just fun to drive, smaller in stature, but large in performance, it can run down the highway with the big dogs.  Fuel economy averages 28 mpg overall with the gasoline 4-cylinder engine.  The final assembly of this vehicle is at Wolfsburg, Germany with a German transmission with a Hungarian engine. Putting it all together the suggested manufacturer’s suggested retail price is $39,870 that includes a long list of safety and technology features. The price includes many options with the only additional charge is for the King’s Red metallic paint at $396.

 VWs have always been relatively simple to operate but this GTI has an extensive computer driven center console that controls the radio, air conditioning, and vehicle functions.  I found it rather awkward at first to work through the many controls, including steering wheel buttons.  I would prefer some simple knobs for stations and volume, but these controls seem to have disappeared in most new car models. The challenge is to manipulate the screen while driving, that seems to take eyes off the highway and the result is many front-end crashes, largely with cell phone usage, but some screen play.

 This GTI has multiple smart phone charge pads, heated and cooled seats, but controlled from the center console screen buttons that seem a little fussy to operate.

Loaded with the latest safety features like the sunroof and Karman/Harden sound system, this is a car that needs to be driven, and perhaps by younger drivers seeking the thrill of a sports car at Volkswagen prices.

Young or old, driving this car, one won’t be disappointed.