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Volkswagen Golf GTD Review
Volkswagen Golf GTD Review
Volkswagen Golf GTD Review

Volkswagen Golf GTD Review

If I say the word ‘diesel’ to you, you’re probably not going to be thinking about ‘performance’ unless of course you happen to have been standing trackside at Le Mans last weekend, watching the Audi LMP1 diesel powered race cars decimating anything and everything with a petrol engine.

But for most people, the thought of a diesel powered daily driver, simply means better than average fuel economy and a premium upfront price for that privilege.

Fortunately, that’s only half the story, especially if we’re talking about the latest Golf variant from Volkswagen.

Meet the New Volkswagen Golf GTD – it’s a performance car, just like its petrol-powered sibling, the GTI.

The launch invite says, “sporty looks and diesel efficiency” but after more than 270 kilometres behind the wheel of this 2.0-litre four-cylinder diesel powered Golf, rest assured, this is a proper performance car with sports car handling to boot.

And importantly, it doesn’t look like the standard Golf either; with decent size twin exhaust tips and a simple, if not understated GTD badge sitting on the left hand rear of the car.

You’ll also pick the car’s lowered stance (15mm over the standard Golf) and the 17-inch 10-spoke alloys looking every bit the business. There’s a rear diffuser too but without airflow fins, so more for show than any downforce benefit.

Volkswagen Golf GTD Review
Volkswagen Golf GTD Review
Volkswagen Golf GTD Review
Volkswagen Golf GTD Review

Around the front, is the same honeycomb front skirt and grille treatment as the GTI Golf, but for one thing, the horizontal stripes in the radiator grille are a chrome look rather than GTI red.

Inside, it’s the same ‘GT’ story with tartan sports seats with enough all round seat and side bolster to hold you rock steady no matter how hard you push through a corner, as well as one of the best designed sports leather steering wheels (with race style flat bottom of course) you’re likely to find in any car this side of one-hundred thousand dollars.

And while standard kit is a proper six-speed manual (more on that later) I’ve gone for the optional super quick shifting six-speed DSG (Direct Shift Gearbox) which means I’ve got the option of leaving the car in a self shifting auto mode (which includes a ‘Sport’ setting) or I can use the perfectly positioned paddle shifters on the steering wheel, depending on what sort of terrain you intend covering and how hard you intend pushing.

Under the bonnet sits the latest common-rail turbo diesel punching out 125kW and 350 Newton-metres of torque from 1,750 rpm, meaning plenty of low down acceleration, and exactly what we’ll need today in those twisty sections on the test drive route between Hobart and Launceston, in Tasmania.

That said you’ll need all of 8.1 seconds to go from standstill to 100km/h in the GTD, and while that’s never going to set the world on fire, it is however quick for a diesel car of this size and proportion.

Volkswagen Golf GTD Review
Volkswagen Golf GTD Review
Volkswagen Golf GTD Review
Volkswagen Golf GTD Review

But the GTD and its Golf GTI sibling are about much more than just outright speed and acceleration. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that these two performance cars could be considered the best all round performance hatches in the world today in their respective categories, despite some seriously good competition from the likes of Subaru and Renault, at least on the petrol side of things.

But as far as diesel powered hot hatches go, I’m willing to bet that the GTD has no peers and that’s before I’ve even driven the car a single kilometer.

Volkswagen does suspension and brakes in daily drivers better than any other car manufacturer on the planet these days, but they’ve added something extra special to their sixth-generation GT cars in the form of an Electronic Differential Lock (EDL), which can dramatically reduce understeer, which can be characteristic of front wheel-drive cars. And yes, it works a treat. If you’re a little too enthusiastic and carrying too much speed into a corner, the system will all but wipe out any of that dreaded understeer by applying some brake to the faster spinning wheel.

And while the GTD options list can be a little scary to the uninitiated, there is however one box I implore you to tick if you like the occasional punt on a deserted mountain road. Volkswagen calls it ‘Adaptive Chassis Control’, but I call it a piece of electronic wizardry, which continuously modifies the damper settings to suit the road surface and your driving style. The system reacts to acceleration, braking and steering inputs with three settings – ‘Normal’, ‘Sport’, and ‘comfort’.

Volkswagen Golf GTD Review
Volkswagen Golf GTD Review
Volkswagen Golf GTD Review
Volkswagen Golf GTD Review

Does it work? You bet it does. We were fully into it on some very twisty roads high up in alpine Tasmania in the New Golf R, which was fitted with this system, and it allowed the car to perform outstandingly (more on that in our Golf R review following the GTD).

Crank the GTD over for the first time and you immediately know that this is not your average oil burner. It’s quiet. This is a new generation TDI engine and punters will be hard pressed to pick up any diesel clatter, even on start up.

But performance is only half the story with the Golf GTD; it’s as much about fuel economy and ultra low emissions, as it is with TDI power and performance.

Try 1000 kilometres on a single tank of diesel (that’s 5.5 litres/100kms) and CO2 emissions of just 145 grams per kilometer, and you’ll start to understand that this is a car, which allows you to have your cake and eat it too.

After you’ve experienced the impossibly quick shifts from Volkswagen’s DSG gearbox using the steering wheel mounted paddles, you won’t want to go back to an old school manual, so understandably we grabbed the first DSG equipped car we laid eyes on, and literally headed for the hills.

I’m running the GTD up to 4,200 rpm before shifting cogs and there’s plenty of speed for effortless overtaking on the freeway towards Richmond, in Tasmania’s south.

Volkswagen Golf GTD Review
Volkswagen Golf GTD Review
Volkswagen Golf GTD Review
Volkswagen Golf GTD Review

I can’t get over just how refined this diesel is, but at the same time there’s plenty of acceleration in every gear ratio, including sixth.

Once off the highway, it was time to engage the ‘Sport’ mode and start attacking the back roads using the paddle shifters. These racecar like paddles are a great combination with such a free spinning diesel engine, as this surely is. Accelerator response is petrol power quick, and this allows for some rapid and very enjoyable speed on the exits to tight corners.

And there’s more than enough torque for almost any job, as you would expect of 350 Newton-metres, especially when it reaches its peak between 1,750 – 2,500 rpm. Even in sixth when your punting along at a lazy110km/h there is abundant pulling power, making downshifts totally unnecessary in most cases.

The whole sporty driving experience is amplified behind the wheel of the GTD, with brilliant ergonomics starting with these stock standard sports fabric seats, which I have already praised in this review.

No matter how hard you push in the corners, your body is held steadfast. There’s no sliding around the seat, which means more focus on bracing yourself, instead of positioning the car properly through each bend. It’s incredibly rewarding.

Not only that these tartan-covered pews are incredibly comfortable and I dare say, therapeutic, despite hours of driving on all sorts of terrain including gravel.

Volkswagen Golf GTD Review
Volkswagen Golf GTD Review
Volkswagen Golf GTD Review
Volkswagen Golf GTD Review

Volkswagen are one of the few manufacturers who mount their paddle shifters both on the steering wheel, and close enough to the wheel, so that you don’t have not to reach out to make the shift, a factor that makes life easier when you’re on the charge.

The other good news is that if you still like the idea of a manual transmission set up, then have I got a treat for you.

After driving all day with the DSG, I thought I better have a quick steer in one of the few six speed manual test cars and wow what a pleasant surprise that was! Apart from being quite a bit lighter than the DSG variant, this has got to be the slickest 6-speed transmissions available today. In fact, I was kicking myself for not taking the manual on this test drive. Yes, it’s that much fun.

Given that Germany is blessed with infinitely superior roads to what we endure in Australia, it always surprises me when you drive a Volkswagen (any current Volkswagen) only to find the suspension setup so adept at handling what are largely crappy pothole plastered roads, without any nasty side effects. Better than that is the ride quality, which is always compliant, yet performs better on a twisty section of road than some higher priced sports cars.

The GTD is yet another example of the German company’s know how when it comes to suspension and steering. The car feels utterly planted no matter what the terrain is. That’s a combination of the architecture of the springs, dampers and rear stabilizer, which have all been perfectly tuned for this specific Golf variant.

Volkswagen Golf GTD Review
Volkswagen Golf GTD Review
Volkswagen Golf GTD Review
Volkswagen Golf GTD Review

The steering is beautifully weighted and quick to respond to driver inputs, and this inspires confidence during turn in, and is a major plus with the heavier diesel engine under the bonnet.

It’s too easy to forget you’re in a diesel-powered car in the GTD, as once you’re above idle; the engine note doesn’t sound like a diesel at all. Moreover the ease, at which this car dispenses with corners at speed, will leave you in no doubt of its GT qualities.

While the Golf model range is classified under the small car category, make no mistake, it’s more than enough space for my family of four and that includes head and foot room with sufficient luggage for all.

I can confirm my earlier summation on the New Golf GTD, where I said that this car has no diesel peer in the diesel-powered performance hatch category.

If you like driving a sporty car that goes as good as it looks, yet at the same time, offers outstanding fuel economy and practicality, then look no further than the emissions friendly Golf GTD.

Let’s just hope Volkswagen Australia can get enough supply to satisfy demand.

Golf GTD 5 Door 6 Speed Manual – $39,290

Golf GTD 5 Door 6 Speed DSG – $41,790

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Volkswagen Golf GTD Review
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  • mmmmmm

    no peers?
    what about the BMW 123d with 150kw and 400nm

    • Simon

      Absolutely valid comparison and that’s not even mentioning the Alfa 147 or the Mazda 3 Diesels.
      I’ve no doubt the GTD is a nice bit of kit but it’s not the only diesel hatch in OZ.
      “the system will all but wipe out any of that dreaded understeer by applying some brake to the faster spinning wheel.”
      This is incorrect. The faster spinning wheel is the outside wheel going into a corner. It must be the faster wheel because it has further to travel. The “EDL” is actually XDL, or extended electronic differential lock. The reality it isn’t a differential lock at all. In a conventional FWD the internal wheel will slip as it attempts to keep up with the exterior wheel’s rotations meaning it will resist the turn. XDL works by applying the brakes on the inner wheel in a corner so as to transfer torque to the outside wheel.

      • QBert

        Spot on bro. However I’ve got a hunch that Mr Crawford will be deleting all of these ‘critical’ comments. He doesn’t seem to like being challenged.

        • Shak

          I think he meant no actual peers. The BMW costs considerably more outlay, and for that money you could drive away with a fully Loaded Golf R20.

      • Ian

        I think you’ll find that the GTD has both EDL and XDL and that the description of EDL given was correct when taken into account that by “spinning” he meant “slipping”.

  • http://www.caradvice.com.au Anthony Crawford

    Yes mate, no peers, exactly what I said. I guess you didn’t bother to check the pricing of the 2.0-litre 123d starting at $53,070? That’s over $10,000 more than than the Golf GTD with DSG, which puts it into the ‘Prestige and Luxury passenger category’.

    • Simon

      I guess you are wrong. Heaven forbid pointing that out to a car journalist!

    • QBert

      No peers? Are you having a laugh? Never mind the 123d, what about the Renaultsport Megane DCi 175 or the Skoda Octavia RS TDI (which, by the way, has the same engine as the GTD)?

      • http://www.caradvice.com.au Anthony Crawford


        Let me know where the readers can buy a RS Megane DCi 175 and how much they are.

        Much appreciated.

        • QBert

          Haha, you’re the journalist aren’t you? You should be telling ME!

          There’s plenty still hanging around Renault dealers. Not exactly hard to find. Retail price is $39,990 according to the latest issue of Wheels. New Megane is coming, but it’s still not here so obviously Renault is still selling whatever Meganes it still has in stock.

          So, what excuse do you have regarding the Octavia RS TDI? I’d love to hear why you don’t think it’s one of the GTD’s peers.

          • http://www.caradvice.com.au Anthony Crawford

            That’s my point, the model is not even listed at the Renault Australia site!

    • Simon

      Golf GTD 5 Door 6 Speed DSG – driveaway, no options in:
      Brisbane – $46,807.00
      Melbourne – $46,037.30
      Sydney – $46,364.00
      That’s a lot more than $41,790 you posted.

      Never let the facts get in the way of a good story!

      • Mitch

        The price quotes is not drive away, thats why there is a difference.

  • Gms

    I’d say that’d be 10k well spent. Still it’s good to have options. 0-100 times dissapointing. This car seems 5k over priced to me.

  • http://www.caradvice.com.au Anthony Crawford

    Not in my opinion. I’ve driven the 123d and as good as it is, I think the GTD has the edge in the handling department and certainly offers more interior room and load space than than the BMW.

    No argument on the 0-100km/h time.

    Go and take both cars for a decent test drive and I think you’ll be surprised at the overall package the GTD delivers at the said price.

    • Shane

      I agree

      • QBert

        Spoiler: “Shane” is a CA staffer.

        • Shane

          No, i just dont think that a 123d is a good as a golf GTD.
          The BMW is overpriced, cramped looks like shite

          • Damian

            Instead of castigating Anthony for his personal perspectives, let’s be more constructive and do some on-paper analysis of the GTD’s potential competitors.

            The BMW 120d is a closer competitor to the VW GTD than the BMW 123d, which is a totally different price bracket. On paper specifications of the 120d surpass those of the GTD, and the 120d does the 0-100km/h sprint in 7.6 seconds, as opposed to the GTD’s 8.1 seconds.

            The Skoda Octavia RS TDi is another natural competitor to the GTD, sharing identical drivetrains and platform. The RS even has the GTD’s fancy XDS.

            The Mazda 3 diesel hatch is a somewhat more obscure competitor to the GTD. It may not be as sporty, and what the engine lacks in outright power (110kw compared to GTD’s 125kw), it makes up for in torque (360nm compared to the GTD’s 150nm). The pricing of the Mazda 3 diesel hatch is not half as ambitious as the VW’s either.

          • Damian

            I meant to say the GTD has 350nm, not “150nm” as per my previous post.

          • The Realist

            All subjective.

            The BMW 123d is built better, handles better, has more features.

  • Toyota Guru

    This car is a bit like the Clayton’s GTI (The GTI you have when you don’t have a GTI).

    Love the scratches from the key on the steering column surround in front of the ignition key barrel. Must’ve been those Wheels journos eh CA? :)

  • Wolfie fan

    No peers? Skoda RS Diesel?

    • Simon

      Peugeot 308 HDI

      • Andy Hertlis


        Ford Focus TDCi
        Mazda 3 Diesel Hatch
        Hyundai I30 CRD
        Alfa 147 Diesel
        Volvo C30 2.0D
        Audi A3 2.0 TDI
        Citroen C3 HDi

        Pig’s bum.

        • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=668475019 Jake Williams

          Those are wrong because they’re not the performance variants, rather the normal diesel versions. They are competitors to the Golf 2.0TDI not GTD.

          The only true rivals for the Golf GTD are the Octavia RS TDI and the just-discontinued RS Megane DCi (but some are still available). The Octavia would be a bit softer but it’s more practical for families.

          • HAL


          • Brendon

            Spot on there Jake!

          • Sparky

            There aint much difference between most of them even the so called performance diesel. The GTD would be a bit faster than most of them and corner a bit faster but as they are all hatches they already go pretty damn good in the corners.
            I reakon its a storm in a cup. All good cars depending on what you want and will spend.

        • Golfschwein

          Those cars either compete with the regular 77 or 103 Tdi, or in the case of the Citroen, not at all. You probably mean the C4.

        • wot the?

          Astra CDTi – sadly no longer available.

          • http://GOOGLE STEVE

            Yes I agree,no more Astra’s at OZ,The GTD will be a great car,but shame it’s so over priced like all VW vechiles !

  • Greg

    What about the Astra Diesel CDTI?

    • Radbloke

      Not sure where you’re going to find a new one of those in Australia.

  • Tim

    Styling already looks dated IMO

  • ox

    Why don’t they just release the Scirocco in oz already, I’m so over golfs.

    • Golfschwein

      There are so many clamouring for a Scirocco. The prettiest Scirocco was the first one, penned by Giugiaro when he had black hair.

      The latest one looks all wrong, with thick A-pillars and a thick roof sandwiching a squished glasshouse. Given a choice, I’d stay with the Golf, save my dollars and not give any thought to the higher centre of gravity.

      • ox

        Pretty the new scirocco definitely isn’t, but looks far more agressive and dynamic, which is what I would want if I was throwing 40k plus on a hatch.

  • TomJ

    Nice car, but ill have a GTi for that money.

  • http://www.caradvice.com.au Anthony Crawford

    Simon says,

    Absolutely NOT a valid comparison given the 123d is in fact $11,280 more than the Golf GTD with DSG.

    On your second point, Volkswagen calls the system “Electronic Differential Lock (EDL)” as I correctly wrote. The technical explanation as to what this system does from Volkswagen HQ is as follows;

    “EDL improves driving and steering characteristics when accelerating on road surfaces where each wheel has a different degree of traction. The system operates automatically and is combined with the ABS system. Using the ABS wheel sensors, EDL monitors of the individual driving wheels. When a difference in driving wheel speed is detected (i.e. when one wheel starts to spin due to differences in road surfaces, e.g. due to water or dirt) the system brakes the spinning wheel, transferring engine power to the wheel with the best traction.

    “And yes, it does work a treat.”

    • Simon

      Sure it works a treat, I’ve driven the new GTI. That wasn’t the point of contention. You said it brakes the faster spinning wheel. That is incorrect.
      As to EDL, VW Australia says the GTD has XDL. Cut and paste from site:
      “GTD’s intelligent safety systems (such as Electronic Stabilisation Program, Brake Assist and Extended Electronic Differential Lock) ”
      We could argue all day about the BMW 123D but it would seem that many people would differ with you in saying it isn’t a valid comparison. For that matter, the other 3 diesel hatches mentioned by posters that you so swiftly neglected to mention.
      Anyway, its only your credibility that will suffer. I’m just a random blogger.

      • http://www.caradvice.com.au Anthony Crawford

        That’s a lot of effort for a random blogger.

        You’re obviously quite well to do to think that anyone could simply hand over another $11,000 for the 123d over the GTD.

        Good luck to you.

        • Mac

          Your an angry man…

          • LIGHT

            And stupid/opinionated to boot

        • brumby

          Thanks for the enthusiastic review Anthony.
          Don’t take any notice of some of the knockers here.
          I have a question though:
          I’m late 40’s and I’ve always had manuals and love the control. But the DSG seemed the answer to performance without the normal auto compromise of lost power and control. So I took one for a drive and couldn’t come to grips with the hesitation from a stop/start. I had no confidence in taking off across a street with traffic bearing down. Scary, in fact. Once on the roll it was great. What do you think? Does it get better with practice? Does the DSG ‘learn’ your driving style? Or should just stick to manuals?!

          • Simon

            for the most part I agree, it was a good review. It’s just disappointing that A.C. is unwilling to make corrections when other CA staff certainly fix up discrepancies.
            As to your DSG question I can answer because I drive a VW Diesel with DSG.
            Yes the gearbox will learn your driving style. The problem is usually encountered in the first few minutes of driving. It would seem the DSG computer doesn’t retain it’s “learning” after the engine is turned off or is cold. I fully appreciate the hesitation you are speaking of and it is extremely unnerving when you hit the accelerator and there is nothing. My suggestion is to take it for a much longer test drive and drive it somewhat briskly. Do several start/stops and give it a good nudge to leave the computer no doubt as to your intentions. You should then be able to drive it more sedately and find it more responsive. In everyday driving it is only an issue for the first couple of minutes and then you are right. DSG is not perfect and the computer needs to process lots of signals to interpret which gear to use, when and if it needs to shift up or down. It is renown for a certain jerkyness from standstill but is most pronounced when in reverse and/or on an incline.
            Another factor to check is that you aren’t accidentally touching the brake when you are accelerating. These cars have an electronically controlled throttle. If the computer detects you touching the brakes it will cancel the accelerator signal.

          • Fenno

            Stick with a manual –
            Not only will you always know whats going on but they are a helluva lot more reliable.
            But if you do go the DSG and am unsure of the aforementioned \’hesitation\’, stick it in sport mode when wanting a more predictable launch when entering heavy traffic.

      • davie


        you appear quite strongly opinionated on this topic.

        rather than repeatedly correct/criticise the author, perhaps you could set up your own website and do better?. It’s simple, all you have to do is:

        – Pay to Register a domain name
        – Pay for someone to create the site
        – Pay for staff to maintain the site
        – Pay for IT infrastructure to keep the site running
        – Pay a team of staff consistently Post at least 5 or so edited articles a day including photos from all over Aus and the world
        – Build a perception of your site as legitimate over a year or two and establish trust with public and car manufacturers
        – Establish a network of news sources and partnerships across the world
        – Get invited to releases/reviews
        – Open your hard work to criticism from anonymous “Random Bloggers”

        There. so simple.

        But its so much easier to act as anonymous armchair warrior and tear down someone else’s hard work isn’t it?

        • Simon

          Perhaps you could set up a web site for people wanting to set up websites. As I am interested in cars and this is a car blog your suggestion amounts to nothing.
          Thanks for coming.

        • mmmmmm

          Simon is entitled to his own opinion.
          ‘tearing down someone’s hard work’ is an over reaction.
          No one has even said anything bad about the golf, just offered other opinions.
          A 25% difference in the car prices is hardly a deal breaker when car shopping, definitely more cash but not a different league.

          Andrew is having a bad day, I sincerely hope it gets better for him.

  • Shane

    Good review

    I think that the buyers of this car would be very impressed with what they got. It really ticks all the boxes.

  • MK

    Sport diesels are some of the most expensive (total cost) vehicles to own and dispose off. Before you buy: 1. Ask the dealer for a quote on a blown turbo and engine rebuild and 2. Ask yourself how many people are out there looking for a second hand performance diesel.

    1. $10 000
    2. 0

    • Gene

      If it provides 90% of GTi performance at 70% economy (I think it does), I think it’ll have a following.

      I also dig the exclusivity factor knowing that there are literally thousands of GTi’s on the road already.

      I think the engine is a poor combo with the manual gearbox though. An auto is much better at riding the torque wave and at hiding the turbo lag.

      • Steve Phillips

        The diesels have a different way of delivering the power and it is very satisfying.
        Id say it is more usable in day to day driving than a hot petrol and Ive had a few.
        I will never ever ever buy another petrol driven car as a family vehicle.
        Perhaps an Ariel Atom or Caterham to play with but not to drive every day.
        We had a Skyline R33 prior to buying an Astra diesel. We waited a whole year for it to come to Australia in 2006 so we could compare it with the other diesel offerings. It stacked up well and still does as being the best power/value for money diesel around.
        Great economy despite living at the top of Perths steepest hill. Over the last 3 years the car has consistantly done 6.1l/100km. We both push the car hard. Wife is a lead foot. Kids used to come home with stories of mum drag racing and flogging HSVs with the Skyline. Shes a worry!
        Not so the Astra, it hasnt missed a beat and has done 155,000kms.

        • http://GOOGLE STEVE

          Glad you love yr Astra tdi,My AH 1.8 ltr petrol is a great car !

    • Silvabak

      1. Why would you be worried that a sporty diesel would be any less or more likely to suffer a blown turbo?

      2. How would you know??

  • davie


    interesting comment, you may be right regarding the 2nd hand market. However, I think peoples perceptions of diesel cars are gradually changing.

    Fuel economy is also becoming more of an issue.

    This may improve the 2nd hand demand for these cars.

  • http://www.findapart.com Cheap Car Parts

    Volkswagen is one of my favorite and most popular and trusted brand for car.I have a dream of buying this car and this one is looking awesome.I will check out all the details.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1285962287 Declan Collins

      Trusted brand my ass.

      It’s as faulty as Jaguar, but it is on the rise :).

    • Chairman

      U must be joking. VW is utterly unreliable. Just saw a new one yesterday with the rear door badge latch flipping out and in… Wonder if the owner actually knows about it

      • Mal

        You mean the badge that flips out when the optional rear view camera is in use?

      • Golfschwein

        I think the owner knows about it (was probably looking at the view on his screen) but you obviously don’t.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1285962287 Declan Collins

    Yummy a manual.

    I wouldn’t toucht he DSG :D.

  • Shak

    Are all you random bloggers just posting against Anthony to prove a point? Because you cant tell me you would lay out an extra $11K on a smaller, less practical, less well handling car. And in some cases worse looking car. C’mon the 123d may be a nice car in its own right, but when you have the Golf GTD that can do all that and more, for much less, why would you bother with the BMW.
    No i am not a CA staffer, and no i do not work for VW. The GTD should be a very appealing car going on my GTI experiences.

    • bangle

      Iam with you shak , why a two door notchback , 5 door hatch eats it for fun factor .

      Saw a 135i yesterday , thats pretty boring looking for $75k , the R20 will offer better value plus AWD , will cream it .

      • Baddass

        Guys, let’s not jump the gun here. If you had actually driven both vehicles, I would find it seriously hard to say that the FWD Golf is a better handler than the RWD BWM. BMW pride themselves on their handling, and I don’t mean to sound like their marketing.

        • nickdl

          Agreed, there was a recent CA article on the 123d. The article was full of praise about how good the BMW’s handling was.

      • The Realist

        Saw a 135i? Did you actually drive it?

        It’s close to being the best car you can buy for under $100K.

    • mmmmmm

      I haven’t driven the golf yet so I won’t criticise it, however with it very narrow torque band I can’t see how it could be half the fun of the BMW with its wider torque band from it TWIN turbos and its RWD handling.
      I’m sure the golf is very good but it would be BMW for me.

  • nickdl

    Not a bad review Anthony, however it would be nice to see a bit of negativity. Be realisitic because this car definitely is not the best in the world and this review looks to have came straight from VW. A little bit of mention of the competitors and why they aren’t as good as well please.

    The 123d has a much better engine than the Golf and the handling is debatable. Also, styling is subjective so you can’t judge the BMW on this. It would also be nice if you weren’t so stubborn and corrected your comment regarding the EDL.

    • Dlr1

      VW is the current “golden child” for auto reviewers, followed very closely by Hyundai. You will hardly see a bad word written about them, especially when the reviewers get taken around the country and plonked in the latest and greatest that they have to offer. Sadly most reviewers dont have to live with their recommendations down the track once the warranty expires and the new car smell has gone. And you wouldnt want to get on the bad side of VW…bye bye access to VW, Audi, Lambo, Bently, Bugatti ect. Just ask C/A what Mercedes thinks of negative comments… just like the soup nazi… no more reviews for you!

    • Bob

      Wait till you read the Golf R review!!!

    • Shane

      what about the space? The 123d is cramped and lacks practacality. This would swing it in favour of the VW

      • nickdl

        Practicality wouldn’t come high on the list of priorities in a potential buyer of a sports car. While the Golf may win on this, overall the BMW is the better car.

  • ScottB

    Wow, lot of BMW apologists here today. “Argh! Someone’s said a Volkswagen’s better than a BMW! Blasphemy! Burn them!”

    As someone not in love with either brand I’d go for the Golf. Price, size, performance, lack of pretentious dickery….. 😀

    • The Realist

      You forgot mass market appeal and idiots perception of “European” prestige.

  • Qikturbo

    It still looks like a old design.
    There is NOTHING special about these BORING Golfs.
    Everytime I look at a MKVI Golf it reminds of the 70’s styled hatches.

    • Golfschwein

      Like a Mk 1 Golf, do you mean? The rest of them didn’t become hatches until the eighties, mate.

      • ScottB

        Rest of them? Not sure what you mean. Civic hatch debuted in 1973, the Mazda 323 in 1977, Renault 5 hatch in 1972… Are you talking about hatchbacks in general or just Golfs?

        • Golfschwein

          I generalised, as one sometimes does in the space of a 20 second riposte. I knew of the smaller Civic, didn’t think of the Renault 5 (oops, but still smaller), thought of the Fiat Ritmo later, pondered that the Mazda 323 was still rear wheel drive and, g-e-n-e-r-a-l-l-y, everything else that competes with the Golf these days started life as a little 2 or 4 door sedan with a 1.2 to 1.6 litre carb-fed motor with rear wheel drive, and was that way in 1974.


  • McBain

    I disagree. Until Volkswagen introduces a dash-mounted fragrance diffuser, the 308 HDI is in a class all of its own. I understand Peugeot even includes a vial of fragrance for free…”Lemon”.

    • Mal

      Trust the cheese eating surrender monkeys to include such a feature in a car.

  • Bob

    Where is the Golf R review? Don’t tell me VW aus are proofreading it as I write this!!

  • K20A

    I’m a self confessed BMW lover (and drives one). But in no way the Golf should be compared to the 123d. Different market, different use.

    The Golf GTD will be a fantastic second hand buy in 2-3 years time. I, for one, will be on the lookout for it..

    What disappointing is VW claiming this engine is most powerful, brand new, etc.. when in fact it has already been used in other VW cars, most notably the quietly successful GT and GT Sport series of the Mark 5s.

    BMW already breached the 130kW mark with their latest 2.0l diesel. Time for the Wolfsburg crew to up the ante!

  • Silvabak

    The GTD will have a common rail engine, unlike the Mk V GT Sport. Is the Skoda common rail also? GTD has same outputs as Mk V, but smoother quieter and a bit more frugal.

  • http://www.facebook.com/martin.villegas Martin

    I wonder how a Cerato Koup with the 2.2L R Diesel with 6 speed auto/man would go…?

    • Simon

      I like your thinking but suspect it would come down to the gearbox. I’d really like to see a compact AWD high output diesel.

    • KM

      A whole lot of wheel spin!

  • Will

    I would prefer the versatility of the Skoda RS Wagon, but to each their own…

  • Ben

    I come from a family of BMW drivers and the GTD will be my first car quite simply its much more practical, looks sportier and reasonably priced with all the standard items you get. I’ve driven a 1-series as a loan car from BMW and it is simply too cramped and somehow they have put similar designs from 3 and 5 series cars which simply don’t work in a hatchback. The GTD is actually quite cheap for a diesel car especially when you add the options to a 103TDi that the GTD comes standard, eg. 17″ wheels, sport bodykit, touchscreen, sports seat, etc etc. The GTD is actually very cheap!!! However I would still get the GTI is it wasn’t for P plate restrictions. But you still have to consider 5.5L compared to 7.7L is a lot.

    • nickdl

      Lucky you getting that much money to spend on a first car!!!

  • http://CarAdvice MC

    Agree with the review, took one for an extended test drive last week. The handling was brilliant and the engine, while not as “urgent” as the GTI felt great and inspired overtaking confidence. The car has an amazing feel to drive, with a fit and finish, rivalling cars twice the price and corners as well as the GTI. After also testing the new GTI, I put a deposit on the GTD so impressed by the car I was. Unfortunately I was not so careful with the many options I selected, but I figure, hey its only money…I just dont buy into comments from people who have not sat behind the wheel of this car, Quite simply, its superb.

    • Golfschwein

      I agree, MC. I also took one for a drive a few weeks ago and WANTED to buy the one I drove but, alas, must make myself hold onto the Mk5 Tdi another year.

      I’d go white, manual, sat nav and sunroof. The pictures don’t prepare you for the interior finish. It’s far from ‘boring’, as mentioned in the post below, and the engine has a properly rorty note once wound up to three-ish and beyond.

  • Paul

    I have a Astra CDTI, the golf is just a copy of this.
    The Astra CDTi 110kw is marketed as a sports hot hatch in the UK.
    Its one of the most overlooked cars here.
    Golfs are so boring. It’s annoying how Volkswagen have hijacked all the cars guides in newspapers. new car reviews/used car reviews. The Herald Sun.The Age.
    one day we’ll all have a McMansion with a Volkswagen in the driveway.
    Go get ya self a nice used CDTI for half the price.

    • PerthDriver

      Yeah – tend to agree. Astra CDTI’s are massively overlooked and destined to be the haven of hot hatch kids wanting bang for buck when they get a few more years under their belt. Most people don’t realise that the standard CDTI in OZ is actually an SRI derivative in the UK (the red on the logo is the only clue!) and pitched up against the GTI. I have one and LOVE it but would most certainly consider the GTD as a replacement in years to come. Diesel hot hatches are the way to go. Insanely fun to drive and cheap to run if you play the game right (servicing, VERY good oil and top economy even with the pedal to the floor!). If only VW would add the Scirocco to the range in OZ then we wouldn’t even be tempted by the Corolla curves of the Golf. If only Holden would wake up and add the Opel product back to the range. It really is the problem with Australia – two big bogan cars and a sea of korean crap with VW being the only valid alternate. No wonder they are doing so well!

  • Craig

    Wow. Looks like the BMW fan boys took to this comments section.

    In no way is a car 10K more expensive comparable in this price range. 4-6K would be the max difference before as a potential buyer it starts going out of what I am willing to spend.

    I would hope a car that is 25% more expensive was better.

  • digiguy

     I have done more than 55,000km in my GTD DSG since new in October 2011 and absolutely love it. Great point to point car (Brisbane to Adelaide  etc) with fantastic economy considering the speeds and distances involved,average fuel cost is 9.6c per kilometre so far. It is a car that needs a bit of stick occasionally.The only costs involved have been regular servicing, new tyres and fuel. It ticks all the boxes for a daily driver, interstate cruiser, weekend away-er, what have you. Very comfortable, plenty of room for 4 fat Aussies plus luggage. I had 40 years as a FalcaDore owner and this little VW has converted me. My 60K service is approaching and it will be expensive, but I think it is worth it, the DSG is a heap of fun and has given me no troubles so far. Thanks for the review Anthony.

Volkswagen Golf Specs

Car Details
1K MY10
Body Type
New Price
Private Sale
$14,080 - $16,000
Dealer Retail
$15,540 - $18,480
Dealer Trade
$11,200 - $12,800
Engine Specifications
Engine Type
Engine Size
Max. Torque
320Nm @  1750rpm
Max. Power
103kW @  4200rpm
Pwr:Wgt Ratio
Bore & Stroke
Compression Ratio
Valve Gear
Drivetrain Specifications
Drive Type
Final Drive Ratio
Fuel Specifications
Fuel Type
Fuel Tank Capacity
Fuel Consumption (Combined)
5.6L / 100km
Weight & Measurement
Kerb Weight
Gross Vehicle Weight
Not Provided
Ground Clearance
Towing Capacity
Brake:1300  Unbrake:640
Steering & Suspension
Steering Type
Turning Circle
Front Rim Size
Rear Rim Size
Front Tyres
205/55 R16
Rear Tyres
205/55 R16
Wheel Base
Front Track
Rear Track
Front Brakes
Rear Brakes
Front Suspension
MacPherson strut, Lower control arm, Gas damper, Coil Spring, Anti roll bar
Rear Suspension
4 links, Coil Spring, Hydraulic double acting shock absorber, Anti roll bar
Standard Features
Auto Climate Control with Dual Temp Zones
Control & Handling
16 Inch Alloy Wheels, Electronic Brake Force Distribution, Electronic Stability Program, Hill Holder, Traction Control System
Cruise Control, Power Steering, Trip Computer
Engine & Transmission
Electronic Differential Lock
Radio CD with 8 Speakers
Power Mirrors
Power Windows
Dual Airbag Package, Anti-lock Braking, Head Airbags, Seatbelts - Pre-tensioners Front Seats, Side Front Air Bags
Central Locking Remote Control, Engine Immobiliser
Optional Features
Power Sunroof
Control & Handling
Adaptive Damping Control
Parking Distance Control, Reversing Camera, Satellite Navigation
Premium Sound System
Fog Lights - Front, Metallic Paint, Sports pack
Leather Upholstery
Alarm System/Remote Anti Theft
Service Interval
12 months /  15,000 kms
36 months /  999,000 kms
VIN Plate Location
Driver Side Inner Guard
Country of Origin