We put the question to VW this week on the global launch of the updated 2017 Golf 'Mk7.5', which comes with some engine upgrades, minor styling tweaks and class-leading infotainment options.
The company said it felt the GTE plug-in petrol-electric hybrid derivative, which is still under consideration for our market, and which we review here, would be a better potential economy-focused performance option.
The upgraded GTD uses a 2.0-litre turbocharged engine making 135kW of power between 3500 and 4000rpm, and a Golf R-matching 380Nm of torque between 1750 and 3250rpm.
This compares to the GTI, which in Mk7.5 form makes 169kW (matching the old GTI Performance) between 4700 and 6200rpm and 350Nm between 1500 and 4600rpm.
The performance of the two compares thus: the GTD does 0-100km in 7.4 seconds (GTI 6.4sec) and fuel use from 4.7L/100km (GTI from 6.4L/100km).
Both engines are now matched to a six-speed manual gearbox, or an optional seven-speed DSG. The GTD weighs 30kg more.
The other major point-of-difference for the GTD is the fact it comes in a wagon body as well as five- and three-door hatches, which would set it apart in Australia. But it's not to be. The GTD was sold here as a hatch in Mk6 form between 2010 and 2012.
"At this stage we are not looking at reintroducing the GTD as we see the GTE as a better fit for our local performance car strategy," said the company's present Australian spokesman Kurt McGuiness.
"We are currently studying the viability of the GTE model as we see its potential for the Australian market."
The GTE does the 0-100km/h dash in 7.6sec, only two-tenths slower than the GTD, and has up to 50km of pure electric range. However, the likely $55,000-ish sticker price would come at a premium.
As we reported already, another performance Golf derivative that Volkswagen Australia is considering is a return for the Golf GTI three-door version, last sold here in 2012. Fingers crossed...