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The Golf GTD is impressive, but has nothing on its petrol powered sibling.
- 2010 Volkswagen Golf GTD, 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbocharged diesel: $41,790
- None fitted.
Picture the scenario. You’re after a Golf GTI, but can’t stand the thought of constantly filling it with premium unleaded petrol. Well, Volkswagen has a solution to your dilemma. It’s called the Volkswagen Golf GTD.
While it’s almost identical to the petrol powered Golf GTI, the difference lies under the bonnet.
The Golf GTD is fitted with a 2.0-litre, four-cylinder turbo diesel engine. It produces 125kW and 350Nm of torque, in comparison to the GTI’s 2.0-litre, four-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine, which produces 155kW and 280Nm of torque.
Inside the cabin, the GTD is a spitting image of the GTI. Our test vehicle was bog-stock, entry level with no options fitted. From the driver’s seat, you feel like you’re seated in a go-kart. Visibility through the front and rear is fantastic, as you could imagine from such a small car.
The seats are very supportive and offer excellent bottom and side bolster. You also get a steering wheel with a shaved bottom, giving the car added sporty feel and ease for heel-toeing. Our test vehicle was fitted with Volkswagen’s renowned six-speed automatic dual-clutch gearbox (more commonly known as a DSG) and as such also gets steering wheel mounted paddle shifters.
It’s needless to say that the interior is impeccable in terms of build quality and fit and finish. Everywhere you look and touch feels solid and well built.
Front leg and head room is excellent and while rear seat passengers won’t be able to stretch their hamstrings in the back seat, they’ll be more than happy with the head room on offer. The only grumble from rear seat passengers was the firmness of the centre seat.
The sound system and climate controls are easy to use and are readily accessible by both driver and front seat passenger. Options available include an upmarket DynAudio sound system, hard drive based satellite navigation, heated seats and automatic parallel parking.
Boot space is fairly cavernous, with 350 litres of cargo capacity on offer. That’s almost quadrupled to 1305 litres with the 60:40 split/fold seats folded flat.
Where I couldn’t stop harping on about the Golf GTI’s sharp handling, impeccable power delivery and immense grip, I was a little less fussed with the Golf GTD’s performance.
First off was the DSG. It’s starting to become a little irritating that people are forced to accept the jerkiness of Volkswagen vehicles fitted with a DSG from stationary starts. It’s almost impossible to have the vehicle take off without having the passengers shoved about unnecessarily.
Each time I carted around a different set of passengers, each person would comment on how the car felt like it was jolting forward off the lights. It was the same story when the car came to a halt. There is a moment soon before stationary where the gearbox seems to disengage the gear and all of a sudden there is more braking power than required.
Off the line with launch control, the GTD is seriously quick – for a diesel. The official 0-100km/h time of 8.1-seconds is easy to match and provides a brisk and continuous stream of torque from a standing start.
When you begin throwing the GTD through corners, you begin to realise that there is a shade too much torque on offer. You can feel jerking at the wheel as the electronic differential attempts to shuffle the excess torque unsuccessfully.
While it doesn’t seem all too good in front-wheel-drive form, I’m convinced that this engine would be the perfect match in an all-wheel-drive Golf. As it stands, it feels like too much is being crammed through the front wheels.
If you put those grumbles to one side though, it’s not hard to realise why Volkswagen decided to stick a diesel engine in the Golf chassis. It rides and handles exceptionally well and stays almost entirely flat when thrown into corners at any given speed, it’s a testament to the amount of work Volkswagen has put into engineering the latest iteration of the Golf.
The brakes feel great and the steering offers high levels of precision and feedback, which is exactly what you need with this type of car. The instantaneous response from the steering wheel mounted paddle shifters also amounts to a great deal of fun.
Let’s talk money. The Volkswagen Golf GTD is priced at $41,790, that’s $300 more than the GTI. Considering that you’re only saving 1.8L/100km in purchasing the diesel over the petrol powered Golf, it stands to defy logic why you would buy the GTD over the GTI.
The GTI’s remarkable power delivery and behaviour on the road make it the ultimate hot hatch in this price bracket.
Although the GTD offers impressive amounts of torque and great fuel consumption, there’s no way I’d give up the GTI’s overall ability for the sake of a few dollars at the bowser.
That is of course unless Volkswagen brings out an all-wheel-drive GTD – then you may have my attention.
CarAdvice Overall Rating: How does it Drive: How does it Look: How does it Go:
*Pricing is a guide as recommended to us by the manufacturer and does not include dealer delivery, on-road or statutory charges.