While there are truckloads of topics where you mightn’t utter Volkswagen Golf and Porsche 911 in the same breath, they’re kindred compatriots in an important area: both struck successful formulas long ago and have benefited from evolution at the hands of many since. In either case, the term ‘iconic’ is richly deserved and hard won, if by measures sometimes felt rather than seen.
A byproduct of success that breeds range proliferation and variation, is an Olympic-sized gene pool of spec and componentry – a ‘parts bin’ product planners can have a proper party with to create limited editions that compel petrolhead customers’ whims, rather than merely tarting up product to shift more volume (though surely there’s a German phrase for “handy commercial upshot”).
The new 2017 Volkswagen Golf GTI Performance Edition 1 is all of these things. It is evolved, if relatively surprise free. It part-bins the familiar while adding a smattering of the new. It sits as a logical midpoint between the ‘regular’ GTI variants and the flagship performance Golf R versions within the newly launched Golf 7.5 mid-life update. And it’s a likeable and desirable go-fast Golf mash-up seemingly aimed at particular petrol-hedonistic buyers' tastes.