Barely had I declared this to be “The Summer of the Hot Hatch” when I got an invite from VW Canada to the launch of their 2015 Golf/GTI consumer drive program. Talk about bashert!
And so it was that I found myself wandering around Woodbine Race Track early on a Friday morning. Obviously designed by the same person who designed a racing form, the place was somewhat confusing until I realized, all I had to do was listen for the sound of impatient journalists. Sure enough, I found a whole conference room full of them, chugging coffee, checking their phones and chatting about how, finally, we were going to get our hands on this smokin’ hot hatch.
I could tell that VW is bravely going beyond the weekend car section to grab eyeballs. Apart from myself, there was a mommy blogger who’d been flown in from British Columbia, a few lifestyle bloggers, and auto bloggers. Plus a handful of folks who are smart enough to blog only on the side, and don’t let it take over their life.
The always-effervescent VW Canada spokesman got the show rolling, and then, through the magic of Google Hangout, we went straight to Germany. A VW product guru talked about the new Golf/GTI, and why we should be excited about it. I mean, in case we weren’t already excited enough about it. But when there are brand spanking new Golf hatches to be driven, well, can we get down to business?
And so we did. The good folks at VW wasted no time in hustling us into a convoy of brightly coloured Golfs, streaming across the supersized parking lot over to the tent. Two courses had been set up for us to scurry around in the new Golf – one for the awesome TSI model, and one for the totally tricked out GTI. There was a way cool 1978 VW Golf Rabbit on display, and I wondered if they’d let me take that around the course. Fat chance! After more details on the updates (210 hp for the GTI) to get us frothing at the mouth, we finally got our chance to whip around the track.
Indeed, the new Golf/GTI is a fine-looking vehicle, stretched out and flattened for better aerodynamics and fuel efficiency. The GTI was quite luxe, very planted and simply slithered around the cones. That was my first ride, and most enjoyable. But taking the second ride, in the Golf TSI was a little more onerous, since the chaperone in the passenger seat was determined to get me in touch with my inner Janet Guthrie. By the time the video below was shot (by Derek Kubiak), I had simply tuned him out. That’s how you know driving the Golf is a whoop-ass kind of joy, because even though this guy was yakking my ear off the whole time, here I am, singing its praises.
The difference from the Golf TSI to Golf GTI was palpable. From the five minutes I spent careening around the cones, I’d definitely go for the GTI, but the TSI is far from shabby. I’d like to think of it as a gateway Golf – take a taste, and you’re ready for more heady hijinks.
Hear tell, soon both models will be available for us blogger/writer types to play with for a week. No chaperone required.