Redesigned in 2010, the 2011 Volkswagen GTI is a standout performance hatchback that really has no equal in the Compact Sedans and Wagons category, as indicated by its Total Car Score. While some in this class may outperform the GTI, no competitor has yet to offer a similar combination of style, performance and luxury.
The GTI is small on the outside, but quite roomy on the inside. The interior conveys a sense of being both upscale and sporty, with soft-touch surfaces and rich appointments. The cargo area is also deep and wide -- with the rear seats folded, it can accommodate substantially sizable items. Even the tachometer and speedometer are large and easy to read.
The 2.0-liter turbo is not the most powerful in its class, the car may also be a tick or two slower through the slalom than several competitors and it’s certainly not the cheapest hatchback out there. It is, however, one of the most fun and rewarding to drive.
The 2011 Volkswagen GTI is available as a front-wheel-drive hatchback, in either a three-door or five-door configuration. Trim levels are: Base GTI, GTI with Sunroof, GTI with Sunroof and Navigation, and GTI Autobahn.
The Base model includes sport suspension, tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, 18-inch alloy wheels, heated side mirrors, heated front sport seats, Bluetooth, foglights and an audio system with satellite radio and iPod integration. The GTI with Sunroof as the expected feature, plus a touchscreen for audio control and leather upholstery.
A navigation system and xenon headlights are included on the GTI with Sunroof and Navigatiion, while the top-of-the-line Autobahn has a premium sound system and keyless entry and ignition.
A 2.0-liter, turbocharged four-cylinder engine powers all GTI versions to the tune of 200 horsepower and 207 pound-feet of torque. Buyers have a choice of a six-speed manual transmission or a six-speed dual-clutch automated manual (DSG). Cars with DSG also get a launch control function and steering wheel-mounted shift paddles.
The EPA rates the GTI at 24 mpg city, 32 mpg highway and 27 mpg combined for DSG models, and 21/31/25 mpg for manual models. The GTI uses Premium fuel.
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