Generations have passed and versions have come and gone, yet for 45 years the Golf continues to be Volkswagen’s most popular models — and in my humble opinion, the best hatchback model in the market. That reputation has extended to the Golf’s sporty alter ego, the GTI.
The range-topping version of the current GTI line proudly carries the name of Germany’s famous thoroughfare. The VW Golf GTI “Autobahn” is one of the best compact cars in its class.
What I like most — and the list is long — is its peppy turbocharged four-cylinder engine that works in tandem with either a six-speed manual transmission or the seven-speed automatic transmission, which is what I had on my test vehicle.
The Golf GTI Autobahn is powered by a 2.0-liter intercooled turbocharged four-cylinder engine that produces 228 horsepower at 4,700 rpm and 258 pound-feet of torque — all conspiring to create an exciting driving experience.
With the seven-speed, you get 25 mpg in the city and 30 mpg on the highway. That is not as fuel-efficient as some of its rivals, but that is what you get for one of the most nimble and responsive vehicles in the industry.
You are going to have to determine what your priorities are if you are interested in buying this pretty puppy. But if what you are looking for is a compact with an upscale interior and, more importantly, refined driving characteristics, then it is money well spent.
The Autobahn sits on top of the GTI range. Pricing starts at $37,995, which is a bit steep for a compact hatchback. But the good news is that there are some perks to being a range-topping model.
The hatchback also features adaptive cruise control, lane-keep assist, automatic high beams, and active park assist. A 12-way power-adjustable driver’s seat, dual-zone automatic climate control, navigation, and a Fender premium audio system are all standard features of the model.
Jump inside and you will see why I believe Autobahn arguably has one of the best interiors around. No matter how tall you are, you’ll easily find a suitable seating position and with a premium leather upholstery. Fold down the rear seats and you will see why, with an incredible 52.7 cubic feet of cargo room, the Autobahn has one of the largest cargo volumes in the compact car class.
Also, for a car of its size, the Golf GTI has one of the best and most straightforward infotainment systems in the segment. The eight-inch touchscreen display on the range-topping model is easy to learn and use. The screen itself is responsive, the menus and options are intuitive, and the controls are all conveniently placed.
The GTI Autobahn further benefits from a number of upgrades that are exclusive to its status. Including a super user-friendly navigation system, ambient lighting, a rearview camera, an automatic post-collision braking system, and rain-sensing windshield wipers.
If you have the money to spend, then, by all means, go buy a 2019 Volkswagen Golf GTI Autobahn and don’t even bother looking back.
Grant Miller is the publisher of Miami’s Community Newspapers. He may be contacted by calling 305-662-2277 or via email at Grant@CommunityNewspapers.com.