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2014 Volkswagen GTI Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2014 Volkswagen GTI was new.


Performance: 8.9

Automotive journalists agree the 2014 Volkswagen GTI has a strong, refined powertrain, and offers agile handling and a comfortable ride. As a result, some reviewers think that the GTI offers one of the most satisfying driving experiences in its class.

  • "The 2014 Volkswagen GTI delivers one of the best overall driving experiences in the class." -- Edmunds
  • "Enthusiasts will love the refined power found in the GTI. ..." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "GTI is not only fast, but it's also refined. Wind and road noise are pleasantly low, at least as far as sports car go. The engine sounds great, producing a muted growl in full-throttle acceleration. The lone sore spot is marked coarse-surface tire thrum." -- Consumer Guide (2013)

Acceleration and Power

The 2014 Volkswagen GTI has a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that makes 200 horsepower. A six-speed manual transmission is standard, and a six-speed automated manual transmission is optional. The GTI achieves its best fuel economy with the automated manual, an EPA-estimated 24/32 mpg city/highway, which is good for an upscale small car.

Critics say the turbocharged engine makes the VW GTI feel very fast and provides strong acceleration at any speed. Several reviewers prefer to shift themselves with the standard manual transmission, saying it is precise, quick and easy to shift. However, other reviewers recommend the automated manual, which they say combines the ease of an automatic with the fun of manual shifting using the paddle shifters.

  • "The turbocharged engine is lively and unloads plenty of useful low-end torque. Although the conventional manual transmission is fun and easy to shift, the DSG transmission provides the convenience of an automatic and still makes the car feel quick, especially when you use the shift paddles to call up manual gearchanges." -- Edmunds
  • "Despite having ‘just’ 200 horsepower, GTI is plenty quick. All cars we've tested have shown minimal turbo lag." -- Consumer Guide (2013)
  • "The standard box works great, with a precise linkage, reasonably short throws, and a light action. It is our transmission of choice." -- Car and Driver (2010)
  • "If your desire is a satisfying driver's car, then there is no question that the six-speed manual is the box to get. It's just more fun." -- Autoblog (2010)

Handling and Braking

Test drivers write that the 2014 VW GTI delivers athletic handling and a fairly comfortable ride, as well as accurate steering that provides good feedback. However, some reviewers say that a few of the GTI’s rivals, like the Ford Focus ST and the Mini Cooper S, are more athletic when the road gets twisty. Some critics comment that the GTI’s brakes are very strong, but others say that they aren’t as powerful as they should be.

  • "Driven on twisty back roads, the GTI is fun up to a point. But there's no question that cars like the Focus ST and Cooper S feel livelier and have higher handling limits. Still, most drivers will find the GTI strikes an impressive balance between performance, comfort and daily thrills." -- Edmunds
  • "Its stiff suspension loves to attack curves, and its snug sport seats are about the best we've tested, better in fact than many sport seats in cars costing twice as much." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "GTI is among the best-handling front-wheel-drive cars. It has outstanding grip in fast turns with quick, precise steering. The brakes deliver worry-free stops, though one test example suffered from a touchy pedal." -- Consumer Guide (2013)
  • "The GTI also comes with the most precise electronic power steering in the business, with a lightness and feedback that belies its system. Conversely, the brakes felt okay, but not solid and powerful like most German brake systems. Fade came too easily in mountain road sprint exercises." -- Motor Trend (2010)

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