$17,767 - $23,891

2017 Volkswagen GTI Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2017 Volkswagen GTI was new.


Performance: 8.9

The 2017 Volkswagen GTI boasts excellent overall performance, powered by a standard turbocharged engine. Power output is excellent, and the GTI’s driving dynamics are outstanding. Fuel economy is a little below average for a compact car.

  • "The 2017 Volkswagen Golf GTI lives up to its hot hatch heritage with sharp handling and steering, brisk acceleration, and a rather burly engine and exhaust note. These are all best exploited on a tight and twisting mountain road, where the GTI playfully bounds from curve to curve while instilling plenty of driver confidence." -- Edmunds
  • "The GTI's strong engine and well-tuned chassis provide a confident ride with a fun factor that's easily accessible." -- Autotrader (2016)
  • "The GTI has always been a hoot to drive, but with new design and engineering tweaks for the seventh generation, the car has reached a whole new level of playfulness." -- Autoblog (2015)

Acceleration and Power

All GTI models come with a 2.0-liter four-cylinder turbocharged engine, front-wheel drive, and a six-speed manual transmission. A six-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission is optional. The engine in the base GTI produces 210 horsepower, while all other trims receive a tuned engine that puts out 220 horsepower. According to EPA estimates, the GTI gets 24 mpg in the city and 34 mpg on the highway, which is slightly below average for the class.

Acceleration from both transmissions in the 2017 GTI is generally strong, especially when already moving. The manual transmission shifts seamlessly, but some critics think the automatic responds slowly when pressed for a quick start.

  • "Either the slick-shifting manual or the well-executed DSG dual-clutch automatic transmission is a good choice. Especially compared to traditional automatics, the DSG is quick and smooth, and its downshifts are perfectly rev-matched. However, we've found that DSG can be frustratingly slow to respond to gas pedal inputs when you want to accelerate quickly from a stop or when you're trundling along in heavy traffic." -- Edmunds
  • "In standard GTI trim it whirs out 210 horsepower (10 more than the previous engine) and, more important, it cranks up the torque to 258 lb-ft beginning at just 1,500 on your rpm band. The increase is noticeable in a number of instances ranging from off-the-line launch to acceleration out of corners." -- Kelley Blue Book (2015)
  • "The GTI has always been more about overall excellence than jaw-dropping acceleration, but thanks to a new engine under the hood, the Mk7 can build some serious speed. The basic specs remain the same: It's still a turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder, but torque is up in a big way, from 207 lb-ft last year to a whopping 258 lb-ft. It's a difference you'll feel every time you punch the gas." -- Autotrader (2015)

Handling and Braking

The GTI comes standard with an adjustable suspension that can be tuned to Individual, Normal, or Sport settings to better tailor your driving experience. A limited-slip differential comes in all models but the base trim. Handling is exceptionally athletic and sporty, with sharp turning abilities and highly responsive steering.

  • "Though all GTIs are great fun to drive, it's worth upgrading to at least the Sport if you're planning to take on challenging roads or the occasional track day. The limited-slip differential on this trim (and above) helps pull the car's nose around the apex of a turn, resulting in quicker progress for more advanced drivers." -- Edmunds
  • "Extra cornering talent comes from the Performance package's limited-slip front differential, which really helps transition quickly from one direction to another." -- Autotrader (2016)
  • "The new 2015 GTI feels planted on the road at all times. Bumps don't upset the car, even mid-corner. The body rolls a bit more than you might expect, but it's well-controlled. The real-world result is high confidence in the car's handling, which makes it feel as though you're never going as fast on a twisty road as you really are. Your driver's license should beware, because this car encourages you to drive faster." -- Motor Trend (2015)

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