What we like: sporty and luxurious; exceptional tech features, including the driver’s cluster and infotainment system.
What we don’t like: the tactile buttons on the steering wheel are average.
Seductive, that’s what the 2022 Volkswagen Golf GTI is. With its iconic exterior styling and thrilling performance, it’s a tonne of fun to drive. There’s intelligent tech too, and the whole package just leaves you wanting more, every time you get behind the wheel.
But first, there’s a confession to be made. We put next level hopes of goodness onto this car, before we even picked up the keys. That’s because this writer has never driven a Golf GTI before, and there was great anticipation and excitement to get behind the wheel.
Starting with the exterior, the GTI’s look jumped out at us right away, with its eye-catching German design. There’s been a facelift to the front end, with a new slimline grille, honeycomb air intake and integrated LED lighting complementing the car’s classic features.
The headlight and bonnet combination draws your eyes to the flared front guards, while the optional sunroof, especially when it’s cracked open, adds to the sporty touches, along with the powerful presence of the rear diffuser and chrome tailpipes.
The modern design includes the striking red radiator grille strip that has become synonymous with the iconic GTI variant too. The sporty and responsive ride and handling is engaging yet relaxed, thanks to low levels of road noise and minimal vibrations.
Underneath the bonnet sits a punchy 4-cylinder 2.0-litre turbocharged fuel-injected engine. That powerplant produces 180kW and 370Nm of torque, and is paired with a 7-speed direct shift gearbox. In its standard form, it rides on 18-inch alloys.
The Golf GTI offers good power down low and picks up speed quickly and controllably. It feels well planted on the road too. Thanks to a multitude of tech, there’s minimal wheelspin, even when you push it hard off the line.
On that note, the GTI’s IQ.DRIVE safety system includes adaptive cruise control, rear traffic alert, driver fatigue detection, and lane keep assistance. Front assist with pedestrian and cyclist detection is also included.
Inside, the cockpit of the Golf feels plush, and the premium materials used throughout add to the high-quality feel. Hands down one of our favourite features though is the digital instrument cluster.
It features a colour display, and multiple custom views, including speedo, tacho, navigation, driver data, and assistance systems. A 10.0-inch colour touchscreen infotainment system provides smartphone connectivity via Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
The usual navigation features, and access to multiple driver assistance system settings can also be found there. The steering wheel has a three spoke leather-wrapped, flat-bottom design which is nice in the hands as well.
On the downside, it has tactile buttons that feel cluttered and are not easy to use while driving. In the plus column, there’s a cleverly designed wireless charging mobile phone cubby too, and with the lid closed, there’s a place to put the car key.
You’ll also find a decent sound system that absolutely rocks, with clear sound and deep bass, while the cabin is genuinely comfortable and practical throughout. In the case of our test vehicle, it was also fitted with the optional Luxury package.
This meant we also scored heated and ventilated front seats, with driver memory and electric lumbar support, and that panoramic glass sunroof we mentioned earlier. It also adds Vienna leather seat upholstery with red decorative stitching.
Clinical and precise on the road, the 2022 Volkswagen Golf GTI comes in Pure White, Atlantic Blue Metallic, Dolphin Grey Metallic, King Red Premium Metallic, and Deep Black Pearl Effect.
It’s priced from $60,180 drive away. Spec it up though, by adding the Luxury and Style & Sound packages (the latter adds 19-inch wheels, a head-up display and Harman/Kardon sound system among other items), and it could cost you $67,110 drive away.
Mind you, we’d go for at least the Style & sound pack just for those goodies, it’s worth it.
The 2022 Golf GTI is backed by a 5-year unlimited kilometre warranty, 12-months roadside assist membership and the option to choose your vehicle’s scheduled servicing care plan, with three and five year options available.