There are at least half a dozen hot hatches that are quicker in the 0-100km/h sprint. But there are none that the match it as an all-round package in the seat of the pants test.
Volkswagen says the new GTI is faster, sharper and more powerful than ever, while also being cleaner, safer and more efficient.
But in DSG guise the car is no faster in the 0-100km/h sprint, which is not surprising given its modest power increase of 8kW.
Having said that, it still feels strong and willing throughout the rev range, with enough grunt to guarantee an entertaining drive for the enthusiast.
Then there’s that wonderful exhaust note. The GTI burble is ever present in the cabin, while in cars fitted with the DSG double-clutch automatic, there’s a satisfying pop every time the car changes up gears and a rumble and spit when you lift off the accelerator coming into a corner. The old magic is still there.