Viewed from outside, the GTI makes a striking contrast with the Mazda—taut, chiseled, no flab, no excess, minimal overhangs front and rear. It’s a look that says action-ready, and the GTI’s athleticism corroborates that impression. Aside from acceleration (we’ll get back to that), the GTI is a match for the Speed 3 in every performance category. The Continental SportContact 2 tires (225/40R-18) provide the grip of a professional greeter (0.93 on the skidpad) as well as a high level of confidence in wet conditions. Like the Speed 3, the GTI is quick on its feet, with eager responses. If there’s a distinction, it’s a stability-control system that can’t be completely disabled—that was the difference in the lane change—but the threshold is high, particularly in the “off” mode.
Add athleticism to smooth ride quality—essentially a BMW with front drive—and you have the winning combination.
Source: Car and Driver