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VW Golf GTI: Better than a BMW M3


Who are we to disagree with this: the VW Golf GTI is better than the BMW M3!

This is some great car. It’s not that it’s less than half the price as an M3; it’s that it’s more than twice as good as an M3.

And most important of all, the GTI offers the same, honest high-performance dynamics for which Volkswagen has always been noted. When you steer, it goes, and it has the same balance at 50 mph as it does at 100 mph, a kind of dynamic dependability that makes you a better driver. Just like VW engines of old, this new, turbo 2.0-liter inline-4 has a really elastic powerband, while direct injection makes possible a tall compression ratio, so the throttle response is beautifully sharp, so unlike the sluggish, droning, Audi-developed turbo 2.0-liter four we remember. The engine is supported by a gearbox with great shift action, somewhat long throws in order to deliver light effort in the German style, but beautifully slick with positive gate engagement into the gears. You don’t even have to poke your front-seat companion in the eye with your elbow in order to get sixth gear.