Advertisement

Why ads?
Popular at KBB.com
  • 10 Best Sedans Under $25,000
  • 12 Best Family Cars of 2014
  • 10 Most Affordable Cars of 2014
  • 10 Best Luxury Cars Under $40,000
Go

2008 Volkswagen GTI

Overview
Share this page
Trading in or Selling? Know where you stand with the most up-to-date Kelley Blue Book Value at your fingertips. See your car's value

Buying this car?

2008 Volkswagen GTI Review

By

Costing well under $25,000, the 2008 Volkswagen GTI returns to its roots by infusing razor-sharp handling with spirited acceleration. Thanks to the GTI's clever hatchback design, drivers can enjoy true German-engineered performance without having to sacrifice comfort for four people or a roomy cargo hold. Although now larger and heavier than the original car, the GTI remains a manageable size and features its most powerful engine to date: A turbocharged 2.0-liter unit pumping out 200 horsepower. Drivers can choose between a slick-shifting six-speed manual or Volkswagen's marvelous Direct Shift Gearbox (DSG) automatic, which is without question the best auto-manual transmission money can buy.

You'll Like This Car If...

A powerful, flexible engine combined with flat, responsive handling, a lot of grip in the corners and front-wheel-drive predictability make the 2008 Volkswagen GTI a joy to drive enthusiastically wherever appropriate.

You May Not Like This Car If...

While the 2008 Volkswagen GTI out-muscles the new Civic Si, MINI Cooper S and Mazda3 s, it's also 400 to 600 pounds heavier than those competitors. In fact, this biggest GTI ever weighs as much as Volkswagen's Passat midsize sedan. The extra weight isn't readily apparent, but it's certainly no advantage, either.

What's Significant About This Car?

Changes for 2008 include a 15mm suspension-height reduction, the addition of SIRIUS Satellite Radio as standard equipment and the removal of the Climatronic automatic climate control from all models.

Driving the GTI

Driving Impressions The 2008 Volkswagen GTI drives as true to the original as a 3,300-pound, turbocharged car can be expected. It's on the heavy side, but steering is razor-sharp and cornering grip...

is tenacious and flat (a mid-corner bump can startle the GTI, but it recovers quickly). It's turbocharged, but turbo lag is virtually non-existent, boost is silky, there's plenty of torque available almost immediately and torque steer has been all but eliminated. Like the best GTIs before it, the newest is fun around town and confidence-inspiring on even unfamiliar mountain and canyon roads. The six-speed manual works like a charm, but it doesn't take too long to be won over by the six-speed DSG gearbox that shifts quickly and smoothly at the push of a button. The highway ride might be stiff for some, but anyone expecting this level of performance might find it downright comfortable.
Favorite Features

Six-Speed Direct Shift Gearbox
In stop-and-go traffic it's a smooth-shifting automatic transmission. On your favorite road or track it's a quick-shifting, no-pedal manual. You won't miss the clutch pedal as much as you may think.

Front Seats
Well-bolstered cloth seats and even deeper leather ones provide plenty of support to keep you from having to fight the lateral forces you're having so much fun generating. They're also comfortable.

2008 Volkswagen GTI Details
Interior

The interior of the GTI is crafted with a level of materials and build quality that outclasses some very good competition. Highlights include aluminum pedals and trim, leather steering wheel, handbrake and shift knob and a cooled storage compartment under the front armrest. At night, controls are illuminated in Volkswagen's now-familiar blue and red scheme. In back, passengers get their own heating, ventilation and air conditioning vents, while a 60/40 split folding seatback extends the car's hatchback functionality. Did we mention the fantastic sport bucket seats? They are arguably the best in this class.

Exterior

In homage to first- and second-generation GTIs, the newest model features a thin red grille surround and original-style GTI logos. Other highlights include a honeycomb mesh grille, low-set fog lights, mirror-integrated turn indicators, discreet rear spoiler and red brake calipers visible through 17-inch wheels. Last year's introduction of North America's first ever four-door GTI expands the car's appeal to enthusiasts who now have kids.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

Standard equipment on a base GTI includes a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine, six-speed manual transmission, HID xenon headlamps with washers, fog lights, power locks with remote keyless entry, one-touch power windows, heated power mirrors, air conditioning, cruise control, multifunction trip computer, 10-speaker AM/FM/6CD-MP3 sound system, SIRIUS Satellite Radio, cloth seats, tilt and telescoping leather steering wheel with audio and telephone controls (plus paddle shifters on DSG-equipped models), leather shift knob and 17-inch wheels. Standard safety equipment includes front, front-side and two-row side-curtain airbags, plus electronic stability and traction aids. Summer performance tires can be swapped for all-season performance tires at no cost.

Optional Equipment

Equipment not included on a base GTI includes a six-speed Direct Shift Gearbox (DSG), the Autobahn Package with power glass sunroof, heated leather sport seats with power-adjustable lumbar, premium sound system and heated windshield washer nozzles, 18-inch wheels and a navigation system that relocates the six-disc CD changer to beneath the center armrest.

Under the Hood

The GTI's 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine benefits from FSI direct fuel injection that helps to counteract turbo lag and provide more of the low-end torque that's long been a GTI calling card. The optional six-speed DSG transmission adds just over $1,000 to the price but provides slightly quicker zero to 60-miles-per-hour runs (just 6.8 seconds, according to VW) and marginally better combined fuel economy.

2.0-liter in-line 4
200 horsepower @ 5100 rpm
207 lb.-ft. of torque @ 1800 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 21/29 (manual), 22/29 (automatic)

Trading in or Selling? Know where you stand with the most up-to-date Kelley Blue Book Value at your fingertips. See your car's value

Buying this car?

2008 Volkswagen GTI Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
9.2
Out of 10

Based on 185 Ratings for the 2006 - 2009 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    9.3/10
    Quality
    9.4/10
  • Reliability
    9.2/10
    Performance
    9.6/10
  • Comfort
    9.3/10
    Styling
    9.5/10

Great road-holding car!

By on Thursday, March 13, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 94,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
9/10

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"Great handling and ultimate utility; I regularly car-top my bikes and kayaks to mtns. and rivers. Excellent MPG and hi-performance too. Super reliable. What more could you want?!"

2 people out of 3 found this review helpful

Great Value, A Lot of Fun to Drive!

By on Thursday, February 13, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 94,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
7/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "Great Value, Blast to Drive, Adequate MPG"

Cons: "Reliability could be better,"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

"I currently own a 2008 model year VW GTI that I bought new in December 2007. In short, it's been a great car. The GTI might not be "class leading" in anyone specific category - but when you look at the entire package, I'm not sure what else offers a better value. The car drives great, interior fit & finish looks like it belongs in a much more expensive category, and still looks pretty good almost 7 years after buying. Don't buy the FSI motor, it tends to have issues with the fuel pump. Mine has gone out twice. TSI is better and I believe available in 2008.5 and up models. Car does burn a considerable amount of oil. 10K oil change interval that requires a full quart or more to be added every 2,500 miles."

Absolutely love my GTI

By on Monday, February 10, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 45,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Blast to drive, handles really well, quick"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"I've had this car for about a year now and it has been a dream come true. I love everything about my little VW. Handles like a dream, gets decent gas milage, and is very easy on the eyes. The interior is well crafted and everything feels like it's exactly where it should be. The back seat (even in my little 2 door) is spacious enough to comfortably fit two full grown men. I would happily stand by this car and recommend it to anyone looking for a fun and sporty little hatchback."

2 people out of 2 found this review helpful

GTI -the perfect combination of sport and function

By on Saturday, December 21, 2013

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 83,500

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"I love this car. I bought it used 3 years ago and its the best car I have ever owned. The handling is unmatched by any other. The engineering, interior, design, features, etc. are all top notch. With the GTI you are getting an Audi for a VW price."

solid, drives well, somewhat expensive to maintain

By on Tuesday, November 05, 2013

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 65,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "dependable, solid and tight, fun to drive"

Cons: "cost of maintenance"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

"This has been a great car but there were some hidden costs of owning it. Tires are more expensive than, say, for a Nissan Sentra, and replacing headlights and the air filter (you have to pop the top off the engine compartment, easier said than done) is more complicated and expensive. That said, VW's warranty and recalls (there have been two) have served me very well, the car is absolutely dependable and handles well. I would buy it again."

1 person out of 1 found this review helpful

Best vehicle I have ever owned.

By on Monday, September 09, 2013

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 75,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Fun to drive, comfortable, reliable, no problems."

Cons: "Instruments hard to see in daylight."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"Great handling, excellent reliability, comfortable, good seats, good looks. Hatchback design meets all my needs for hauling things. Projector headlights are excellent."

1 person out of 1 found this review helpful

Share this page

Advertisement

Why ads?
Trading in or Selling? Know where you stand with the most up-to-date Kelley Blue Book Value at your fingertips. See your car's value

Buying this car?