Excellent performance and mpg at a modest price
By Bad_Dolphin on Sunday, November 29, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 72,000
overall rating 9 of 10rating details
- Overall Rating
Pros: "Fantastic to drive, unbelievable value for price"
Cons: "Not a luxurious interior"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"We purchased this vehicle new in 2008 for it's nimble handling characteristics in combination with good reported mpg. We have not been disappointed!
The twin turbo 4 cylinder engine contributes to the GLI's lightweight while providing consistent torque throughout the acceleration range. It is startlingly fast for a vehicle priced under 30K, but exhibits great manners in handling at the same time. The low profile tires of course make for a slightly sportier ride, but pay off in stickiness and sureness of handling on the straights and the corners. The twin turbos with the 4 cylinder make it two cars in one. If we're light on the pedal once we reach cruising speed, we consistently get over 30 mpg on the highway, even at higher speeds, because the turbos aren't engaged and the six speed is geared high in the upper two gears. But if you're on a windy road and want a little tiger of a sports car, the twin turbos can be engaged. With one covering the lower rpm's and the other the upper, there's a consistent hand off of power all the way to redline. The brakes are also excellent and predictable.
The interior is not luxurious, but quite sporty and more importantly, both comfortable and ergonomic in design. All instruments and even the radio are cleanly and intuitively position for the driver. There is a tremendous amount of room inside, and the 60/40 foldable rear seat with a separate center passway for long narrow objects with both seats still up adds to the already capacious trunk--feels more like a full size sedan than a midsize or compact in the trunk space. With the seats down, there are very few objects that can't be carried inside.
The standard sound system is quite nice, although it is easy to max out the speakers as the volume goes up. It's good for everything from classical/jazz to hard rock. Surprisingly good for a basic sound system. The AC is excellent, even for our black vehicle in Southern California, it has no problem handling 110 in the desert. Again, the controls are intuitive, simple, and easy to us, even while driving hard.
The 6 speed double clutch racing transmission is simply awesome. Shifts are much faster than with a manual transmission, and very smooth, whether you're going up or down.There are three choices--standard drive mode is very nice. But move the shifter to locked to the side, and you can up or down shift either with the paddle shifters or with the primary shift lever mounted between the seats--back for downshift and forward to upshift. The third mode is sport mode, where the transmission is set for higher revs before upshifting and more aggressive downshifting for performance. In this mode, you can either let the transmission respond to your foot on the accelerator, or "manumatically" shift with the steering wheel mounted paddle shifters. The steering wheel itself is a bit unusual n a good way--quite thick and ergonomically design--one of the best I've every used, including in much pricier sports cars.
We have had very few reliability issues in these first 72,000 miles, restricted to an occasional reluctance to fire up immediately when cold (fixed with a tuneup at the required interval) and some engine light showing that turned out to be a loose gas cap. The standard tires, Michelin Pilots, are excellent but they are soft rubber performance tires, so the harder you drive, the more you'll replace them, of course.
Offering stylish looks, the GLI offers performance and handling comparable to cars at close to twice its price. A very unusual combination, and a terrific value for a car priced just under $30,000."
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