Test of the Volkswagen Golf GTI and Golf GTD at the Jarama Circuit. Diesel or gasoline? Do we need to ask ourselves this question?

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Expectation and a lot of morbid in our first contact on the circuit with the sportiest range of the new Volkswagen Golf. I anticipate that we are facing a surprising diesel, for different reasons, and a GTI that continues to be surpassed with each generation to remind us of the strength of what are probably the best-known acronyms in the automotive industry. These two cars are the most powerful alternatives at the moment, diesel and gasoline, of the latest generation of Volkswagen Golf.

Ten years have passed since the first edition of the Volkswagen Race Tour, a traveling event that runs through the most important Spanish circuits to bring the brand’s customers closer to the novelties that have been produced each year. For us it is also a special moment. Without going any further, this edition of the 2013 Race Tour allowed us to get behind the wheel of the new Volkswagen Golf GTI and Golf GTD on our favorite track, the Circuito del Jarama in Madrid.

A Volkswagen Golf GTD with a sporty aesthetic worthy of a GTI


Volkswagen Golf GTI and GTD at the Jarama Circuit

The Volkswagen Golf GTD recovers the aesthetics of GTIAlthough the latter reserves the exclusivity of the red details on the bodywork and tartan upholstery, and the design of five-spoke petals.

I arrive predisposed for this Volkswagen Golf GTD I am surprised, and even come to understand the reasons why someone would be willing to give up a gasoline engine in a compact sports car. But let’s remember that our test will take place only in circuit, we will not talk about consumption and therefore diesel loses its greatest strategic advantage compared to GTI. So I decide to hit the track first with the new Volkswagen Golf GTDFor the same reason that in a good restaurant we would avoid having dessert before the starters and the main course.

With the new Golf GTD ahead I already appreciate that, when it comes to aesthetics, this diesel has nothing to envy the GTI. Aerodynamic and aggressive fenders that in no case become badass, what’s more, both the GTI As the GTD they can boast of being two of the most discreet sports compacts on the market. Elegant would be a good qualifier. On the outside, the red accents on the GTI They are shown in silver gray, the 17 ”wheels have a multi-spoke design that also has its charm, and the standard tartan upholstery also lacks the red stitching detail.

The Volkswagen Golf surprise GTD: engine sound


Volkswagen Golf GTI and GTD at the Jarama Circuit

Make no mistake, this diesel cannot boast the sound of a GTI, but at least it is very successful and does not sin of being excessively artificial.

Someone starts the engine of a Volkswagen Golf GTD in the pits of the Jarama Circuit and monopolizes all my attention. A thick, throaty sound, mostly coming from the car’s exhaust line It invites me to ask myself, is this really sounding a diesel?

When I get on board and start the engine the surprise is even greater. I know for sure that I am driving a four-cylinder diesel engine, but with Sport mode and acoustic actuator that transmits certain notes from the exhaust line to the passenger compartment, the impression is quite different. On the outside the sound is thick but the acoustic actuator accentuates the sound on board even more.

As the revolutions increase, the sound increases its intensity and the serious roar that the engine gives off fills the cabin of this Volkswagen Golf and camouflages the vibrations and rattles of the diesel, which by the way, as we verified by disconnecting the Sport mode, are quite low thanks – among other things – to the differential shafts supported on bearings to eliminate inertia. The sound, although surprising for a diesel, is not too artificial but it still has no point of comparison with what we hear when driving a real GTI.

A powerful and sporty diesel that will not overshadow the GTI


Volkswagen Golf GTI and GTD in Jarama

The golf GTD is very accomplished as a whole, but a four-cylinder diesel engine is still too far from the sportiness that anyone expects from a GTI. This diesel runs out too soon.

But the Volkswagen Golf GTD It is not only sound, but also sportiness applied to a diesel taking advantage of the know-how of the GTI. We rolled on the Jarama track in Sport mode, the steering is agile and its toughness meets our expectations, the chassis supports the body very well and prevents unwanted rolling and pitching. The suspension setting is very similar to its own GTI and although there are subtle differences the weight of this diesel hardly grows (about 25 kilograms) compared to GTI.

Even so he GTD It doesn’t take long to blush and show us the inherent deficiencies in its 184 hp diesel engine. A sports compact should always meet the desirable characteristic of a progressive engine, but above all that it stretches well enough to offer constant thrust before reaching the top gear. As we exceed 3,000 rpm the Golf GTD begins to show the first signs of exhaustion and the only thing we can do is think about shifting to the higher gear. In our test, by the way, both the Golf GTD like golf GTI they had automatic transmission DSG. To minimally enjoy this car between curves and on the circuit it is essential, so, engage the gears manually using the paddles on the steering wheel and don’t wait for the change DSG decide when to upshift and try to take advantage of the most usable RPM of this engine.

Taking into account that a Volkswagen Golf GTD It costs technically the same as a Volkswagen Golf GTI, about 31,000 euros, I would only consider your choice to travel many kilometers and if fuel consumption were one of my top priorities, something really unusual for those looking for a powerful sports compact. For everything else, your car is the GTI.


Volkswagen Golf GTI and GTD at the Jarama Circuit

With more lights than shadows GTD It has left us a good taste in our mouths, but when it comes to getting into the new Volkswagen Golf GTI I can’t forget the last car GTI that I tested on this track, the Volkswagen Golf GTI 35 Anniversary (Generation 6). The new Volkswagen Golf GTI won’t surprise you at all, it’s still that sporty compact with the hint of a spicy engine and furious that in Sport mode it rears up very easily at the slightest touch on the right pedal. The sound is still deep and throaty, quiet and not at all annoying when idling and delicious in the reductions due to the small detonations that occur in the exhaust line.

We would need a thorough test to determine if this really new GTI has changed so much compared to its predecessor, but evidently the new platform MQB Volkswagen Golf has a fundamental role in this new generation. The Volkswagen Golf GTI is now 42 kilograms lighter and its benefits have improved slightly, as have its consumption. Logically the latter we could not verify in a circuit test.


Volkswagen Golf GTI and GTD at the Jarama Circuit

In Sport mode the ESP It is quite permissive and leaves a small margin for loss of traction, preventing its entry into action from stopping you momentarily.

For a few laps we were able to roll with a Volkswagen Golf GTI 220 hp through the Jarama circuit. This model does the 0 to 100 km / h in 6.5 seconds and its top speed is 244 km / h (with the transmission DSG). Above We will also have a Performance version with 230 hp and a limited slip differential in the front axle which has been developed specifically for this version, as well as larger caliber brakes and improved ventilation.

The golf GTI As standard (without Performance package) it already has a Sport mode in which the stability control delays its intermediation when it comes to solving traction losses, which is appreciated in sports driving, without totally dispensing with your help. However


Volkswagen Golf GTI and GTD at the Jarama Circuit

The driving modes and economy of consumption of the new GTI will make it the most versatile in history and it will also cost us to justify the acquisition of a GTD, which costs practically the same in Spain.

Just a few laps don’t go much, but without a doubt we could say that we are facing the best Volkswagen Golf GTI history but above all the most versatile. Limited to its driving on the circuit, we could not verify what we will see when in a few weeks we offer you an in-depth test of this model. The Volkswagen Golf GTI certifies a consumption of 6.0 liters / 100 kilometers that in real life will translate into more than just these lab tests. However, I am convinced that the real figures on the road, at legal speeds, will not be much higher than those of compacts with less power.

On the other hand the Comfort, Normal and Sport driving modes regulate damping valve settings, engine reactions, and throttle and steering feel to ensure agility GTI in sporty driving and being as comfortable as you would expect in day-to-day driving.

To conclude this test we have already seen that as regards sportsmanship the GTD can never be compared to a GTI, a matter of truism that we could have anticipated without even testing both cars. It remains for us to solve (we leave it for another occasion) if the consumption of the GTI they are as low as their homologation advertises. In that case it will be really difficult for us to justify the interest of a GTD, except for those who want a compact and powerful diesel, to travel many kilometers and also look for the touch of exclusivity and sportiness in the aesthetics that until now a 150 hp diesel Golf could not offer.

On Daily Engine: Volkswagen Golf GTI 2013, 220 hp and only 6.0 liters / 100 km | Volkswagen golf GTD 2013: he GTI diesel returns with 184 hp


Volkswagen Golf GTI and GTD at the Jarama Circuit

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