Volkswagen has a long sporting tradition with Diesels. Already the very first Golf Diesel was a lively performer, combining high revving sportiness with good economy. After the launch of the mythical Golf GTI, Volkswagen introduced in 1982 her first GTD, and has kept producing these sporting Diesels ever since. With the 7th generation of the Golf, a superb “Gran Turismo Diesel” version was soon to follow. We tested in for you here. Just feel the power already through these pages…
Hans Knol ten Bensel
Stepping into the car, one is enveloped by the contours of the sporting chequered seats, and your hands touch the leather covered steering wheel, and rest on the horizontal bottom, your fingertips gently touching the “GTD” emblem. Wow. You find the car very comfortable and roomy, yet sporting, and of course, again that overwhelming impression of high build quality and the use of excellent materials. The familiar controls, the impressive, smooth finish of everything, it transports you even at standstill.
The familiar round dials light up, the polo ball schaped gear lever just falls into your hand. Starting the engine, the unit comes smoothly into life. Swiftly goes in first gear, and off you go. Delightfully nimble and responsive, the GTD pleases right away.
Pulling power is of course at hand. Not less than 380 Nm of maximum torque, which is available at a constant value from 1,750 to 3,250 rpm. The six speed gearbox is well mated to the engine, ideally geared, and the gears go in so easily and smoothly. Hardly necessary to push the throttle when (city) driving in normal traffic. Flick it soon in the higher gears and the GTD will reward you with amazing frugality.
Indeed, the 2.0-litre common rail turbo-diesel of the EA288 engine series was not only networked with "BlueMotion Technologies"; it was also completely redesigned. This Golf is the first GTD to have a stop/start system on board as standard, and in battery regeneration mode it utilises deceleration phases to charge the battery. Works beautifully. As a result, combined fuel consumption is just 4.2 l/100 km and CO2 emissions boil down to only 109 g/km.
The two litre engine is also smooth and vibrationless. It takes low rev pottering around totally in its stride. But then again, this is a high performance engine, and displays uncanny willingness to unfold its talents for you. Just push the throttle a bit, and there you go. 0 to 100 in 7,5 seconds, and with the effortlessness worthy of a true supercar. The in-gear acceleration just tells the story even better: in fourth gear, this GTD handles the classic overtaking manoeuvre (80 to 120 km/h) in a safe 6.0 seconds. Of course the GTD is a master on the Autobahn. The beautifully stable latest generation Golf platform sees to this, and one has all to power to speed up to 230 kmh. Indeed, the engine develops 135 kW / 184 PS at 3,500 to 4,000 rpm.
A chassis with GTD Performance: XDS+ and progressive steering.
Paying tribute to its unique position in the Golf range, the car also includes standard features such as the further advanced XDS+ vehicle dynamics function, sports progressive steering that is as direct as it is comfortable, and has of course a sports suspension (15 mm lower) and 17-inch ("Curitiba") wheels with size 225 tyres.
Our test car was actually shod with “NOGARO” alloy wheels 7,5 J x 18. It also came with Dynamic Chassis Control and Lane Assist + Dynamic Light Assist = Traffic Signs Recognition. Despite all this sportiness, the latest GTD never feels uncomfortable or harsh, and therefore is an excellent proposition in everyday use.
The GTD is also fail-safe if you drive it too enthusiastically. Without having to resort to ESP intervention, the GTD will, for example, even stay on track if you approach corners too fast. It does, however, push out slightly over the front axle without noticeable unpleasant under-steering.
Even if you suddenly take your foot off the accelerator on curves, the tail never swings out. This kind of load alteration simply causes a pleasant over-steer (as the driver feels it early) which automatically slows the car down by turning slightly inward.
Seeing is believing - GTD exterior – standard bi-xenon and LED rear lights…
The Golf is clearly recognisable as a GTD, with its sporting wheels, its double chromed tailpies, its GTD lettering. But there is more. The GTD has bi-xenon headlights including cornering lights as standard. While the front end of the Golf GTI sports a red painted trim strip, the GTD glistens with a trim strip in chrome. This chrome trim strip extends into the headlights and divides the front end into an upper area with LED daytime running lights and bi-xenon elements and a lower section with the turn indicators.
At the rear, the smoked LED rear lights with integrated white trim strips at the height of the tornado line for the reversing lights, GT-specific roof edge spoiler with lateral aerodynamic elements on the rear windscreen.
For the first time on the "GT models", it is also possible to order rear windows with factory-installed rear glass that has 90 per cent instead of 65 per cent tinting. As for the Golf GTI, the selection of standard body colours for the new GTD includes the three classic GT body colours "Tornado red", "Black" and "Pure White". We liked the “reflex silver” colour of our test car also very much.
The shape and feel of the leather covered steering wheel puts you in sporting Golf ambiance, as do the sport seats upholstered with a classic GT tartan pattern fabric – which is called "Clark" in the GTD (and GTI).
The seats of the GTI and GTD are identical in concept. In front, they are both equipped with height adjustment, a manual lumbar support and a pocket on the seatback. Their ergonomic properties are ideal. Visually, instead of the red coloured elements of the GTI, the GTD elements feature a melange of black, grey and white colour hues as well as chrome parts. A leather interior ("Vienna") may be ordered as an option. A black roofliner rounds out the sporty ambience in an upward direction. Along with the automatic climate control system (Climatronic) and the Driver Alert System, ambience lighting is also a standard feature.
Conclusively we can say that this Golf GTD is an endless and timeless source of sporting fun, it is, we would say, Diesel driving at its very best, as the car scores also very high in everyday practicality. A car to have and cherish? You bet…
The good news is that in our country, the (base) price of our test car with the 6 speed manual was 31.690 Eurosat the moment of writing, money well spent indeed…
Hans Knol ten Bensel
Photographers' notes: in this report, we used for the first time our brand new Canon EOS 1100 D with the EFS 17-85 mm lens we had already in our lenses assortment. The photos are well balanced, contrast control is excellent, and needed very little correction afterwards, if any. (Photo taken with the Fujifilm X10)