Is a segment leader showing its age? The iconic Volkswagen Golf GTI, it is all things to all men. It has stirred the hearts of car lovers for over 30 years. What makes it so great?
The iconic Volkswagen Golf GTI, it is all things to all men. It has stirred the hearts of car lovers for over 30 years. What makes it so great? After all, the GTI is just based off of a run of the mill Golf hatchback. But the 2013 Volkswagen GTI is far more than just skin deep, and this week I was reminded why.
I was fortunate enough to get my hands on the swan song of the Mark 6 GTI, the Wolfsburg Edition, to experience the thrill once again. For the sake of simplicity, I have included a list of features specific to the Wolfsburg at the end of the article. There are few particulars that annoyed me about the Wolfsburg Edition from the get-go. For instance, the car is not available in a 3-Door variant or with a leather interior. While those little factors might be instant deal breakers for some consumers like me, there is no denying the Wolfsburg definitely delivers a great value proposition. If you are willing to live without leather seating and in the market for a 5-Door GTI, then you would be foolish not to purchase the Wolfsburg as you would be saving a few thousand dollars compared to a regular fully loaded GTI.
The combination of the black exterior mirrors, fabulous ‘Watkins Glen’ wheels and unique front bumper definitely made the car stand out visually; enough that other GTI owners would come and admire the vehicle. The keen amongst my readers would already have noticed that these are the same exterior features offered on the GTI Edition 35 in Europe, and you would be correct. However where the Edition 35 is also a given a boost in power, the Wolfsburg has to settle for the standard power-setup.
And now the question you want answered, should you buy one? Yes and no. If it is the case that you need a new car urgently and were thinking of purchasing a GTI, then yes, go out and buy the Wolfsburg, you will not regret it. However, if you can hold off for a year or so, I would strongly recommend waiting for the release of the upcoming Mark 7 GTI. The Mark 7 will have a host of new features and promises to be more powerful, lighter, faster, and more economical.
Now back to the original question, what makes the 2013 Volkswagen GTI so great? Here it goes; they are easy to modify, have a great interior, are fun yet practical, look sporty yet classy, and handle great. At the same time, the GTI is comfortable and small yet has loads of cargo space. This list can go on. As you may have been able to tell, what makes the GTI such a great car is the fact that it never feels out of place anywhere; it may not be the absolute best at everything, but it does everything well. That is why it is all things to all men.
But I wouldn’t be fair if I didn’t bring up the 2013 Volkswagen GTI’s shortfalls, mainly the turbo lag in 1st gear, and performance. While the turbo lag was acceptable when the Mark 5 GTI was released with essentially the same powertrain, it is now 2013 and VW must find a solution to this problem. When it comes to performance the GTI does a wonderful job of making the most of the power it has, but it is just not enough. The fact is there are many affordable family sedans that would make a mockery of the GTI, and that’s unacceptable. Moreover, the Ford Focus ST has arrived and is now in charge of the “hot hatch” segment, and VW needs to wake up and take notice.
VW cars tend to have a remarkable level of quality and attention to detail; they are often greater than the sum of their parts. I do not know how they have managed to achieve this, but it works, and is one of the reasons I continue to love the 2013 Volkswagen GTI. Looking forward to the next generation GTI, VW seems to be following the same successful path and focusing on driving dynamics and everyday greatness rather than just power. Due to this ability to build a great automotive package, I believe the next generation car will continue to raise the bar and be “Das Auto.”
Wolfsburg Edition includes:
- 18” alloy wheels ‘Watkins Glen’
- Aluminum door sill
- Black exterior mirrors
- Dynaudio – 300 watt digital sound package
- Golf ball gear shift knob
- Front and rear floor mats with red stitching
- Kessy – keyless access w/ start & stop button (steering column)
- Power Sunroof
- RNS 510 Navigation w/ 30 GB hard drive
- Seat belt with red stripes
- Scuff plates
- Top sport front seats (Jacky Cloth ONLY)
- Unique front bumpers/side skirts
- “Wolfsburg Edition” badge located on front fender driver/passenger side
2013 Volkswagen GTI “Wolfsburg Edition” Gallery