GTI - those three letters are synonymous with only one car and brand around the world.
South African roads are littered with them in various guises but the question often lingers - what makes these hot hatches so special? Quite a bit actually...
Volkswagen was so smitten with the Golf 7 that they decided to release a number of additional models like the GTD and 7.5 GTI - the latter of which is the one under lights here.
Besides the fact that it is named after a wind, it's speed and performance can be attributed to that act of nature as well. Under the bonnet lies the German brand's famous 2.0-litre turbocharged engine that churns out 169kW and 350Nm - all of which you can feel from the moment you mash your foot on the 'go-faster' pedal.
The sports seats hug you tighter than a long-lost love while the Active Info Display and multi-media touchscreen allows you to monitor various aspects in crystal clear vision. The multi-function steering wheel is easy to operate without having to take your eyes off the road for even a second.
The Golf literally has everything you need. It's quick off the line, has a very modest fuel consumption and also packs a big boot - a 380-litre luggage capacity to be exact.
With a GTI, the last thing you think about is fuel consumption. Volkswagen claims a combined fuel consumption of 6.4 litres/100km which almost creeps into Datsun GO and Renault Sandero territory.
But lets be honest, no one behind the wheel of this car will be cruising most of the time, which is likely how those low figures are obtained. A more realistic number is around the 8.0-litre/100km mark.
A local favourite
Engineers really spent their time ironing out any creases with the 7.5 and you feel it in the suspension when compared to its predecessor or simply just giving it horns from a stand-still. The rapidness of the power being sent to the front wheels is what makes it so potent against the likes of the Renault Megane RS and Ford Focus ST.
This model is priced at R558 000 but depending on the features you choose it can push the price up by as much as R45 000, leading people to just buy the R instead. Some of the optional extras fitted here is the 19" Santiago wheels or 'Windmills', Active Infor Display, Park and Camera assist, Panoramic sunroof, Smoker's package, Keyless entry and Mobile Interface with inductive charging function.
Vrrr-phaa has become the famous nametag given to the Golf GTI and the sound associated with the 6-speed DSG gearbox when upshifting. Besides being a Tasmanian devil on wheels, it commands attention; whether you like the car or not. Like Vin Diesel says in Fast and Furious, it starts with the eyes. The headlights feature 'fork-shaped' LED daytime running lights that also swap roles as the indicator.
While the car in its entirety is faultless, it has a few niggles - nobody is perfect you know. It's auto stop-start function switches the engine off when you depress the brake pedal fully and not when the car comes to a complete stop. It becomes more of an irritation after a while, prompting you to switch the function off entirely.
It's not the latest version but it definitely appeases the speed appetite for those that are hungry for it.