I wasn’t quite ready to discuss performance impressions when I wrote Part 1. I’m ready now, even though I STILL haven’t completely unleashed the GTI’s power. I had been driving with a party-pooper diesel redline of 4600 rpm for the past 18 years. As a result, I still instinctively shift before 3000 rpm, 4000 if I’m being brisk. Even driving in such a limiting way, this little car still feels stronger than my tuned Stage 2 Mk6 Jetta TDI! My TDI tuner stated that a “CR140 Stage 2” outputs over 300 lb-ft, even with a legal exhaust system. However, it’s mostly gone early in the rev range, usually within a few seconds of stomping the accelerator. According to Volkswagen, the GTI’s max torque hits at just 1500 rpm and holds on until nearly 5000. As a result, I don’t feel like I’ve lost any torque around town. What was felt as a nice initial thrust in my TDI has proven to be a “hold on, I’m not done yet” experience in the GTI.
For years, I have read, repeated, and believed that “people buy horsepower, but drive torque.” Other TDI drivers and I embraced the TDI’s uniquely generous low-end torque as a benefit that couldn’t be replicated in other four-cylinder engines. But the direct-injected turbocharged “Gen 3” 2.0T changed everything, with 210 horsepower and 258 lb-ft at the wheels, according to APR. The TDI is no longer the king of torque among small cars. Sure, there are some highly-tuned TDIs out there. Unfortunately, they likely resorted to illegal intake and exhaust modifications to get their performance gains, which usually results in smoke output. The 2.0T can achieve so much more with far less money and parts thrown at it, all without smoke. Experiencing this car for myself has made me a believer. The only consequence I seem to be paying for a more satisfying car is an increase in fuel costs.
Speaking of fuel costs, let’s talk about fuel economy. It has to be mentioned, especially after coming from something as fuel- efficient as a TDI. My first three fill-ups yielded 32.5, 32.4, and 33.4 mpg, all hand-calculated, which is actually pretty good when one considers the performance potential of this car. The fourth tank returned 30.4 mpg since I had done a few sprints. I’m confident that the MPGs will improve as the car continues to break-in over its first 10,000 miles. Top economy will be had on a true highway trip that doesn’t include frequent stops for a “new car photo.” HAHA! But I’m also certain that not all tanks will be in the 30’s since I plan to have some fun. I will eventually have APR flash the ECU, which will add about 80 hp, 110 lb-ft, and maybe even increase fuel economy a hair. I suspect I’ll have a permanent grin when that happens! 🙂 Feel free to check out my Fuelly page to see how the car is doing if you’re reading this after November 2016.
I have more to say about the infotainment system and some other driving features. But I’ll let this entry be about just the performance and fuel economy of the car. I’ll write about the infotainment later. But I will share that I’m working on moving my electronics suite from my Jetta to the GTI. I’m still ensuring everything will fit where I want it. I’m taking pictures of my progress and will have a report soon. Here’s a teaser photo. I should have this done in about two or three weeks. Until then, I hope you have a great Thanksgiving. I already went on a drive while the roads were clear. Later, we’ll see how well the little hatchback swallows up the food we’re taking to Thanksgiving dinner.
Pass the turkey!