I quite frequently get asked, what is the best all-around car you can buy? Of course, this sort of question delves into that murky area where objectivity and subjectivity seemingly fornicate within the confines of one’s brain to create that intellectual bastard child we all love: informed opinion. However, there are instances where these two divergent concepts are in agreement, and you end up with a marriage between them. The product of this relationship is, well, this strange concept referred to as the truth, and the truth is that the VW GTI is the best all-around car made. Not only does it tick all of the boxes of what you want in car; it’s also fun, which only the Germans might be able to quantify. They probably did just that, and the engineers at VW were ordered to make that car a 10 out of 10. Not being German, I’ll just say the GTI is quite fun to drive but in a “German” way. It’s more of an afternoon drinking in the bier garten with friends than a Bunga-Bunga Party, but that’s still fun.
I have rightfully accused Volkswagen of abandoning their decades old pursuit of building high quality, practical, excellent value for money, and reasonably fun to drive cars. Frankly, they’re attempting to beat Toyota at their own game, which is the building cheap crap and selling it based on a no longer accurate reputation for doing the opposite. The funny thing is that the head of Toyota has recently decreed that his company’s cars should be better and more fun to drive, so we shall see what the future brings on that point. The Mk6 GTI came about right before this plan went fully into action at VW. Therefore, it’s not utter crap. Rather, the GTI is much better car than Audi’s A3, which shares the same underlying platform and oily-bits. What you get for that reasonable price tag is a practical hatchback with plenty of room, yet is still small enough to work as a mode of transport within a crowded city. Add to this excellent quality, top notch safety ratings, handsome yet evolutionary styling, good residuals, decent economy, high reliability, and more than enough luxury features it begins to become quite apparent what you’re looking at here. What that is, is the ever-popular VW Golf.
What if you made a better, faster, more comfortable, and really fun version of that same car? Would that not be the ultimate all-in-one car? Yes, it is, and they call it a GTI. With more refined suspension tuning, supremely comfy sports seats, a 2.0L turbo engine, six-speed manual, better steering, and grippy sports pedals the GTI does all of that. Add to the equation residual values that are nearly unbelievable, and the value proposition has gone from pretty damn good to where do I sign? Plus, VW has this posh yet somehow egalitarian brand image, so no one is ever going negatively judge you for driving one. Frankly there’s no reason not do just that; it is the best overall car you can currently buy. The GTI maybe actually the embodiment of the German National Anthem: Deutschland über alles, as it is German and above all the best. Anyone with any sense should drive a GTI, so you will undoubtedly be shocked to know that I obviously do not. Of course, I’m definitely not German or for that matter in anyway sensible, so consider this a classic case of do as I say, not as I do. Buy a GTI, before VW ruins it and I have to rewrite this piece. Meanwhile, I shall duly continue my search for the ultimate in automotive Bunga-Bungadom, since I’d be out of material otherwise.