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Reader test: VW Golf GTI

2009-10-13 08:20

Southwell Mbongwe, Gabarone, Botswana

Well, I live in Gaborone, Botswana, and we are at a depressing 3 300 ft above sea level and as a diehard BMW fan who believes in performance yet without the money to buy proper “M” performance car, I could only afford a dull stock 323i E90 without even a kit and other optional gizmos.

I went to our only Beemer dealer and test drove one and I was really disappointed by its performance as it struggled to accelerate, yet its straight six engine was howling like beast due to altitude.

My next and last stop was at a VW dealership and the inevitable happened! I was converted to a new religion - "Get There Instantly" (GTI)!

For the same price as the 323i, I got a tornado red Golf GTI with 18-inch inch Detroit rims, sporty stock kit, the honeycomb front bumper and the thin seductive red lip! Already that was bang for the buck just on the looks. This car looked like the word SEXY!

Now, on the inside I was still thrilled by what I saw. First it was the ambitious 300 km/h speedo that looks like it was designed in a 3D graphics studio and a sports steering wheel with a silver GTI badge!

And then there are the body hugging heated seats, sun roof, the blue illumination for the instrument lights and silver metal pedals that were taken from rally car! I fell in love at first sight!

Better than a Beemer?

To me this package was far better than what I was supposed to pay for the beemer.

On the road, the GTI proves to be more than a good looker; the 147kW of its induced muscle does not feel like it’s from a turbo plant! There is no lag whatsoever and to make things even more interesting, when I accelerate hard from standstill, the turbo produces some pop-like sound about  three times on the first gear and that makes me feel like I’m behind the wheel of Sebastian Loeb’s Citroen.

This thing will catapult from standstill to about 220km/h on the dial without any hassle. When I’m behind the wheel of this little monster, I feel like I’m driving a super car.

I bet Botswana is one of the best places to own a GTI because I usually embarrass a lot of cars on a robot-to-robot drag race as their mighty normally aspirated engines struggle at this level due to altitude. I have smoked a BMW 325i E90, a 4.6is, an E46 330i and a 3.0 Audi A4 yet, on paper, they seem to be powerful than the GTi.

The only regret I have with this car is that I could have opted for a DSG model.

As an everyday car, the  GTi has proved to be an ideal choice as it drives effortlessly with smooth gear changes and a comfortable ride as well and then when you want it to be a racer you just easily press it hard and it will reward you in large amounts.

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