Text by Cheryl Tay
Photos by Adrian Wong
The Volkswagen Golf GTI has always been a personal favourite and a pre-Christmas treat I got from the German carmaker was a test drive of the new Golf GTI E35, the five-door variant.
At the end of November last year, Volkswagen Singapore transformed Old Kallang Airport into a grand party ground for the public where the GTI’s local 35th birthday carnival included a Miss Golf GTI beauty pageant and a car wash service.
The GTI E35 is a special edition of the car, in commemoration of its 35th anniversary since its production in 1976. At first glance it may look like the usual GTI (currently in its sixth generation) but there is actually a lot more that goes into the E35 than just the “35″ badge on the front wings.
Look closer and you will notice that the GTI E35 has a new front bumper design, the latest generation of bi-xenon headlights, along with cornering and LED daytime running lights.
Underneath the bonnet where you cannot tell visually, the 2-litre turbocharged EA113 engine (as found in the Golf R) in the GTI E35 has 25bhp more than the standard GTI, throwing up a maximum power output of 235bhp from 5,500 to 6,300rpm. Maximum torque of 300Nm kicks in from 2,200 to 5,500rpm.
Much of what makes the Volkswagens a delight to drive is its DSG (Direct-Shift Gearbox), the electronically-controlled dual-clutch automatic gearbox. In the case of the GTI E35, the six-speed DSG makes zipping in and out of traffic congestions in Singapore a lot easier. Taking just 6.6 seconds to hit 100km/h from a standstill, this century sprint time is improved just 0.3 seconds from the standard GTI VI’s 6.9 seconds.
The interior of all Volkswagen models are largely similar and the GTI E35 is no exception, with the usual GTI flat-bottomed steering wheel, although more “35″ logos can be found on the back of the seats and on the door sills.
Another change within the cabin is the gear shift knob, which is the cute golf ball design that was in the original GTI.
Adding to the sporty look of the GTI E35 are the decorative red seams of the seats, steering wheel, hand brake, gear shift trim and even the borders of the floor mats.
Driven by its front wheels, the GTI E35 is best driven in the Sport mode where steering and suspension settings are varied to give it the stiffest and hardest performance. You can switch back to Normal mode or to Comfort if you have the cabin filled with passengers.
Shift the gear lever to S for a more involving experience as the car is forced to hold a gear all the way to the red line before changing up. Throttle sensitivity is upped several notches, acceleration delivered is literally breathtaking and the soundtrack produced by the GTI E35 is a sexy and deep growl that is hard not to get infatuated with. Sadly, there are not many opportunities to try this as traffic in Singapore is just too heavy.
If you want more manual control over the gear changes, you can push the gear lever to the left in D mode and then toggle with the +/- functions. This gives you complete manual control over shifting gears, akin to a conventional manual but without the clutch pedal. In the GTI E35, the electronic stability programme (ESP) can be turned off entirely by holding the ESP button for more than three seconds. This mode is catered for those who want to test the maximum limits of the car, in a controlled environment of course, such as at a racing track. Again, this is not recommended for usage on Singapore roads.
The GTI E35 sits on 18-inch Watkins Glen alloy wheels (named after a racing track in New York) fitted with 225/40 R18 tyres but now there is an option for 19-inch Glendale alloy wheels with 225/35 tyres.
In my opinion, Candy White is the best colour for any GTI, but white means requiring more effort in maintaining the car. There is also Tornado Red and Black, metallic shades Carbon Steel Grey, Reflex Silver, Shadow Blue and United Grey, as well as pearl colours Blue Graphite and Deep Black.
Driver convenience features of the GTI E35 that serve to make the ride easier includes climate control, cruise control, keyless locking and starting system (KESSY) with the ‘press and drive’ engine start function, park distance control that sounds off when there are obstacles around the car, flat tyre indicator, speed sensitive power steering, rain sensor and more.
The GTI E35 has since replaced the standard GTI on the Volkswagen Singapore catalogue with both the three-door and five-door versions at prices S$196,300 and S$199,300 respectively.
Technical Specifications — Golf GTI E35 2.0 TSI
Engine: 1,984cc in-line 4 16v
Transmission: 6-speed dual clutch automatic gearbox (DSG)
Max Power: 235bhp at 5,500 — 6,300rpm
Max Torque: 300Nm at 2,200 — 5,500rpm
Top Speed: 246km/h
0 — 100km/h: 6.6 secs
Price with COE: S$199,300 (5-door); S$196,300 (3-door)
Dealer: Volkswagen Centre Singapore
For more photos of the Volkswagen Golf GTI E35, look here.
*This was first published on Yahoo!