I’ve always been very fond of the Volkswagen Golf GTI and I was thrilled when I received the invite to go for the GTI Driving Experience at Changi Exhibition Centre to push some limits of the new seventh-generation GTI.
Volkswagen Singapore, in partnership with Pirelli the official tyre partner, held this event from Thursday, 18 July to Sunday, 21 July, for members of the media, specially invited guests, as well as members of the public who signed up.
There were three parts to the event – first, a presentation on the new GTI.
The seventh generation Golf GTI sends 220 bhp to the front wheels − which is exactly double the power of the first Golf GTI. 2.0-litre turbocharged direct injection engine. The new GTI is equipped with a 6-speed dual-clutch gearbox (DSG) as standard and has a low fuel consumption value of 6.6 L/100km (CO2: 153 g/km). The combined fuel consumption was thus reduced by 0.8 litres or 11 percent compared to the previous model (210 bhp). It accelerates to 100 km/h in 6.5 seconds and has a top speed of 244 km/h.
After the briefing was completed, we headed outdoors in groups and my first station was the Urban Drive Challenge. It’s basically a mini drag race where participants were paired up to blast the GTI down a straight and the first one to stop within the stipulated space first, wins. This helped us to test its flat-out acceleration as well as its braking capabilities.
The other station was the Power Alley, where we took the new GTI round a makeshift track to test its cornering abilities. Under the guidance of professional instructors from Germany, the track was specially painted on the tarmac with the lines clearly marked out, including the red and white chicanes.
Of all the years and the countless driving events held at the Changi Exhibition Centre, this is the first time that the track was allowed to be painted on, instead of just using cones.
Accompanied by an instructor at all times, we had an orientation lap or two, before being allowed to drive the new GTI as hard as we wanted. We tried both the Comfort and the Sport modes, to feel the differences for ourselves.
Other than testing out the 220bhp and 350Nm of the new GTI, we also got a taste of electronic driving aids in such high speed situations, such as the Electronic Stability Control and the preventive occupant protection system.
There was never a moment of doubt with the GTI and the instructor kept assuring me, “Trust the car, just trust the car and go”, whenever he sensed even the slightest moment of hesitation from me.
The GTI has a slightly different soundtrack now, which rumbles deeper and rougher – manlier than before!
I thought it was really generous of Volkswagen Singapore to organise this event and give us the chance to rumble the GTIs loud. I can’t wait to test drive the GTI cabriolet next!