Featured Photo by Chris Kursikowski
Whether you view the GTI as a pocket rocket or the hatch from hell, the real fun begins when you are sitting behind the wheel. It does not matter if you have or have not driven a GTI before because the newest one is faster than any of its predecessors. In other words, the 2022 Volkswagen GTI could be the best one yet.
If you missed out on the nostalgic Volkswagen GTI’s of yesteryear, here is a little background for you.
Driving a GTI puts you in touch with your inner racing spirit without asking you to blow your budget completely. From handling like it is on rails to peppy acceleration that inspires you to floor it at after every stoplight, the GTI delivers.
So what makes the 2022 Volkswagon GTI so unique? For starters, you get the advantage of a lightweight turbo 4-cylinder engine under the hood. In the past, VW experimented with putting narrow-angled 6-cylinder engines, the VR6, in select configurations of the GTI.
In the end, it was nice for some of those hot hatchbacks to see between 200 to 220 horsepower. However, two fundamental problems made the VR6 feel like it was not staying true to the original GTI formula.
As for the first problem, the VR6 creates a nose-heavy driving experience. You can feel the weight of the VR6 engine as you approach sharp turns. This also causes the front tires to wear a little faster than a lighter 4-cylinder engine would.
That’s what makes the 2022 GTI so great; the turbocharged 2.0L 4-cylinder produces more horsepower than the old VR6 without the undesirable nose-heavy side effect. With 241 hp and 273 pound-feet of torque, the all-new GTI is ready to shred asphalt. It adds 13 hp and 15 additional pound-feet of torque over the previous generation of GTI models.
Plus, of course, the new GTI is about 60 pounds lighter than several configurations of last year’s model. That’s good news for continuing the legacy of this front-engine, front-wheel-drive sporty hatchback. With a curb weight of 3,154 pounds, accelerating out of the apex of every turn will feel like you are on pace to win the checkered flag.
The best part about the 2022 Volkswagon GTI is that they still offer driving purists a 6-speed manual transmission with a real clutch pedal. There is no finer way to drive a GTI if you know your 3-pedal technique. Of course, if you don’t know how to drive a stick, there is a 7-speed automatic available, and it is capable of scooting the ‘22 GTI from 0 to 60 mph in about five seconds.
Keep going, and you will reach a top speed of 155 mph. This is a 13-second car from the factory, capable of running the quarter-mile in 13.6 seconds with a trap speed of 105 mph. After wrapping up the straight-line racing, the GTI is still eager to do a few laps on a track.
Buying a brand new GTI entitles you to a pretty decent warranty. You get limited coverage as well as powertrain assurance for four years or 50,000 miles. There is also two-year complimentary maintenance for up to 20,000 miles.
Drivers have access to an infotainment system, including Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility. Volkswagen offers several optional driver-assist upgrades but includes a solid standard package with every GTI.
You will quickly discover there is strong aftermarket support for the Volkswagon GTI as well. However, you might want to ride that warranty out a bit before tinkering with it too much. Overall, with a suggested starting price of $30,540, the 2022 Volkswagen GTI provides a good bang for the buck.