2011 Volkswagen Golf GTD Review and Road Test

by under Review on 19 Jan 2011 03:13:06 PM19 Jan 2011
Price Range
$25,390 - $57,490
Fuel Consumption
5.4L - 7.7L/100km


 If you still think the terms ‘high-performance’ and ‘diesel engine’ are incompatible, you’re probably also not convinced 3D TV will catch-on. The fact is, on the Autobahns of Germany, when you’re sitting comfortably at say 140km/h, it’s a safe bet the high-performance car flashing its lights as it rockets up behind - and passes you like you’re standing still – will be a turbo-diesel.

Now Volkswagen has brought the potent Golf GTD downunder. With its 2.0-litre turbo-diesel engine returning fuel consumption as low as 5.5l/100kms, the diminutive Volkswagen Golf GTD still covers zero to 100km/h in 8.1 seconds – that’s considerably faster than a V6 Holden Commodore Omega. 


Still not convinced? Consider this: the Volkswagen Golf GTD provides 350Nm of torque – that’s also more than the Commodore Omega’s 290kW and the Golf tips the scales at 1360kgs, compared to 1696 kgs for the Holden.

After a week in a Volkswagen Golf GTD with the six-speed DSG automatic transmission, we know this high performance turbo-diesel hatchback delivers the driving dynamics demanded by enthusiasts.

Volkswagen Golf GTD Overview

Local Volkswagen dealers have two five-door Volkswagen Golf GTD models – the six-speed manual priced at $39,290, or the six-speed, twin-clutch DSG automatic stickered at $41,790.

With its high-tech chassis, stylishly sporty interior and GTI-like exterior styling enhancements, the Volkswagen Golf GTD is the very latest European hot hatch. Combine its performance plus standard features and the Volkswagen Golf GTD makes good buying when compared to rival European and Japanese vehicles.

Volkswagen Golf GTD Engine

The Volkswagen Golf GTD is powered by Volkswagen’s latest generation common rail turbo-diesel engine. Back-grounded by the much tighter Government regulations now coming into force across Europe, development focus for these engines centered on reduced fuel consumption and emissions - plus enhanced performance.

Maximum power for the Volkswagen Golf GTD’s 2.0-litre, 16-valve turbo-diesel is 125kW at 4200rpm and peak torque of 350Nm is available from 1750rpm. 


Fuel consumption for the Volkswagen Golf GTD DSG automatic tested by Car Showroom is rated at 5.8l/100kms (5.5l/100kms for the six-speed manual). Exhaust emissions for our car are listed at 152g/km (145g/km for the manual).

It’s very high-tech, with the common rail direct injection system delivering fuel at up to 1,800 bar via eight-hole piezo injectors. That means more precise fuel metering (for reduced consumption) as well as quick throttle response and quiet, smooth idling, even when cold.

The Volkswagen Golf GTD drives the front wheels and covers the standing 100km/h in just 8.1 seconds.

Volkswagen Golf GTD The Interior

The Volkswagen Golf GTD runs the usual slick Volkswagen interior with some extra sporty enhancements.

Up front, the excellent sports seats (leather trim is optional) are shared with the Golf GTI – except the GTD features a light grey coloured stripe, replacing the GTI’s red. With height adjustment for driver and front passenger seats (electric adjustment is optional) and rake-reach adjustment for the thick, leather-wrapped sports steering wheel (the same ‘D’-shaped wheel used in the Golf GTI and R), a comfortable driving position is assured. 


Instrumentation is Volkswagen’s usual high standard conventional gauges with the multifunctional display trip computer operated by steering wheel switches. A gloss black trim feature in the doors and around the instruments provides an up-market look.

On the audio front, the Volkswagen Golf GTD is equipped with an in-dash six CD, eight-speaker system. Bluetooth is available as a dealer-fit accessory. 


The rear seat space is similar to other hatchbacks and the Volkswagen Golf GTD provides 350litres of luggage space with the 60:40 split-fold rear seat in place, or 1305 litres when folded.

Volkswagen Golf GTD is equipped with seven airbags, including a drivers’ knee airbag.

Volkswagen Golf GTD Exterior & Styling

br /> Externally, the Volkswagen Golf GTD looks every millimeter the European hot hatch – it sits 15mm lower than standard Golfs thanks to the sports suspension and the black/polished 17-inch ‘Seattle’ alloy wheels look superb (tyres are 225-45 R17). 


At the front, the bumper, fog-lights, headlights and grille are identical to the Golf GTI (except the GTD has chrome accents). Same at the rear, except the GTD runs twin exhaust tailpipes – hence a slightly a different diffuser.

Volkswagen Golf GTD On The Road

Much like Audi’s pricier S3 Sportback, the overriding impression of the Volkswagen Golf GTD with the twin-clutch DSG is its slickness. From a standing start or even in mid-range, acceleration is rapid and accompanied by lightening fast gear changes as the DSG does its stuff.

Volkswagen’s engineers tuned the exhaust noise of the Volkswagen Golf GTD’s 2.0-litre turbo-diesel to make it appealing to enthusiast drivers and the hallmark ‘pop’ as you change gear conjures images of the European Touring Car Championship racers. 


While Adaptive Chassis Control is on the options list for the Volkswagen Golf GTD, the sports-tuned MacPherson strut/independent rear suspension set-up and standard ESP all combine to deliver reasonably sharp on-road dynamics even on a drenching wet day as we traversed our mountain roads test loop.

Like its front-wheel-drive sibling, the GTI, the Volkswagen Golf GTD impressed in the high-speed stuff with its brilliantly balanced chassis – ultimately not as precise as the more expensive all-wheel-drive Golf R, but still very good. Using the steering wheel paddle shifters extracted the most from the 2.0-litre turbo-diesel, but even in full auto the ratios of the DSG were sensible and the Volkswagen Golf GTD delivered satisfying driving dynamics.

Around town the Volkswagen Golf GTD was very user-friendly. Ride over Melbourne’s tram/train track crossings was predictably firm, but not unpleasant.

Volkswagen Golf GTD Challenges

Some turbo lag was evident, mostly at lower speeds in city driving.

Volkswagen Golf GTD Verdict

Given Australia’s delayed uptake of diesel engines, it was a bold move of Volkswagen to bring the Volkswagen Golf GTD to market here. The company deserves sales success because the Volkswagen Golf GTD, and others like it, are the European performance cars of this generation. 


We’d happily have a Golf GTD in our garage permanently – especially at these prices.

Volkswagen Golf GTD The Competition

Audi’s technically similar S3 is a similarly slick diesel hot hatch – but you’ll need more than $60,000 to get into one. Same for BMW’s 123d.

Alfa Romeo’s 147 JTD is around the same price as the Volkswagen Golf GTD, but it’s coming to the end of its life and isn’t as sharp dynamically as the Golf. 


And although not a diesel, Honda’s brilliant Civic Type R is a genuine hot-hatch but its three-door-only specification might limit its appeal in this case. 

Volkswagen Golf GTD Likes:

Superb drivetrain; classy interior; looks ‘German-Hot’ 

Volkswagen Golf GTD Dislikes:

A bit of turbo lag around town


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