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:: New Golf GTi Mk5 with DSG ::

In case you've missed the hype - The GTi is back. VW's latest MK5 incarnation of their seminal GTi is an absolute gem and we've got a full feature on it.

We've been keeping rather low and not covering the car on the site for one important reason. We had one on order and were waiting for it to make its way from Wolfsburg to the UK.

No amount of hyperbole can describe quite how good this car really is. It's not that any of the ingredients are unique or world-altering - what sets this car apart is how well it all works as a package.

As you can see, we've plumped for a Tornado Red 5-door with Black Leather, DSG and a host of extras including surround-area lighting, cd-autochanger, parking sensors and the glass tilt slide.

Key to this car is undoubtedly the 2 litre FSI direct-injection engine which puts out nigh-on 200 brake and a whopping 206lb ft lbs of torque in a near-flat curve from 1800rpm right up to over five grand. In real-world terms, especially when equipped with DSG, this makes the car accelerate furiously from any point in the rev range, even when you're cruising in top gear.

Overtaking is effortless and full-bore starts are easy thanks to VW's very well-judged traction control programme which comes as part of the ESP package. Wheelspin is held at bay with just the faint sound of the Continentals' tread-blocks tearing at the road surface to remind you quite how hard it's working.

Switch ESP off and you realise that the car really does handle fantastically. Don't be fooled into thinking this car is good just because it's got great electronics - this is a stiffly-sprung, powerful hatchback set up with the same care as the original in 1976.

The 0-60 is supposedly 6.9 seconds and it feels every bit that fast, if not more so. On the road, this has to be one of the most accomplished point-to-point cars of its generation and allied with what is arguably the best semi-automatic 'box in the world, it's lighting quick too.

:: Sequential Mode - Up for Up a ratio, Down for Down one...

First impressions are great - the car seems well made, quiet when crusing and packed with clever touches like auto wipers, auto lights, split zone air-con, 12 airbags and it even has a reasonable stereo.

It's only done 400 miles so we're still running it in. As the mileage ramps up we'll get a better idea of how it runs once loose and we'll keep a bit of a blog to give you an idea of what it's like to actually own one.

UPDATE - Jan 2007

So - the car has now done 12,000 miles and to date it's been totally trouble free. It has had a service which went fine. It used quite a lot of oil, more than we were expecting frankly but that seems to have settled down now. It has had 3 punctures - the first we knew about the 1st was when the in-wheel sensors went off but the other two never triggered the sensors!!

Other glitches to date include condensation in the foglights and the rear wash-wipe going off when you select reverse even when it's not raining. According to VW this is because there's dirt / a fly / grit / debris on the front mounted rain sensor and it mistakes this for rain. TIP - Keep the sensor clean to avoid scratching your rear windscreen when dry wiping :-)

If you'd like to read some more about the Mark Five GTi, why not visit here

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