VW resurrects the sporty diesel Golf

What is it?

This is the new Golf GTD – Volkswagen’s new performance diesel. The German car maker seemed to have forgotten about the Golf GTD, the first car to combine the likeable attributes of a diesel in a performance-orientated chassis.

Not seen in the UK since the Mk4 Golf, this once sought-after model has been a glaring omission from its line-up for well over a decade.

But with the new, sixth-generation Golf comes the long-awaited return of the GTD.

What’s it like

The car runs the top-spec version of Volkswagen’s 2.0-litre common-rail diesel, a unit that’s new to the Golf.

Its 168bhp and 258lb ft of torque are a lot to send through the front wheels, but even without the XDS electronic differential recently brought to the new Golf GTI the new GTD still manages to place it all on the road cleanly and efficiently.

Even so, this is no rocketship. With a kerb weight of 1404kg, the GTD’s acceleration is no match for the GTI’s, at 8.1sec versus 6.9sec in six-speed twin-clutch guise.

Where it does hold an advantage is at the pumps, where a combined 50.4mpg translates to an overall range of over 600 miles from the 55-litre tank.

The GTD’s chassis has been tuned along the lines of the GTI’s, and it shows. There’s a determined nature to the handling, along with impressive body control. And with adaptive damping, the ride feels every bit as smooth and composed as standard Golf models.

The GTD looks the part, too. Styling changes include a deeper front bumper with larger cooling ducts, new headlamp graphics, chrome highlights in the grille, wider sills, a hatchback spoiler and a revised rear bumper with twin chromed tailpipes nestled together on the left-hand side.

Further visual attitude comes through a 15mm reduction in ride height and, on our test car, optional 18-inch alloys shod with 225/40 ZR18 Dunlop SP Sport Maxx tyres. Standard versions of the GTD receive less flashy 17-inchers.

Should I buy one?

Throw in one of the best-quality cabins of any mass-produced car and you’ve got a hugely appealing package. But with a price of £23,020 in five-door guise, it will take a big diesel fan to choose the GTD over the similarly specified £23,740 GTI.

Join the debate

Add a comment…
Vagabon 28 July 2009

Re: Volkswagen Golf GTD

Whilst I agreed that the GTD is extremely expensive the residual values remain high so therefore make the car more affordable thanits competitors , as I have researched in depth and as a result ordered the GTD.

G Harvey wrote:

veedubya wrote:
i'd argue that most Golfs are quite competitively priced simply because we can't sell enough of them, surely they'd not sell if they were over priced??

I'd actually agree with you there. Most Golf's are reasonably priced. This one and the GTi though are not. The GTD is about £2,000 more than the Mk5 GT Sport TDi 170 it effectively replaces. From what I can make out all you get for that large amount of extra cash is 2zone climate control and a multi-function steering wheel. That's steep to say the least.

veedubya wrote:
It remains to be seen if the GTI / GTD are a bit expensive, genuine potential customers I am sure will vote with their wallets.

True again. I currently have a Golf GT TDi and was a potential customer until I saw that list price. Now I'm looking at Leon's and Octavia's instead.

moe360 4 July 2009

Re: Volkswagen Golf GTD

I called my VW garage today to get an update on my new golf its been 9 weeks since I ordered it and thought it would be ready by next week. However he told me that it will take 10 weeks more before it is ready from the factory because VW have a huge order list in there german factory.

He said that VW are not building any new orders till 2010 Jan, I am so annoyed that it takes 4 -5 months for vw to put together !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! a new car, wish i just got one from the forcourt

moe360 13 June 2009

Re: Volkswagen Golf GTD

veedubya wrote:

moe360 for your peace of mind you cannot opt for the 17" wheel upgrade on the SE without the sports suspension upgrade, the £155 you quote is to swap between the standard 17" wheels on the GT models to the 'Seattle' wheel design. The ride is not particularly harsh on the GT and I think the car will look much better for being on 17's. Hold off shouting at the saleman/manager just yet

Veedubya, your a 100% correct about the upgrade package for the Alloy Wheels on the SE model, I just had a good look at the options list sheet and your right to get the bigger wheels on a SE you need to add the sports suspension package as well. Good thing you told me this or I could have been in a very embarrassing postion with the VW salesman. Thanks