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Ride VW Golf 8 GTI / GTE: Which GT-Golf is more appealing?

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Ride a VW Golf 8 GTI /GTE
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Almost two years ago, the GTI got on its hat: In the s port auto- Comparison test brought the epitome of the Hot Hatches, the founders of a sub-segment, a defeat. Against an upstart from Korea, the Hyundai i30 N. One who relies more consistently on sport; its 'N' stands for 'Nordschleife', the Gran Turismo Injection (GTI) is about the big journey that in sporty golf has always preferred to run over (small) country roads.

Admittedly: Here kicked not the last exclusively available performance variant with 245 hp, but the normal with 230 hp and the 250 hp Hyundai also wore sport tires on the alloy wheels. Nevertheless, it almost seems as if VW reacted to the defeat with the generation change: The new one has the 245 hp of the performance version, the chassis has been trained right down to the bearings of the McPherson axle, got a new, sporty mind called the Driving Dynamics Manager and optionally there are even - yes - sport tires. The Wolfsburg have dispensed with the strut brace that the Hyundai carries in the rear, the trunk remains entirely Golf. But they have shifted the aerodynamic balance backwards, especially for the higher speeds. That's a good thing. Because with the 7 Series GTI, which was available for the long journey on that day, strong braking maneuvers from high speeds made the rear so restless that the driver felt compelled to react to it with the wheel.

In the footsteps of the Bugatti Veyron with the GTI 8

But today is also the day when we can enjoy the results of the fitness training, albeit unfortunately not trying them out ourselves. VW has organized a competent chauffeur for this: Matthias Rabe has been the brand's top technician (CTO) since February 2020 and, as Head of Development, particularly enjoyed making the Cupra models legs at Seat and is a fan of the 300 hp Leon. After a bit of theory, he drives the new Golf 8 GTI over some informative sections of the company's own test site in Ehra-Lessien. It consists of more than 130 kilometers of different routes, from high-speed oval to off-road course. We leave that out with the GTI, of course, but not the high-speed section on which the Bugatti Veyron, for example, achieved its record drives with more than400 km /h. The road has three lanes here, maybe that's why the banked curve looks so threatening. Shortly beforehand, Rabe overtooks another vehicle and determinedly chased the pre-production GTI into the middle lane of the banked curve. A peculiar dizziness reaches from the neck between the ears, as if water were trapped in them, which irritates the organ of equilibrium. The speedometer shows 256 km /h, the car crouches on its springs, is pushed onto the asphalt as if it had to dig its own groove for the next slot car round. Then we're out. Fast, stable and even when braking without a dancing tail. This is followed by an exit that looks very similar to one on public roads.

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The GTI reaches the top speed range a little faster than the GTE.

The only difference is that we are allowed to drive here the way you would otherwise like to try it. Rabe turns right at considerable speed. The GTI doesn't flinch and doesn't squeal with its tires. The CTO raves about his new product: 'This is really another real step towards the predecessor'. This is followed by comparatively large, but rapidly decreasing radii with nasty transverse grooves. 'Nasty,' says the passenger. 'That is on purpose,' replies Rabe, holding onto the gas. The bumps give the chassis and the housing of the GTI a deep massage, the front-wheel drive only roars a little and maintains road contact and course unimpressed. The comfort remains surprisingly good, which the electronically controlled dampers of the prototype should play a major role in. Like the predecessor, they cost a good 1000 euros extra.

Lock at the front helps - but not with every radius

The transfer passage to the handling course hums the four-cylinder the four-door (there is no longer a two-door model in the GTI either ) over a sharp knoll. 'You have to be careful here, it's tough,' says Rabe. 'That is on purpose,' says the passenger as his stomach seems to make contact with the inside of the skull for a moment. Then comes the entrance to the handling course, the route of which looks like someone has tried a ballpoint pen. The street seems a little narrow in places, even fora compact one. The VW manager at the wheel lets it whistle, the GTI prances lightly along the edges of the sward. The front-wheel drive car only squeaks sustainably with the tires before a bend with fortunately a little more asphalt content. 'I was already too fast when entering the corner, and the differential lock can no longer compensate for that either.' In fact, this one time the GTI slides over the turned front wheels with a squeaky noise towards the outside of the curve, so that Rabe has to drive quite a corner into the ideal line. The second time it works just as well as on the other bends: accelerate before the apex and the multi-plate clutch over-accelerates the outside wheel, which literally pulls the car into the radius.

VW
The front axle differential lock is able to over-accelerate the outside wheel of the GTI.

The differential lock is just as standard as the progressive steering, the effect and accuracy of which, however, can hardly be judged from the front passenger seat. The GTE lacks both delicacies and, above all, the differential lock is probably one reason why the generation 8 plug-in hybrid Golf does not drive as sportily as the GTI, although it now offers the same performance and exceeds the GTI in terms of torque.

The GTE stays with it almost everywhere

In fact, we can hardly drive away from the white GTE, which is being driven by an experienced test driver, even on the high-speed oval. The gap only becomes noticeable on the handling course. After changing the vehicle, the impression remains the same: with the trigger, the GTE can keep up well with its electric assistance despite an additional 130 kilograms in weight. The sound of its 1.4 liter is a little less sonorous, a bit higher, a bit more strenuous, but the performance remains subjectively impressive.

VW
At the limit on the Moving the handling course, the GTE shows more body roll and understeers a little more than the GTI

Even the cornering speeds are considerable, even on the nasty 'Lateral grooves, the suspension comfort seems a bit more binding, the side slope is a bit stronger and the tires tend to squeal. Nothing that should interfere in everyday life, even with a sporty driving style. The differences in feeling behind the wheel can only be guessed at from the right front seat, but they should make the decisive difference. But the GTE can drive purely electrically - according to WLTP about 60 kilometers.

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