Volkswagen Golf GTI Review 2024

Volkswagen Golf GTI At A Glance

Honest John Overall Rating
The latest Volkswagen Golf GTI is still the ultimate hot hatch all-rounder. It does everything a normal Golf does, but with more pace, style and driver appeal. It's a shame that the latest interior tech just isn't as easy to use as it should be.

+Sharper and more agile than a regular Golf while still being comfortable and refined. Clubsport version ups the ante nicely. Still spacious and pretty economical.

-You can't get a manual version of the Clubsport. Infotainment is fiddly to use and can be buggy. Not a truly exciting hot hatch like a Civic Type R.

New prices start from £34,960

The Volkswagen Golf GTI has always been like a faithful old labrador in the hot hatchback market. You can always count on it being there, it'll be effortless to live with and, while there might be more exciting dogs (erm, hot hatchbacks in this stretched review analogy), few will get on with the job with such class. 

Sticking with that dog theme, you won't find another hot hatchback on the market with more pedigree. The first-generation Golf GTI is now over 45 years old, and while some fast Fords were kicking around back then, the latest models don't carry the same lineage. 

The Golf GTI has been constant, proving that buying a hot hatch doesn't have to mean accepting big compromises. Although we can argue some generations were better than others, all eight generations of GTI have delivered more performance and better handling without becoming unbearably noisy or bone-shakingly hard. Classiness is the name of the game, too - enthusiasts will spot that it's a GTI, 'normal' people will just think it's another Golf.

The latest, Mk8 GTI is perhaps a bit less covert in its pursuit of style with chunkier bumpers, shoutier exhausts and a little red 'moustache' spanning the width of its face. But in the context of the positively obnoxious Honda Civic Type R, it's subtle.

Whereas you had to wait until later in the last generation Golf GTI's lifespan to get the 'special' models, you can already order the latest car with a hotter Clubsport variant. Whereas the standard car makes do with 245PS, the Clubsport gets a healthy boost to 300PS, along with lowered and retuned suspension, bigger brakes and a special 'Nurburgring' drive mode depending on spec. It's the one we'd choose if you can stretch to it. 

Whichever model you go for, though, you get almost as much comfort and refinement as a regular Golf plus the same level of practicality and technology. It's the latter feature that is our only real grumble with the latest GTI: like the standard Golf, the fully touch-controlled dashboard is frustrating to use when you're driving and sometimes suffers from glitches. 

What does a Volkswagen Golf GTI cost?