PH Fleet: Golf GTI Edition 35

Everybody plays the game of 'beat the sat-nav', right? At least those with a GPS navigation system of some sort. You know what I mean: you set your destination, check the ETA, and proceed to do your darnedest to make sure you beat it.

Playing 'beat the nav' is tricky in the Golf
Playing 'beat the nav' is tricky in the Golf
Now, I'm not sure how the various systems work out their ETAs (though I imagine it's down to a combination of an assumed average speed, combined with traffic info for TMC-equipped cars), but I do know they vary hugely in how easy they are to beat. BMW navs, for example, are super-conservative; I can only assume they work out journey times based on the average speed of a mobility scooter. The system on the PH Fleet Golf, on the other hand, seems to be eerily, unnervingly accurate.

Maybe it's just luck that my driving and routes have so far generally chimed-in with what the sat-nav feels we ought to achieve together, but sometimes I swear the thing knows where I should be and when better than I do!

Taking a quick autobahn breather
Taking a quick autobahn breather
The setting
Which brings us to a Travel Prison in Kent, a 5am start, and a requirement to be in Wolfsburg (some 500 miles away) for a factory tour at 2.30pm (1.30pm UK time). The golf said it would take me until precisely 1:02pm UK time. Given the imponderables of a Chunnel crossing, 250 miles in France, Belgium and Holland, and 250 miles on largely derestricted autobahn, I reckoned I could knock a bit off that, morning rush hour traffic notwithstanding.

Turns out not. I timed my stops as precisely I could and, with 15 minutes for a bite to eat, 10 minutes for fuel, and a 5-minute 'comfort break', I rolled up to my Wolfsburg hotel at 1:32 UK time. Exactly when the GTI said I should. Impressive, if frustrating when you're trying to play 'beat the nav'.

Stuff like this makes you feel slow...
Stuff like this makes you feel slow...
The result
It was at least instructive (and fun) trying to 'make progress' on the quieter sections of autobahn east of Dortmund. Suddenly the tendency of German cars to feel stable at high speeds but stodgy at low ones makes sense - you trade agility for high-speed solidity only when there's actually a chance of making the best use of it.

On the other hand, I also realised that the Golf, although a genuinely rapid-feeling car in the UK (though probably not as fast as the Golf A59 we 'nearly' drove), merely feels adequately fast above three figures. Although it's actually best to use the car's torque and keep the DSG in manual mode so that it doesn't kick down every time you want to accelerate.

Golf, with flies, rests on return leg
Golf, with flies, rests on return leg
The pointlessness of pub bragging
I also discovered the folly of all that down-the-pub bragging about 0-62mph times, top speeds and hp figures if you own a hot hatch. Because when you're in the outside lane of the autobahn you'd be amazed at how little advantage you have over 'normal' traffic - the Focus diesel estate that I could only keep up with by wringing every ounce out of the Golf stands as testament to that. In fact, unless you've got plenty of capacity, cylinders and horsepower under your belt (we're talking AMGs and Ms here, or the Veyron Supersport I spotted) you just need to accept the fact that you're not at the top of the tree.

Fortunately this is all irrelevant in the UK, because we have a 70mph limit on our motorways. Which we would never, of course, exceed...


 2011 VW Golf GTI Edition 35
Run by: Riggers
On fleet since: December 2011
Mileage: 14,750 miles
List price new: £31,030 (inc. £1,770 infotainment pack and £440 for parking sensors front and rear)
Last month at a glance: To Wolfsburg, to Hockenheim, too many miles, too little time!

Previous reports:
Low-ish fuel economy's been bugging us, so we decide to try out the GTI's diesel cousin
Paris road trip proves GTI's impeccable cruising credentials
Golf GTI Edition 35 arrives, complete with wintry rubber
Winter tyres go south; the Golf proves a popular choice at PH HQ

P.H. O'meter

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Comments (69) Join the discussion on the forum

  • AndrewW-G 06 May 2012

    Jimmy No Hands said:
    What were MK5 ED30's new? Similar?
    List price for my old Edition 30, which had a similar spec was just over £27k, when new in 2007.

  • heebeegeetee 06 May 2012

    toppstuff said:
    I know what you mean, and it is hard to put into words, but there is something not right about the evolution of the Golf GTI in my book. The world has changed and the car seems, well, pretty silly these days.

    Let me explain. Some of the older folk here will remember the mk1 and mk2 Golf GTI. Awesome cars. They were fun and relatively affordable to buy and to run.

    The new Golf GTI seems to have abandoned these basic virtues. VW have gone "premium" and so we now have a car that is not cheap, and not cheap to run either.

    It beggars belief that this thing struggles to maintain 30mpg. And it is not good enough. VW should not be left off the hook for that.

    But you would have to be old and know the older cars to appreciate this !

    These days, I look at a Golf Bluemotion and think "yes - that makes sense as a car people should own". I look at the GTI and think, "why would I spend all that money on a hatchback that is barely more economical to own than a V6 or even a V8 engined petrol car."

    An Audi S5 V8 does'nt drink much more fuel than the Golf. Thats just nuts.

    Edited to add: and its not just the Golf that is guilty here. Too many cars in the performance petrol hatchback sector are bloated, inefficient and thirsty.

    Edited by toppstuff on Friday 4th May 12:22
    Hmm, I don't recall the Mk2 being at all cheap at the time, and I'd say they'd definitely gone premium by then.

    Mpgs were similar too. smile

  • Stew2000 05 May 2012

    nickfrog said:
    Or he uses a tiny proportion of the performance, which kind of defeats the object ?
    Few weeks ago I overtook a MKV R32.
    Damn economy. I want some fun.

  • nickfrog 05 May 2012

    toppstuff said:
    You reading this, Riggers?

    How on earth do you manage to get 30mpg? Only using the first three gears ? Maybe you are towing a caravan and don't like to admit it to people? Or are there bodies in the back of the car?

    This chap above is clearly a much better driver than you. wink
    Or he uses a tiny proportion of the performance, which kind of defeats the object ?

  • Stew2000 05 May 2012

    At least the 35 isn't as common as the 30. And the Pirelli has low numbers too.

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