21 Feb 2013

New VW Golf GTD - a car for petrolhead company car drivers

Volkswagen have released details of the Mk7 Golf GTD, the warm hatch for petrolheads in need of a company car

Diesel doesn't normally enter my mindset unless it's of the V10 variety, but the Golf GTi diesel variants have always held a place in the heart of petrolheads who fancy a GTi but with the tax breaks and fuel economy of a diesel - i.e. company car drivers.

In 2001, when I worked for a large corporation, my team became eligible for company cars.  Buried in amongst the usual list of Fords and Vauxhalls was one BMW, a pov-spec E46 318i, and two decent MK4 Golfs, a GT TDi and a 2.0 GTi.

Being youngish and inexperienced in the ways of brand new cars we all chose a different machine for different reasons.  I went for the 318i which was terribly underpowered and under specced, a friend went for the 2.0 GTi, which was the slowest car ever to have carried the GTi badge, and my brother went for the GT TDi, which was brilliant.

Those of us who didn't choose the GT TDi realised we had made a mistake, and were envious of my brother.  We had to live with our underpowered cars for two long years.

Fast forward 12 years and VW have just released the Mk7 GTD, which will provide a similar choice to company car users across the land.  Dr Evil (George Osbourne) will take away all of your money if you should be so bold as to choose a company car with a petrol engine and at least some horsepowers.  Instead company car drivers have to go for a diesel or a hybrid.  Why else does the Jaguar XF Sportbrake only come with diesel engines?

Most importantly the Golf GTD looks the part.  Aside from the D in the badge one wouldn't be able to tell it from the GTi.  It comes with a 2 litre common rail turbo diesel engine allied to a manual 6 speed gearbox.  Perfect for using the extra torque a diesel delivers, and for razzing it along the back roads on the way back home from work.

The engine produces 181bhp and 280lb ft of torque.  0-62mph takes 7.5 seconds and top speed is 142mph.  Perfectly respectable figures.  Importantly for company car drivers the fuel consumption is 67.3mpg and it produces 109 g/km of CO2.

The interior is similar to the GTi with lots of special trim, black bits, stainless bits and tartan seats.

UK prices haven't been released yet but the GTD will cost €29,350 in Germany, which is equivalent to
£25,000.  More sensibleness.

If Volkswagen ever wake up to the fact that potential buyers, particularly in the age group and demographic that will buy the GTD, take bloggers and smaller websites opinions seriously when buying a new car then they might let me take one for a spin.  Then I'll be able to tell you if it is better than a 2001 BMW 318i.

Article by Matt Hubbard