By Nick Dasko
I love my MKV GTI and I bet you all love your rides as well but do you ever find yourself looking at Euro-market models and fantasize about what might have been if you lived over there, or maybe VW brought over more models?
For the sake of simplicity and to avoid backlash this list is GAS POWERED HOT HATCHES ONLY!
First up is the VW Lupo GTI. Made from 2000 to 2005 these little cars weigh less than 1000 kg or just over 2000 lbs. While the 123HP and 112 torque figures don't sound super inspiring this car does over 30MPG and gets to 60 in under 8 seconds.
These numbers are crazy fast but they are in the tradition of the original MK1 Golf GTI, and that's legendary company.
This is a very small car, about the the same as a Fiat 500. This makes it the ultimate hot hatch for city living. But there are some flaws. It gets it's lightweight from use of magnesium and aluminum in the doors, hatch and hood so those can all get dented really easily.
On the plus side, you get a five-speed manual on the early cars or six on the later models so they can run on the highway. You get rolled fenders, twin centrally-mounted exhausts and everything that your body touches is GTI, like the seats, steering wheel, and shifter. Even the gauges are a sweet shade of blue with exposed allen nuts.
Now the Lupo GTI is a great little three-door for city living but it has its limitations. It's really small and the lack of doors are annoying for a lot of people. Which brings me to the car pictured in the first photo, the fifth generation Polo GTI.
In production since 2010, this hot-hatch goes toe to toe with the Ford Fiesta ST in Europe but unlike the Ford comes in three or five door configurations. It puts out 180HP and 180 torque from its 1.4 twin-charged engine.
Unlike the Ford which is manual only, this Polo is seven-speed DSG only. All the touchpoints are usual-GTI fare and the suspension has of course been tuned to dance. Being based on the Polo, this is a cheap car to run but again it may be a bit small for certain people. If you need more room than you should look at the next amazing car, the MKV Golf GT.
This car has the engine from the MKV Polo GTI tuned to 168HP and around 170 torque. You get a choice of six speed DSG or manual but you have to put up with a car that doesn't look or feel particularly different from a normal Golf and can't match the GTI or GTD.
You get slightly better fuel economy than you would in a GTI and slower acceleration to match, it takes nearly 8 seconds to get to 60. This is a cool little car but the reason it makes this list is purely because of the engine. It comes with nice seats and wheels but it needs to be a bit more aggressive if it's going to be in my garage.
The VW UP! in current form is really slow and boring. But a new one will be out in a few years and is rumored to be turbo with a newer DSG transmission instead of the clunky single-clutch automated unit that feels seriously out of place in a car wearing the VW badge.
A fun little car that I can park in a crowded downtown-core really easily sounds awesome. Plus I just like the way the car looks. Who knows maybe they would even put it in the Bulli