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Car Review

Volkswagen Golf GTD (Mk8) review

Published: 20 May 2021


What is it like to drive?

Although 197bhp may seem a little stingy these days, VW has managed to extract a healthy 295lb ft of torque from its four-cylinder EA288 evo diesel engine. The result is 0-62mph in 7.1 seconds and brisk pace from low revs with minimal turbo lag. It’s not quite up to modern hot hatch standards, but that whole sector has gone bonkers anyway and combined with the relatively slick DSG ‘box the GTD is plenty quick enough. The brakes have good feel too and, for reference, top speed is 152mph.

The GTD’s steering is quick and direct, and it corners better than the GTE which is saddled by a hefty battery under the boot floor. It is slightly less sharp than the brilliant Mk8 GTI in this department, though. Tick the £785 Dynamic Chassis Control (DCC) box and you’ll get far more control over ride quality and sporting intent, with 15 settings ranging from beyond-comfort to beyond-sport. That’s money well spent in our book.

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If you haven’t specced those adaptive dampers, it’s best to avoid the sport button. Press it and you’ll be dealing with electronically weighty steering and a rather silly pumped-in engine note. As it does elsewhere, VW’s auto gearbox has sport and manual modes in the GTD, but you’ll probably avoid those too as the diesel engine has done all of its best work by 3,500rpm.

Stick with everything in its Goldilocks ‘just-right’ settings and you’ll have a comfortable cruiser that doesn’t embarrass itself in the bends. Far from it, in fact.

Whilst government support for diesels has completely U-turned in the past couple of years, VW does promise that this torquey 2.0 TDI is one of the cleanest diesel engines in the world. It gets something called a “double SCR catalytic converter” with dual AdBlue injection tech to reduce harmful nitrogen oxide emissions. Very clever stuff.

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