Before the 2022 GTI Comes, Here's One Last Recommendation For The Mighty MK7 GTI

There are not a lot of cars you can buy today that I’d recommend more highly.

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Photo: The Carroll Institute For Hatchback Studies

I recently had a chance to sort of drive 2022 MK8 Golf R and came away pretty impressed. From what I hear about the MK8 GTI, it’s going to be an improvement over the current car in just about every way—but that doesn’t make the one you can buy today obsolete.

I just came back from a two-day track event where my wife and I shared her 2015 GTI and I have to make just one last recommendation for what I—as a three-time GTI owner—consider to be the best GTI ever.

In fact, there are not a lot of cars you can buy today that I’d recommend more highlythere are not a lot of cars you can buy today that I’d recommend more highly, or that I recommend more often. Her car hasn’t exactly been babied—the wheels are curbed, there are remnants of kid snacks all over the back seat and a dozen or so stickers on the inside of the passenger rear window—and it fucking rips. We do 4 hour road trips with two kids and a dog in it, we do daily commuting in it, we grocery shop in it and now, we track it. It could really be our only car.

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Aside from basic maintenance, we haven’t even really spent money on it. A prolonged sit during the first part of Covid cost us rotors and pads. That same period of inactivity followed by moving houses meant we had break our longstanding “no mechanics” policy and drop the car off at Steve’s European Auto to get the electronically-actuated wastegate unstuck. The tech there seemed a little bummed to have resolved the problem as I’d floated the idea of upgrading to an IS38 turbo. (It’s a good shop.)

Other than that, I replaced the awful stock Pirelli all-seasons with Michelin PS 4S tires and bought a set of snows. It’s been pretty cheap to run.

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Last weekend, it proved just as capable introducing my wife to HPDE events, putting up with my ham-fistedness and keeping up with late model Porsche Caymans in the hands of our friend Jimmy who was there as an instructor.

I was riding along with him late on the second day, headed in to Grattan’s turn one, when he said, “Man, these are such great cars.” No matter how good the MK8 is, that’s still going to be true. Hopefully VW closes them out with some good deals. Get the one with the stick, the bigger brakes and the plaid seats.

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Updated 3/4/22 with new details.