Volkswagen Golf GTD 2021 UK review

It really is a meaty engine, too, both in thrust and sound. In fact, you might actually want to switch the sound-actuator setting right down to Eco, because even in the default Comfort setting, the effect is almost tugboat burly, and faintly ridiculous, not to mention tiring. Sport mode ups the ante higher still and is best avoided unless you’re pushing on, at which point its loud, throaty growl can actually be quite satisfying. It’s all very odd.

Full-bore acceleration is strong, if on the meek side of exciting, but it’s the sharp pick-up and effortless middle-gears shove that makes the GTD so satisfyingly brisk. However, I’d still prefer it were the shift points more ambitious in Sport mode, so you can avoid using the apologetic plastic paddles too often. 

As for the chassis, our test car’s 18in wheels and optional DCC dampers work very nicely across a spread of British roads.

Set to precisely three notches above the regular Comfort setting, the suspension absorbs B-roads with fluency and control, although you can nudge the setting down for motorway driving, or up somewhat if you really want to grab the car by the scruff and treat it like a GTI Clubsport.

Overall, there isn’t much that will unsettle the GTD, and the polished suspension set-up feeds into the car’s sense of neutrality, even though it will do lift-off oversteer. The recent inclusion of the ‘Vorderachsquersperre’ (VAQ) limited-slip-differential-alike in the front axle is key to this. It gives the GTD precision and traction, and cross-country pace you’d need something considerably more powerful and very expertly driven to surpass.

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