2016 golf gti 3936

2016 Volkswagen Golf GTI Autobahn Review

2016 golf gti 3936
2016 Volkswagen Golf GTI Autobahn
Engine Power
Rough Ride

The Autobahn is a place where there are no limits. You can go as fast as you want without fear of getting a speeding ticket. Here in the U.S. we aren’t so lucky to have such a highway, so you will need to be careful if you buy the Volkswagen Golf GTI Autobahn. It’s the top trim for the Golf GTI and it’s a hot hatch that pegs high on the fun-to-drive meter.

It will be hard to keep this Golf GTI flying under the radar! Over the weekend we tested a cop-attracting, Tuxedo Red 2016 Volkswagen Golf GTI Autobahn to see how it performed in the curves and on the open road.

What’s New For 2016?

The Volkswagen GTI gets an all-new infotainment system for 2016 with a standard 6.5 inch touchscreen interface, rearview camera, universal USB input and, for compatible phones, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. Last year, the GTI received upgrades to the steering and brakes making it better in the curves. We were eager to see for ourselves on the twisty mountain roads west of Denver.

2016 VW Golf GTI

Features & Options

The 2016 Volkswagen Golf GTI Autobahn ($30,135) comes with a power sunroof, automatic headlights and wipers, keyless ignition and entry, leather upholstery, and a Fender premium audio system. It also features a navigation system, 10-way power driver seat (with two-way power lumbar), and dual-zone automatic climate control.

Outside, the GTI Autobahn, gets 18 inch alloy wheels, LED front fog lights, heated foldable outside mirrors, rain-sensing wipers, rear spoiler, GTI bumpers, and special exterior trim.

Total MSRP including destination: $30,995.

Interior Highlights

The Golf interior is simple and well laid out. The controls are easy to use and the 6.5 inch touchscreen controls the navigation and Fender premium audio system. The cabin is high quality and there’s lots of soft touch materials throughout. We would describe it as distinctly European, comfortable, and sporty.
The red stitching on the leather steering wheel, sport seats, and gear shifter boot sets the interior apart. The sport seats provide ample support and comfort, even on longer trips in the hatchback. There’s a handy bin ahead of the shifter, perfect for a cell phone.

The rear seats offer excellent room for adults and are comfy for longer trips. There’s ample head and shoulder room too, thanks to the higher hatch roof. There’s also a convenient folding rear armrest/cupholder with a pass-through to the back. Behind the rear seats, it comes with 22.8 cubic feet of cargo space that’s easily accessible through the rear hatch.

With the seats folded flat, it offers up a class-leading 52.7 cubic feet of space.

Engine & Fuel Mileage Specs

The 2016 VW Golf GTI is powered by a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 210 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed manual transmission is standard and a six-speed automated manual DSG is optional. They both send power to the front wheels.

The EPA’s estimates for fuel economy are 25/34 city/highway and 28 mpg combined with the manual gearbox.

2015 VW Golf GTI

Driving Dynamics

Our tester came with the 6-speed manual gearbox and we are glad it did. This car is fun to drive and the shifter provides even more engagement to the already sporty nature of the Golf GTI. We chucked it around the tight mountain corners this weekend! The GTI has more responsive steering and the upgraded brakes make it far more capable and enjoyable in the curves.

We pushed the GTI hard and it accelerates quickly as the turbo spools up to utilize every bit of the 210 horsepower. The turbocharged 2.0-liter engine with 258 pound-feet of torque makes this hatch one of the quickest compacts in its class.

The Volkswagen Golf GTI lives up to its hot hatch heritage instilling plenty of driver confidence. The only complaint we have with the GTI is this model comes with the larger wheels and high-performance tires. The GTI’s ride is a bit rough over the bumps likely because of the summer meats. We also barely made it home as more heavy, wet snow hit the mountains as winter continues to hold on late this year.

A better option would be all-season tires for the colder climates.


The 2016 Volkswagen Golf GTI Autobahn is a fun hatchback that’s also practical with plenty of utility. It absolutely dials up driver engagement with the 6-speed manual gearbox. The GTI can be a real sleeper and you can fly under the radar if you don’t get the red exterior paint we did. There’s a lot to like and we would recommend it for those want a sporty, hot hatch.

*Denis Flierl has invested over 25 years in the automotive industry in a variety of roles. Follow his work on Twitter: @CarReviewGuy

 VW Golf GTI running gear