It's easy for a car maker to take one of its econoboxes, shoehorn in a more powerful engine and call it sporty. It's another thing entirely to make it enjoyable to use with minor touches like the 2007 Volkswagen GTI's leather-covered owner's manual stored out of the way on a shelf above the glove box, or the lighted door lock switches, and the little plastic flap that covers the greasy hatch mechanism (right). None of these things alone would get much attention in most car reviews, but add them up and they take a starring role in this one. If you read John Neff's GTI 2-door review, you know all the statistical stuff about VW's new pocket rocket, but let's run through them anyway so we're all on the same page. The turbocharged 2.0 I4 engine pumps out 200 hp and 207 lbs. ft. of torque in a four-door car that weighs just over 3,100 pounds and does it getting decent mpg. Its modestly handsome good looks aren't easily distinguished from lesser vehicles, a good thing when attempting above-legal speeds on public roads. Not that we would encourage that, of course. Continue reading Autoblog's review of Volkswagen's five-door GTI after the jump. %Gallery-6361% So let's take a good look at those good looks. To make a GTI, Volkswagen starts with a humble Rabbit, and, on the outside, adds special 17" wheels with low-profile performance rubber, a rear spoiler and a cute little dark red smile below the grille. It's a look that says German sports car more than boy-racer and, like we said, should help you fly below the local radar. Our tester wore optional 18" alloys, which nicely showed off the car's red brake calipers. Inside our 2007 4-door tester, the Rabbit's already above-par interior got the full GTI treatment with optional leather, sport front seats, dual climate control, sunroof, in-dash DVD navigation and CD changer. Options on our very nicely-equipped VW totaled a whopping $6,060, which helped put an intimidating $29,290 price tag on the window. Though we thoroughly enjoyed those supportive, side-bolstered seats and one of the most rocking OEM automotive stereo systems we've ever heard, if you're just shopping for a German-engineered, MazdaSpeed3 alternative, the base GTI's got ya covered. Lose the luxuries and you can bring the price back down to a more reasonable base of $22,600. Our car, to our utter delight, had the 6-speed manual instead of the much-praised DSG automatic transmission. Running that little 4-cylinder up to redline, punching the clutch, hearing that turbo blowoff valve open and taking the shifter to the next gear was more fun than unlimited lives on Ms. Pac Man. This car, we swear, can cure baldness. No, really. After driving the GTI for a week, my hair was thicker, fuller and more manageable. I'm not sure if it's a by-product of the turbocharger or if the car somehow induced my body to make more testosterone, but I do know I'm in need of another treatment. We …
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|MPG||25 City / 32 Hwy|
|Transmission||6-spd auto-shift man w/OD|
|Power||200 @ 5100 rpm|
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