Friday, June 14, 2024
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Vrrrrpha! Silence of the yams but still a great Golf 8 GTI

Beauty may be skin deep but sometimes it's better in the metal in a 21st century car that desperately needs a guide for dummies, writes Edwin Naidu.

“Young, gifted and black
Oh what a lovely precious dream
To be young, gifted and black
Open heart to what I mean

“In the whole world you know
There’s a million boys and girls
Who are young, gifted and black
And that’s a fact”

Nina Simone had a great voice. She had personality. Her music is eternal. Sitting in the Deep Black Pearlescent long-awaited Volkswagen Golf 8 GTI 2.0 TSI DSG®, I could not get Simone out of my mind. More so when I went to fetch my son Prashirwin in his final year at King’s School Linbro Park. The little big boys. They lined up on the ground to ogle this beauty. Their eager eyes. Fascinated smiles. Big dreams. Small boys. Lovely toys. Not just for boys. They sure leave girls in a twirl too.

Initial feedback from media pals toward iconic beast was tepid. They’re hard to please, anyway. And frankly, nobody cares what they say if you consider that people are still rushing to purchase this vehicle in droves. Bystanders could not get enough of this car. Beauty is skin deep but in the metal, the Volkswagen Golf 8 GTI 2.0 TSI DSG® has the look. Not only that, it’s got style and substance.

This my friends is a true 21st century car. If you’re like me born before the original version of this car arrived, you must be a cool dinosaur to want a Volkswagen Golf 8 GTI 2.0 TSI DSG®. Afterall this techno head-turner has it all once you realise that driving it sorely needs a GTI for Dummies handbook pretty fast.

A true 21st century car, Golf 8 GTI 2.0 TSI DSG® has the look, style and substance! 

Usually in the world one lives, it is work work work. When the vehicle arrived, I got in to do one or two of the outstanding chores in between being a diligent remote worker. Don’t we all say that? It starts at the push of a button. No loud road as one is accustomed to. My nephew Oliver had a Chevy Spark which had a louder grunt truth be told. But this is a Volkswagen Golf 8 GTI 2.0 TSI DSG®. It has it all – and more. You cannot compare onions with orchards. It’s just that one needs to know where to press the right buttons.

As Gauteng tried to shake off winter in December, I recall taking Prashirwin to school the morning this vehicle arrived, I was baffled at the controls. It’s all touch and go. Starting and taking off is the easiest bit, alright. This was penned ahead of the festive season, lost in a technological pit somewhere, and found in the New Year. But it still is a fresh take on the iconic vehicle.

For sure, nobody has time to read a manual. One believes that one can figure it out. But a modern car needs some insight via a quick crash course in what’s up. I pushed a button on the steering wheel, and lo behold, the heat is as wonderfully warm as the Margate sun. I want to hold this steering and never let go.

The eighth generation Golf GTI comes with sporty “Vienna” multi-function leather seats and heated sports steering wheel with touch control.

Nevermind the radio, who needs music when one wants to connect with this car. The sound amplifies depending on which mode one is on. I usually start with eco, notch it up towards comfort before playing around in sport. Born in 1975, this legendary vehicle has showed little signs of age. Where once it was a dashboard of knobs (for such types?) it is now a flight-like cockpit on the road. I suppose with the number of cowardly global airlines shutting South Africa from its skies, one can still feel the pilot vibes in this Golf. The 10.25-inch touch-sensitive screen with gesture control capability allows one to control the music to the Climatronic air-conditioning with both touch and swipe actions. The multifunction leather steering wheel’s capacitive buttons obey your every command with a simple tap of the finger. Swipe to open the sunroof and flick through 30 different ambient lighting colours as you sit back in your sporty “Vienna” leather seats to revel in the freedom the GTI inspires.

Taking things to the next level is the Harman Kardon sound system with a 12-channel amplifier with 480W output from eight speakers, one centre speaker and a subwoofer. Cliff Richard did not have this in mind when he belted out Wired for Sound in 1981 when the Golf GTI badge was in its sixth year.

How does the GTI handle? Truth be told I have really forgotten but I remember it was not bad given that it was given only 11 more kilowatts on its predecessor, meaning its 2.0l turbocharged engine kicks out 180kW of silent power. The four-cylinder engine is coupled with a 7-speed dual clutch transmission. It takes 6.4 seconds to complete the 0 – 100km/h sprint. Still faster than former champion sprinter Usain Bolt, I thoroughly enjoyed putting this vehicle through its paces. But found it a tad too unspirited like the beasts of yesteryear.

Dubbed the most digitally advanced Golf GTI, the impressive VW Golf GTI 2.0 comes with a starting price of R669 300!

The recommended retail for the Golf GTI 2.0 TSI 180kW DSG®  was R669 300 – you can bet with it being new year, the topsy-turvy rand, the crude Russian invasion of the Ukraine all combine to push up the price.

Still, in a few years when the Golf 9 arrives, most would have gotten used to this fabulous car. And Nina Simone’s Young Gifted and Black may be a bit more dated. But still a wonderful classic!

*For the latest motoring news updates across the globe and sizzling all new car models launching in South Africa, make sure to visit NOWinSA/Automobile page daily!

Edwin Naidu
Edwin Naidu
Jack-of-all-trades journalist Edwin Naidu talks about cars on Capricorn FM during the urban lunch adventure with King Bash on Friday.
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