2017 Volkswagen Golf GTI Performance And R First Drive

Performance model is most powerful Golf GTI yet

Can the Volkswagen Golf GTI do no wrong? The Germans keep nipping and tucking away at one of the most popular performance cars in the world, making it subtly better and more desirable with each iteration while maintaining its unbeatable all-round appeal that allows it be used as civilised family transport one minute, then a genuinely accomplished hot hatch the next.

Volkswagen Golf GTI Performance 2017
Volkswagen Golf GTI Performance 2017
Volkswagen Golf GTI Performance 2017
Volkswagen Golf GTI Performance 2017

The 2017 update to the Golf line-up allowed Volkswagen continue the theme, with all the styling and tech upgrades seen elsewhere in the range, plus more power and equipment for the more driver focused 'Performance' model. Of course, if that's not quick enough for you there's also an upgraded Golf R, now with more power and additional tempting options in the pipeline.

Volkswagen Golf R 2017
Volkswagen Golf R 2017

First impressions

All performance versions of the updated Golf get full-LED headlights up front as standard, plus LED rear lights with that cool new 'sweeping' indicator function that is slowly filtering down from high-end models into the mainstream. There are new bumpers as well, though the GTI is easily identified by its red grille striping, strakes in the bumper and a honeycomb design for the large air intake. It also gets red stripes within the headlights and a meaty chromed exhaust outlet on either side of the rear bumper. They poke out of a black diffuser that is complemented (visually and aerodynamically) by a modest roof spoiler. A new design of 18-inch alloy wheel is standard, called...