Published on April 15th, 2013 | by Seán Ward0
Golf GTD or GTI – Which to Buy?
VW has said its new Golf GTD can be ordered from today for £25,285, £560 less than the new GTI – but which would be the better buy?
The Mk7 Golf GTDs and GTIs are both based on the new MQB (Modularer Querbaukasten – Modular Transverse Matrix in English) platform that’s being rolled out across different models in all of VW group’s brands. As a result, buyers get more space, less weight and better efficiency than with the Mk6 cars.
But how do the GTDs and GTIs compare? In terms of performance, there’s very little between the two. While the GTD has less break horsepower than the GTI, with 181 bhp as opposed to 217 bhp, the GTD has more torque from its 2.0 litre turbo diesel than the GTI does from its 2.0 litre petrol, with 280 lb/ft of torque compared to the GTI’s 258 lb/ft.
As a result, the pace of the two cars is pretty similar: the GTD manages 0-60 mph in 7.5 seconds and will reach 142 mph, and the GTI* will get from 0-60 mph in 6.5 seconds and will go on to 152 mph.
The biggest difference in performance is likely to come from the nature of delivery from the petrol motor and the diesel unit. Peak power and torque come at 3,500 rpm and 1,500 rpm respectively for the GTD, but at 4,500 and 1,500 rpm for the GTI.
Economy, though, is where the GTD starts to stand out. On the combined cycle the GTD supposedly manages 67 mpg, whereas the GTI can only manage 47 mpg.
Everything else, however, is pretty much the same. Both cars weigh around 1,800 kg (the diesel averages out at about 20 kg more than the GTI), have the same variable steering rack, use almost the same tyres (225/40 on the GTD, 225/45 on the GTI), have very similar suspension set ups (both use McPherson Struts at the front and a multilink set-up at the rear, with slightly softer damping on the GTD), and can be specced with either a six-speed manual gearbox or a six-speed DSG (double clutch) box.
Cosmetically, there are only minor differences too: the GTD has a grey stripe on the front grille and on the front badge, whereas the GTI has red. Similarly, the tartan (‘Jacara Grey’) upholstery on the GTD has a grey stripe, whereas the GTI has a red stripe (just ‘Jacara’).
And whereas the GTD has twin exhausts, black brake callipers and five-twin-spoke 18” Nogaro wheels, the GTI has two separate exhausts on each side of the car, red brake callipers and five-spoke 19” Austin wheels (the classic modern GTI wheel design).
Which is best? The GTD is almost dynamically identical to the GTI, but most will find the diesel engine less fun than the petrol, but on the flipside, almost all of the performance from the GTI is available in the GTD and it costs less to buy and insure. Just make sure that, if you get one, spec it with the ‘Minzgrün’ Green some of the Mk6 press cars used to have…
Photo: Marc Urbano
*A Golf ‘Performance’ pack is also available, which features an extra 10 bhp, will get to 60 mph 0.1 of a second quicker, can manage 155 mph rather than 152, has vented brakes and a limited-slip differential, but weighs a few kilos more than the GTD.