Volkswagen Golf GTD hatchback (2013-2019) - Engines, drive & performance

Few people will be disappointed by the Volkswagen Golf GTD’s sheer breadth of talent

Carbuyer Rating

3.7 out of 5

Owners Rating

4.0 out of 5

Read owner reviews
Engines, drive & performance Rating

3.5 out of 5

Volkswagen wouldn’t have given its most powerful Golf diesel model a GTD badge if it didn’t offer similar driving thrills to the petrol-engined VW Golf GTI. And it doesn’t disappoint – it’s fast, fun and surprisingly comfortable. The diesel engine has been engineered to make as appealing a noise as possible, but still doesn’t sound quite as evocative as the petrol GTI.

VW’s latest seven-speed dual-clutch DSG automatic gearbox is a pleasure to use, with immediate gearshifts and a smoother feel than the transmission in pre-2017 Golfs. If you choose manual mode. the steering-wheel-mounted paddles respond quickly and the car doesn’t override your gearchange decisions like some others do. However, those who value driving fun above all else should pick the brilliant manual. Thanks to the GTD's huge reserves of power, it requires very few gearchanges, even when you’re driving quickly.

The Volkswagen Golf GTD comes with a driver profile system, which allows you to alter the weight of the steering and how the accelerator responds, in order to maximise the car’s fuel economy or make it feel sportier. If you specify the optional adaptive dampers for around £800, you can also adjust the suspension settings, making the car more comfortable on the motorway and even more fun to drive on a twisty country road.

Volkswagen Golf GTD diesel engine

The GTD’s 182bhp 2.0-litre turbocharged diesel engine accelerates the car from 0-62mph in 7.4 seconds (with a DSG gearbox) and tops out at 143mph. While on paper this is a full second and nine miles per hour slower than the petrol GTI, it feels nearly as fast on the road.

It’s a very impressive engine, which offers plenty of overtaking ability thanks to the way it delivers its power. It also feels relaxed around town – especially if you choose the DSG automatic gearbox. The way the engine outputs its power is surprisingly smooth. Normally most of the power in a diesel engine is in the middle of the rev range, but you can go from idle to the redline and feel the same direct acceleration in the GTD.

Clever electronics in the front axle mean that power is always sent to the wheels with the most grip, which means the car can make the most of its responsive steering. Ultimately, we don’t think the Golf GTD is quite as rewarding to drive as a diesel Ford Focus ST, but it comes very close and makes more financial sense.

Recommended

New Volkswagen Golf GTD Mk8 vs Ford Focus ST diesel: rivals comparison
Volkswagen Golf GTD vs Ford Focus ST header image
News
30 Apr 2021

New Volkswagen Golf GTD Mk8 vs Ford Focus ST diesel: rivals comparison

Volkswagen Golf GTD hatchback review
Volkswagen Golf GTD hatchback
Volkswagen Golf GTD hatchback
16 Mar 2021

Volkswagen Golf GTD hatchback review

New 197bhp Volkswagen Golf GTD now on sale
2020 Volkswagen Golf GTD - front 3/4 view
Volkswagen Golf GTD hatchback
21 Oct 2020

New 197bhp Volkswagen Golf GTD now on sale

Have You Considered

Skoda Octavia vRS hatchback review
Skoda Octavia vRS hatchback
Skoda Octavia vRS hatchback
29 Mar 2021

Skoda Octavia vRS hatchback review

Hyundai i20 N hatchback review
Hyundai i20 N hatchback
Hyundai i20 N
26 Mar 2021

Hyundai i20 N hatchback review

Most Popular

Best new car deals 2021
Vauxhall Corsa
Deals
7 May 2021

Best new car deals 2021

2021 scrappage schemes: the complete guide
Scrappage schemes - Ford Focus
Tips and advice
20 Apr 2021

2021 scrappage schemes: the complete guide

Best 7-seater cars
Kia Sorento driving
7-seater cars
21 Apr 2021

Best 7-seater cars

Tips & advice

View All
Car dashboard warning lights: the complete guide
Car dashboard symbols and meanings
Tips and advice
13 Apr 2021

Car dashboard warning lights: the complete guide

Electric car charging stations: a complete guide
Tips and advice
10 Nov 2020

Electric car charging stations: a complete guide

PCP vs HP – what's the difference?
Tips and Advice
23 Mar 2020

PCP vs HP – what's the difference?

Average speed cameras: how do they work?
Average speed cameras: how do they work?
Tips and advice
24 Feb 2021

Average speed cameras: how do they work?

Best cars

View All
Best car interiors
Best cars
10 Mar 2020

Best car interiors

Best electric cars
Volkswagen ID.3
Best cars
6 May 2021

Best electric cars

Best cheap-to-run cars
Toyota Prius front 3/4 cornering
Best cars
1 Feb 2021

Best cheap-to-run cars

The UK's top 10 fastest hot hatchbacks
Hot hatches
9 Apr 2020

The UK's top 10 fastest hot hatchbacks