There are few things better than a VW Golf GTI in the world of cars. It’s a true multitool that gives owners a host of personalities to throw at any road and need. Take your kids to school? Check. Burn up a back road on the way back home? Double check.
With the most recent model, the Mk8, recently delivered to Clarkson for him to write a 1,000 word review on it for The Sunday Times, we thought we’d give you an overview of what he said about the German hot hatch.
He begins his review by talking about something entirely different. Banksy, a famous artist from Bristol, has recently painted something on the side of an en-of-terrace house, and thanks to this, the value of the house has risen hugely. The Grand Tour presenter links this subject to another recent car he’s just driven, the VW Tiguan:
“I was thinking about this because I recently drove the new Volkswagen Tiguan. It is a perfectly sensible, well-made and well-thought-out SUV. Just like all the other well-thought-out, well-made and perfectly sensible SUVs that litter the market at the moment. It doesn’t stand out in any way”
He questions if he could go out, paint something on someone’s unknowing Tiguan, or any other modern SUV for that matter, would it become more valuable and distinctive?
“I’m reasonably well known, so at night I could creep into your drive and paint a picture of whatever is in my head on your boot lid, and then I’d have a website where I could let everyone know that, yes, it really is a genuine Clarksy.”
He concludes that this would more than likely end up with him getting arrested and force him back to his day job, which is writing a review on the Tiguan. He doesn’t want to, so instead, the Mk8 sits in today’s limelight.
There are two things Clarkson knows about: progressive rock from 1971 to 1976, and Golf GTIs, specifically the first version. He also very much enjoyed the Mk7, and as the Mk8 shares its chassis, it begins its review in his good books. But things quickly go south when he touches on its styling.
“It is, broadly speaking, the same length as the older car, but, somehow, it looks bigger and flabbier. And there really aren’t enough design touches that distinguish this model — the icon — from its humdrum brothers. It doesn’t immediately scream GTI,” he complains. The ex-Top Gear presenter also isn’t a fan of the infotainment system that has “a screen that baffles and annoys everyone over the age of 12”.
How does it drive though, well…
“Driving? God it’s good. It’s better than good. It’s exquisite. The lack of much in the way of low-down get-up-and-go suggests that the ubiquitous 2-litre turbo engine has been tuned to save bears, but there’s always a low rumble from the exhausts letting you know that, actually, it hasn’t. It is really quick.”
How would Clarkson improve on such a brilliant car? Well, he’d paint a picture on it, of course.