NEW FOR 2009:

– GTI adds hill start assist

For 2009, the Volkswagen GTI hatchback and GLI sedan are unchanged, save for the addition of hill start assist to the GTI.

The GTI hatchback, in two- and four-door configuration, and the GLI sedan share a 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine with six-speed manual transmission or optional Direct Shift Gearbox (DSG) with manual mode. All come in a single trim line.

Standard features on all models include 17-inch alloy wheels, dual-zone automatic climate control, auto-levelling bi-xenon headlamps, variable intermittent wipers, intermittent rear wiper, heated washer nozzles, anti-theft alarm, cruise control, floor mats, multifunction trip computer, power locks with keyless entry, interior ambient lighting, aluminum sport pedals, aluminum trim accents, six-CD/MP3 stereo with auxiliary input, heated sport seats, leather-wrapped tilt and telescopic multifunction wheel, auto up/down windows, sport suspension, and electronic stability control.

The GTI adds a rear washer/wiper, while the GLI includes a storage compartment in its rear centre armrest.

Based on the Rabbit and Jetta, the GTI and GLI offer great performance in a small package, with sharp handling, nice engines and the option of Volkswagen’s superb Direct Shift Gearbox. Torque-steer is well managed, turbo-lag is practically non-existent, and the interiors are far nicer than in many small performance models, making them equally pleasant to drive in regular traffic as on track-lapping days.

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