Diesel-flavoured slant on the GTI formula reaches the eighth-generation Golf
The new Golf GTD is not a performance hatchback, at least according to Volkswagen.Instead, the firm prefers to call its new sporting diesel an “endurance athlete”, placing the emphasis on its long-distance qualities. Not that it’s slow, mind. It takes care of the 0-62mph sprint in a claimed 7.1sec and runs to 152mph – respective 0.3sec and 9mph improvements on the old Mk7 model.The Mk8 Golf GTD uses the latest version of Volkswagen’s EA2288 Evo diesel engine, a turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder unit that delivers 197bhp (16bhp more than the Mk7 Golf GTD) and 295lb ft. For comparison, the Golf GTI’s 2.0-litre turbo petrol puts out 242bhp and 273lb ft. Of its rivals, the Ford Focus ST EcoBlue and its 2.0-litre turbo diesel represent perhaps the biggest threat, with 187bhp and 309lb ft.Unlike the latest Golf GTI, which can be specified with a six-speed manual, the new Golf GTD is offered exclusively with a seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox featuring steering wheel-mounted shift paddles. The revised engine uses two selective catalytic reduction (SCR) filters with dual AdBlue injection. According to VW, they significantly reduce NOx emissions over the previous Golf GTD engine. CO2 emissions are 137g/km and WLTP fuel economy is 51.4-54.3mpg.Altogether, there are three driving modes: Eco, Comfort and Sport, with an additional Individual setting to tailor the throttle, gearbox, steering and damper responses to your liking.Underneath, it uses the same suspension layout as the Golf GTI – MacPherson struts front, multi-links rear – complete with a 15mm-lower ride height than other Golf models and VW’s new Vehicle Dynamics Manager function, which controls both the electronic differential (XDS+) and the adaptive dampers.The latest Golf GTD adheres closely to the styling formula used for all Golf GTDs over the years by borrowing selected design elements from the current Golf GTI and, in line with recent VW developments, the petrol-electric Golf GTE. The sporting add-ons are relatively restrained but sufficient to mark it out as a sportier offering. Wheel sizes range from a standard 17in up to 19in.