Volkswagen Golf GTI Tops TrueCar’s List of Small Performance Cars and German Cars

It’s the most accomplished name in hot hatchback history: the Volkswagen Golf GTI. Better yet, the GTI continues to improve, and the latest iteration earns top accolades for its sharp handling, snappy acceleration, and liftback practicality. Check out the 2023 Volkswagen Golf GTI, the hot hatch that took the No.1 spot in two categories. The GTI even snagged TrueCar’s choice for best German car despite the faster and pricier Volkswagen Golf R. 

What is good about the Golf GTI?

The Volkswagen Golf GTI has a history of delivering sports car agility and eagerness in a practical hatchback platform, and the 2023 Golf GTI continues the legacy of balanced value. For instance, TrueCar gave the GTI the top spot in its best compact performance car and German car lists. 

The 2023 Volkswagen Golf GTI shows off its sensible German hatchback car styling while it blasts down a mountain road.
2023 Volkswagen Golf GTI | Volkswagen

It’s an unsurprising winner; the Volkswagen model develops a capable 241 horsepower and 273 lb-ft of torque. Car and Driver applauds the 2023 model and its turbo 2.0L engine for its 13-horsepower increase from the previous iteration. 

Moreover, the Golf model’s six-speed manual transmission is a joyful driver’s car affair, while the seven-speed dual-clutch transmission delivers snappy, calculated shifts. Pair the GTI’s performance credentials with nearly 30 mpg combined, seating for five, and just under 20 cubic feet of cargo capacity, and the little Volkswagen hot hatch is an understandable pick for the top of TrueCar’s lists. 

Is a Golf R faster than a Golf GTI?

The 2023 Volkswagen Golf GTI is quick, but the Golf R is even properly fast. Specifically, the Golf R will hit 60 mph in just 3.9 seconds on its way to a 12.5-second quarter mile. In comparison, the GTI requires around 5.1 seconds to hit 60 and 13.6 seconds to finish a quarter mile.   

A blue Volkswagen Golf R drives down country roads.
Golf R | Volkswagen

Is Golf R more powerful than GTI?

The Golf R is so much quicker than the GTI because of its power output and launch-happy all-wheel drive (AWD). The R produces 315 horsepower and 310 lb-ft of torque from its turbocharged mill, about 74 more than the GTI. 

A red 2023 Volkswagen Golf GTI 40th Anniversary Edition shows off its celebratory German car paintwork and looks as it drives past an apartment building.
GTI 40th Anniversary Edition | Volkswagen

However, the Golf R offers the seven-speed dual-clutch unit as its only transmission option. Still, the R model is thirstier than the GTI; the R drinks around 2.0 mpg more than the comparatively old-school GTI. 

How much is a 2023 Golf GTI?

The 2023 Volkswagen Golf GTI starts at around $31,625 for the S trim. Moreover, the 40th Anniversary Edition starts at about $34,150, the SE trim at $36,942, and the range-topping Autobahn at $40,910. 

Even with its top trim breaking the $40,000 barrier, it’s cheaper than the AWD Golf R. The entry-level Golf R base starts at around $45,835, and an extra $650 gets owners the Golf R 20th Anniversary Edition. 


Try a Volkswagen Golf R to Skip Sensible For Safety and Speed

Is a Volkswagen Golf GTI worth it?

The 2023 Volkswagen Golf GTI is a taut hot hatchback with the most renowned name in the segment. While it might not be quick enough to contend with the Golf R, it’s a cheaper alternative to the new Toyota GR Corolla and Honda Civic Type R.