|Original GTI Mark I|
The basic statistics are 200 hp from a 2.0 liter turbo injected engine, zero to sixty in about 7 seconds. Fuel efficiency is 20 mpg on the highway, 30 mpg in the city. What this boils down to is a lively car, quick but not race car fast, and that yields decent fuel economy. However, what the numbers don't reveal is a well put together machine, with a superior interior, nice styling, and typical German handling. The car has a interior that puts other cars in its class to shame, and offer performance that is almost as good as the Mazda 3speed or the Subaru hatch.
Now, take this nice little piece of German engineering and bring it to a local tuner. After one hour in the shop, and doing nothing more than tweaking the car's ECU - I guess it stands for Engine Control Unit, the electronic brain of the car, if you will - the car gains an additional fifty (!) horsepower and similar gains in torque. The car that got there quickly is now even quicker, feels more muscular, and if you keep your foot from pressing down on the gas pedal all the time, yields similar fuel economy. Of course, doing this will probably void your warranty should you come up with engine trouble, so this is definitely a buyer's beware situation.
|Current GTI Mark VI|
In my own personal opinion, the car is extremely well-behaved from the factory, and with the tune, it just becomes...better. It pulls better if you want to; it sounds more animated without generating those high noises associated with muscle cars; it also behaves perfectly civilized if you don't want to push it. My one concern is that the handling of the car, although very good, is not on par with BMW (actually, few cars out there are) or similar sports cars. Therefore, caution must be used when driving it, and maybe even improving the suspension or other handling components. Not to say that as is the car is an accident waiting to happen; far from it - it is a pleasure to drive. It just is not as sure-footed as its German rivals.
And what does all this have to do with the Bar Exam, you ask? Well, I have to be able to get to the exam site on time, don't I?