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The Real Alternative

14 posts in this topic

No, not a party political broadcast.

There has been a lot of discussion on this site and in the press about the MkV GTI being overpriced. Is there a real alternative to a car that meets all of the following criteria:

Looks - understated, but sporty and refined - perhaps even 'classy'.

Performance - sub 7 seconds 0-60 and nudging 150 mph.

Handling - excellent allround grip, but comfortable on long journeys.

Interior - refined, not as high quality as Audi - but more aesthetically pleasing. Far better than any other performance package available for £20 000.

Space - enough to accomodate most things, including the kitchen sink.

ICE - TBC.

Seats and seating position - spot on.

Power delivery - practical, usable and more tourquey than most vehicles achieveing 6 - 7 secs 0 - 60.

Gearbox - manual is fantastic. DSG for those wanting to experience the way of things to come.

Standard equipment - Rain sensors wipers, dusk sensor headlights, good seats, plenty of safety and security features, Dual Zone Climate.

Options - leather, expensive but includes heated seats and lumbar support within leather package.

Residuals - 55% - 64%, within the first 3 years of production.

Driving experience - better than anything this side of a second hand TVR Tuscan, BMW M5, Maserrati & Nissan Skyline (Evo April edition - it even kept up with the Skyline on the road).

These are the features that have stood out for me - and the options that I have ordered.

However, in my quest to justify spending >£23 000 on a car (regardless of the badge) I have looked at Audi, Jaguar, BMW, Renault, Lexus, Subaru, Mazda, Vauxhall, Nissan etc.

I have yet to find a vehicle that objectively meets all of these requirements - except for the MKV GTI.

When people discuss cars that are overpriced, I immediately think of:

Alfa GT - £28 000 for what?

Puma Racing - £25 000 new (3 years ago)

Peugeot Coupe - £26 000 new (6 years ago)

These cars are what I would consider as overpriced - the Golf is miles better than each of them and at least £5 000 cheaper for a similar spec.

Just because the new Astra VXR, Subaru Impreza and Nissan Type-R undercut the Mk V, this doesn't mean that the Golf is overpriced. The Golf is in a different class to each of these options. I think that it sits neatly inbetween those aforementioned cars and the Audi 3.2. - not only in performance, class, refinement, looks & style but also in price. Hence an asking price of £20 000 is bang on.

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Once one considers options on the forthcoming VXR, Focus ST or Megane 225 Sport... they are all more or less the same price in most markets.

The spec of Golf I'm looking at puts it at 43K Euro including Tax.. That puts it at the same price for example as a Saab 9-3 Aero.. the Aero does not have the Xenons, the Navigation system, the sunroof, 18'' wheels etc or indeed the quality of fit, finish and interior.. nor as good seats. Yes, the Golf is 10hp less and is slightly smaller.. but then the Golf weighs less and thus has greater performance.

From a driving perspective, the Golf is without a doubt excellent and a league better than what has come from Audi/Saab/Opel/Vauxhall etc in recent years.

I don't need a bigger car. But if it can give 75% of what an Elise or Renault Clio Sport Cup can and be practical and inhabitable then great!

I don't remember my 3.2 911, Audi RS2, Golf mk2 GTI 16v, Subaru Impreza Turbo or Corrado VR6 (All classed as seminal performance cars in their time) being as good to drive, in terms of sheer agility and go-cart handling as the test drive I've just had with the Mk5.

It's a great effort.

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I'm with you on this one, I spent a long time trying to decide on my next new car as I don't tend to change that often. As soon as the MKV GTI came along I somehow knew it was what I'd been looking for, the test drive proved it.

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I agree, but think that the GTI is now the only option if you want a car from VAG that ticks the performance box. The 3.2 has the grunt (in a straight line) but when I had one for a week, not once did I go the long way home just for the hell of it.

I think that you can forget the options listed above, as I think that Audi will have to pull their finger out and start competing more. What bets are there that a S3 will suddenly appear before the GTI draws other long term Audi drivers away, and more importantly they get branded as being the boring but well built brand!!

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[ QUOTE ]

and more importantly they get branded as being the boring but well built brand!!

[/ QUOTE ]

That has been the case for a long time now, as with VW, but the new GTI is lifting VW out of that and I agree Audi need to do the same. A new S3 may not be enough though, the standard A3 desparately needs a restyle as it looks very boring and the new A4 has removed all the style that the old one had, it now looks like an anonymous Jap-mobile.

Coupled with the stupidity of going ahead with the Phaeton, VAG really is in crisis now and is drifting without particular direction. Burnt Fishtrousers really needs to go, he's only there because the men in suits at VAG mistakenly thought he was the one who brought the magic to BMW - he wasn't.

Sales of the GTI are more crucial than ever before, thank goodness for VAG it's so good!

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Do you think that VAG may have lost a bit of direction by having too many fingers in too many pies?

SEAT were very much in danger of becoming the sporting side of the brand and seeing as they always seemed to be the last to get the engines and floorplans have done very well with the Cupra and R models. Now I could forgive VAG for this if they then pitched the AUDI against BMW direct with rear wheel drive and a more prestige tilt, but where would that leave VW? You could hardly call them bargains and yet not quite up there with Audi, who exactly were they thinking of competing against?? Volvo? Ford?

And I agree that the latest grille on the A4 & sportback does not work but then strangly on the A6 it does....

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However, in my quest to justify spending >£23 000 on a car (regardless of the badge) I have looked at Audi, Jaguar, BMW, Renault, Lexus, Subaru, Mazda, Vauxhall, Nissan etc.

I've said it before and I'll say it again 147 GTA.... £22750 for a 250BHP v6, looks great sounds better. A lot more cost effective than the 3.2 GT, 350z and the like.

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[ QUOTE ]

What bets are there that a S3 will suddenly appear before the GTI draws other long term Audi drivers away, and more importantly they get branded as being the boring but well built brand!!

[/ QUOTE ]

Can't see that happening......... as an Audi and VW onwer (for some time) and I've driven the New GTi, driven other MKV golfs and own an R32 but my next purchase will be another Audi.

The R32 is a great car and one I prefer over the MKV GTi, the GTi is also a great car but didn't quite do it for me. My dealer is desperately trying to get me into one, he's already sold my mate / his GF one, but as my mate told me, had he been deciding on which car to get it would've been an A3.

My reasoning is simple...... A3 is built a better and Audi customers service wipes the floor with the poor, pathetic excuse of service that VW provide.

My loacl garage is partly an exception to this as I know the finance manager persoanlly and so things 'get' done, but on the whole my experience with VW is what is pushing me back to Audi

But don't get me wrong the GTi is a fine car, but sometimes you need more than a good car in order to attract and maintain customers!

smile.gif

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Well, I was a Audi driver for 10 years, and have just traded by S4 4.2 for the GTI. It was a hard decision but I was not gripped by the Audi and to be honest if you go out and push the S4 a little bit you, are going way to quick for this country!! So I was looking to downsize in performance but still keep the fun factor on B roads and good A roads. Being loyal to the VAG, and the Audi brand in particular that was my first port of call. So I had a 3.2 DSG for a week, liked the gearbox, didn't like the handling, then I was lent a 2.0 FSI sportback, liked the engine need the 5 doors but hated that grill and still a lack of fun in the handling and steering. So what choice do I have?? Drove the GTI and that was that, this is a car that Audi should have built first up with the new A3. It is a drivers car, it involves the driver and that is somthing that even a 340 bhp 4.2lt V8 Audi does not do.

I do understand your view on the dealers, however my VW dealer at Sawston in Cambs has been as good (so far) if not offering the more personal touch that a good mate can.

If you like to be surrounded by nice to touch plastic, and spend more than 1 day a year in the dealers to get it serviced and are not to bothered about enjoying the driving element of err driving then I take your point entirley.

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Its not VW dealers in general but VW as a brand and as an organisation..... they suck. They don't know how to deal with issues or manage customer expectations.

I throughly inspected the MKV and I thought they had up the ante over the MKIV in terms of build / quality..... in some areas they have but in others its not as good.

Plus owning an R32 I can't see how you can compare the driving experience to that of the GTi.... it just didn't match up. Hence why I'll go for an Audi..... but it will have ti match up the R32 as well mind, if the S3 turns out to be a soggy bag of tongue.gifoo: then I'll not be buying one.

I do understand where you're coming from tho, in that your requirements have been met by the new GTi, but it didn't meet mine. I want more from it and more from VW before I'll give them my business.

I've owned 3 Audis, MKI GTis, other VAG cars and the best built bar non have been the Audis. My 125k, 12yr old 1.9TDI avant is smoother, easier and nicer car to drive than the 1.6 MKV Golf I was given as a hire car when my R was in for a service - granted its nothing like the GTi, but it is an example of VW's poor customer service and complete lack of understanding. If they want me to buy a GTi they should NOT have given me that car as it was the worst ad for the MKV I can think of.

Anyway, not to rant on and on about it, I still think the GTi is a good car and I sincerely hope you enjoy it and get heaps of fun out of it..... happy motoring days ahead!

smile.gif169144-ok.gif

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And to you to, good luck with the replacment for your R32, I think that the S3 may well be the car that Audi wanted to do with this floorplan!

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It sounds like the S4 has left a bitter taste in your mouth... know the feeling. I had it when i bought a BMW, didn't like it and vowed never to buy another one. Don't want to think about how much you lost on your S4!!!!! ouch.

You will have a great time in your GTI, no doubt... but you will be back.

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mmm I don't like to think how much I gave up either, but I did get the GTI and some change which the wife thought was great!!!

If the RS3 or even the S3 are as good as they should be then I may venture back to the land of the 4 rings..........

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