When we test small sporty cars we always seem to come back to the Volkswagen Golf as the benchmark. The 2018 Volkswagen Golf GTI Autobahn adds one more reason we feel that way. 

The original GTI started the hot hatch wave in the U.S. as the 1983 Rabbit GTI with a mere 90-horsepower. My how times have changed. Now, in its seventh generation, a 220-horsepower 2.0L turbo in-line 4 powers all GTI models. That’s an extra 10-horses from previous… and 50-more than the standard Golf. 

The Autobahn trim adds a torque-sensing limited-slip differential, and brakes from the even more potent Golf R. 

While the name conjures up images of high-speeds on the famous German motorway. Even our most discriminating drivers are impressed with throttle response. We tend to prefer manuals, but the smooth six-speed dual-clutch automatic keeps pace with the athletic attitude. The quick thinking Dynamic Chassis Control helped this front driver hold on tight as we cruised through the curves. Time in this roomy cockpit passed quickly in the comfy seats, while a variety of safety features are also along for the ride.

One more thing. It seems everyone is coming out with a new small utility these days. The Golf easily competes with mini-utes when it comes to cargo room…but adds pure German driving dynamics. The 2018 Volkswagen Golf GTI Autobahn is on sale now starting at $35,000.


  • Engine: 2.0 liter
  • Horsepower: 220
  • Price: Starting at $35,000