Author Topic: Fred's Thoughts on Mk8 GTI ownership  (Read 6198 times)

Offline fredgroves

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Fred's Thoughts on Mk8 GTI ownership
« on: 04 March 2021, 11:12 »
Grab yourself a cuppa (and a piece of cake, Mcvities Jamaican Ginger cake is my sponsor) , I do like to ramble on... :whistle:

After 7 years in Mk7/7.5 GTD's I'm now with a Mk8 GTI DSG.

The Mk7 Golf was a cracking car, best car I've ever had and no doubts at all. I went everywhere, threw everything at it and it performed nearly faultlessly.

Diesel is a thing of hate now, so before I end up driving a milkfloat I thought I'd have one last blast in a petrol car.

It kind of made sense, not only for the (false) oil burning hate but also my mileage seems like it will be far less. Covid has changed my work life a fair bit and it seems its not going back to where it was. So I can afford a bit of fun (well man maths says I can!)

Here are my thoughts on the first few days of my Mk8 GTI DSG, I've done several hundred miles already and am getting used to its positives and negatives.

Some of these things I will mention you might have heard about, some I don't think anyone has talked about yet anywhere...reviews...forums...

In general:

Looks - I love it. The Mk8 shape took a bit of getting used to. I feel confident about it now and the Moonstone colour is lovely, I've wanted a grey Golf for years since seeing a nagaro grey Audi many moons ago. Have had lots of admiring comments from colleagues and even random people at the petrol station.

This is my first GTI so maybe its nothing new but...it drives like mad! I had a little "spirited" drive the other night in sport mode... rev matching down shifts using flappy paddle manual, pops and bangs on a swift lift off, front diff awesome, handles incredibly - high speed direction changes are like its on rails. VDM really works. Maybe need to get some bigger paddles though, the OEM ones are not as big as they could be to be perfect. Think I might find manual gear shifts a lot of fun when I am feeling playful - it certainly was fun the other night.

However its quiet and refined in "comfort" (aka "drive" or "normal"), shifts up at just under 2000rpm. Drives like a normal car which is crazy when you see what it can do in lunatic mode.

I've not tried "eco" but based on my previous GTD's apart from disabling corner lighting and the air con (both annoying) it never seemed to return any serious fuel economy advantages. I probably will never even experiment with it.

Golf ball pattern mirror downlights (projected onto the floor both sides, unlike some other car's fancy puddle lights) and LED lit door handles. Coloured interior lighting nice, you can have whatever colour you want and even in the rear doors (unlike the MK7). Looks like Blackpool illuminations at night!

LED headlights, bright and adaptive main beam lighting great. Lights better than my Mk7.5 LED's definitely. Not just bright but a much broader spread of light. Just what you need in the gloom of the countryside. Watching the adaptive lighting dance around other road users is great. Haven't been flashed for blinding anyone yet.

Swoopy front indictors - now not only the rears like the Mk7.5!

Sorry you can't turn off light bar between the front headlights in the menus. Some hate it, I rather like it. Maybe VCDS can kill it if you try hard enough.

Seats are really comfy - better than the Mk7.5 for sure. Night and day better than the 128ti!!!

Progressive steering - one turn to full lock - nice! Easy to park!

Voice control - natural speach (you don't have to try and speak like a BBC news reader to make it understand you), can control nav, audio, climate (seems UK GTI's have 3 zone climate control as standard unlike in Germany - UK configurator wrong again that suggests you need to option that through winter pack 2).

Navigation gets place names pronounced properly. No more "take the M25 towards mmmmwwwfffad". Also I was able to ask it to navigate home and I spoke the address and it found it perfectly. The routes that it picks still suck though - my bone of contention with the Mk7 nav system. Waze is much better.

Gesture control - sort of works, lack of manual gearbox means its not as annoying as it was on my Mk7.5 - on that I turned it off. I'll leave it switched on but probably never use it!

Travel assist - really nice. This combines ACC with lane centring and GPS map data and traffic sign recognition. Basically it drives itself under most motorway type situations. You have to lightly grip the wheel but its pretty neat. Big step up on Mk7.5 ACC. (normal old skool ACC mode is also available still). You just have to watch out for odd road situations... its not actually magic. Fully autonomous driving is really not very far away now.

Haven't found lane assist to be a massive pain the bum and needing to turn it off at the start of every journey. Once you are used to the surprise of it grabbing the wheel you just counter it. Haven't also found start/stop to be intrusive either. Both are quick and easy to disable on startup if you want (control freaks/purists might want to I guess) - click the end of the left stalk, brings up assist system screen on the MIB, poke some options, done. Both reset to on every start though.

Blind spot warning lights are fantastic, really big, really noticeable, definitely a great feature.

The car comes with keyless entry and keyless start. You can disable keyless entry in the menus. Do it. Don't get your car stolen by some a-holes who think they are clever :angry:

Options:

Adelaide 19's - look lovely, they have Bridgestone S005 tyres fitted which so far seem to be a better tyre than the dreaded S001. I've not had a tramping at all, even in the cold wet today (I even tried to make it do it). Definitely feel "heavy" on the corners of the car though, because they are (12.5kg without tyres!)

DCC - soaks up the bumps for sure. At the super soft end it doesn't feel wallowly like the Mk7 DCC did in comfort. Seems VDM keeps it nice and flat at all times. Its virtually impossible to tweak the DCC level while moving though, I suggest you don't try because it needs so much concentration and accuracy on the touch screen. On the hardest setting its surprisingly not harsh either - especially given I've got 19's on. Nothing like the harshness of other OEM's GTI competitors and not even as harsh as the Mk7 DCC in sport. They've definitely done something quite magical with the suspension setup for the Mk8, it really is highly impressive - but I felt like that even on the non-DCC test drive I took.

HK audio - its pretty good. Much better than the BMW 1 series HK version and I'd not seen/heard the VW one until I picked my car up. The sound really flows around you (with surround turned up), it doesn't get overwhelmed when you crank it up to 11. Bass isn't earth shattering (even with the sub turned right up), but you know its there. Does seem to work better with some sorts of audio than others (eg my favourite Motorhead doesn't sound much improved), but it performs better than I expected and is definitely a positive upgrade option. My little blast of Damian Marley yesterday sounded lovely! However my audio setup for that didn't seem to be compromised when I switched back to Radio 4 (all speech). It definitely not some MaccyD's car park chav audio system - sorry to dissapoint if that was what you wanted.

HUD - again I'd not seen this on a VW, only a BMW. I like it quite a bit. Hardly look at the dash in most instances now. Slightly annoying in that some of the "traffic signs" it displays aren't actually signs on the road and you wonder if you have missed something (probably its picking them up from GPS/map data). I guess I'll get used to it eventually. Some of the speed limit map data isn't quite right - my road apparently is a 20mph zone.... not its not. Shame the HUD doesn't display the gear you are in or a rev graph/shift light. That would have been nice.

Rear camera has lines to show you manoveur direction. VW's pop out camera doesn't get covered in crud like some others. Camera has a good picture even in the dark. Still find I'm using mirrors to reverse though, but the camera gives me a bit of extra confidence on top of parking sensors. Not sure its really needed on a Golf, the car is dead easy to park without it.

Winter pack - not used it yet. Not been cold enough. Standard car has heated steering wheel, winter pack 1 which I have adds heated seats. Can't imagine it will be any better/worse than the Mk7.5.

And now the moaning section... you knew it was coming  :laugh:

Missing door kick plates - no nice stainless steel plates on the bottom of the door frame. Its just plastic. Like a basic sh1tbox. Probably this minor thing is the worst cheapness thing I've spotted. I'm sure you can get some after market ones to stop your door sill from becoming scuffed to hell.

Doors shut with a clunk but need more positive effort to close properly. Fail to shut, try again, slam. Its not even cabin pressure, they just don't close easily. On the Mk7.5, one of my rear doors used to be like this, but never the fronts.

Annoying reflections in windscreen - there are several lines on the top of the dash surface, you can see these reflected in the windscreen. One is the hole where the HUD is. It looks like you are staring through a little tiny window around the HUD. I've never seen dash reflections like this on a windscreen before. Anyone with a Mk8 is going to hate me now I've pointed this out and now they too can see it...and cannot unsee it.

We Connect problems - Mother of God! Before I got my car, I had to sign up for a VW ID and give that to my dealer. I installed the app on my phone. The app never showed my car...until I uninstalled it and reinstalled it, then it did. After that I could see my car on the map, parked at the dealers. Great I thought! After getting home with the car I was showing my wife the feature on my phone.... but my car was still showing as being at the dealers. I spent an entire day trying to get it resolved, half of it on the phone to VW We Connect support. Had to delete my profile from the car and the VW web portal and re-add...which it wouldn't do at home because it didn't have a strong enough eSim mobile signal (and it didn't like my house wifi). I learnt all of the pitfalls finally fixed (I think!) so if anyone else is struggling, ask and I'll help you. Without it working properly the main functional drawback is that you don't get the traffic data or OTA map/software updates (only some software is OTA though).

Front assist errors - These come and go, I've no real idea what is causing it or what the actual impact is of the error condition. Doesn't seem to impede anything but?? Maybe the error clear themselves and you don't get a message about it coming back?

Wireless android auto not yet available, wireless apple carplay is. Possibly coming with an update of the MIB software (1788) but who knows... hopefully it is just a software upgrade. Should be... From my BMW experience the other week, its not a good idea anyway. Wireless connection with wireless charging (which the Mk8 has) cooks your phone when running waze/google maps - I saw this on the BMW and the Golf won't be any different - its just heat from high use combined with heat from inductive charging and the flappy clip thing holding the phone down. Basically, not much use except for a short journey that you don't need charging for. Plug it in still is my suggestion.

AID is configruable but I can't help but feel like its not as good as the Mk7.5 one. It looks MUCH nicer (you can change the colours too) but in terms of the ease of delivering information, the different Mk7.5 views were superior I think. The Mk8 AID is still better than other manufacturers efforts that I have tried though, just not as good as the Mk7.5 in functionality.

There is however no nav map view in the AID (although software version 1788 might fix that but not seen that in the UK yet - in Germany they have it on new builds now). Its only not there because VW have disabled it... for some reason.

Steering wheel buttons - annoying, but not heated wheel button that I seemed to keep pressing on my test drive - seem to have managed not to press that accidentally now. Volume control fiddly/annoying, doesn't seem to always work, doesn't go up/down by holding my finger on the button, meaning you have to repeatedly stab at it.

Yes the sliders for heating and volume under the MIB unit are unlit and annoying to use. Super annoying. Press the climate (physical) button on the dash and get the settings up on the screen or use voice control. Voice control is pretty good for setting the temp actually. I'll probably never try to use the slider things ever again or at least not on the move.

USB C connections only - dealer gave cable for my phone, which was nice. Had to get USB stick (a USB C one - actually its a clever sandisk one that is USB A and C which means I can easily plug it into my computer which still only has USB A) for my music as there are no SD card slots. Not really a moan I guess, just a warning for others! The two USB ports on the front dash are enabled for data, there are two more on the rear centre thingy by the rear air vents, I think these are probably power only for passengers to charge their phones.

Media play back annoying - takes ages to go from the song list to what is playing screen, random time? No idea whats going on there.

Sat nav takes ages to start up when you get in the car, lots of please wait. I guess maybe I'm used to the Mk7 navpro which was super fast compared to the Mk7 basic nav. Maybe you won't notice the difference. While I am talking about that, like on the Mk7.5 navpro, the screen gets super plastered in visible finger prints, even if you haven't been eating a keebab before touching it. Get yourself a MF cloth to polish it at traffic lights.... something I used to do with the Mk7.5!

Android auto with HK the waze voice comes from HK centre dash speaker. Odd sounding, annoying. The BMW did the same.

There is no cubby hole to the right of the steering wheel and no overhead sunglasses container. The cup holders in the centre console (where the handbrake would be) doesn't have the retractable cover like the Mk7 and the cubby hole forward of the gearstick (now "chicken nugget") doesn't have a hatch cover.

So there you go...

It does have a lot of quite annoying things that are caused by VW design choices and releasing it too quickly but what I would say is that I am optimistic these will get sorted with further software upgrades. I am not really sure under what circumstances others are seeing problems - I know there was a big VW recall just before I got mine, maybe PDI got that sorted. My car was built end of August 2020.

The car itself is bloody brilliant and I don't regret choosing it at all.

And I stress to you all, don't be so scared about what you read on the internet that you discount having a Mk8 GTD/GTI/Clubby/R.

Time for me to get a cuppa after typing that lot!

Fred

(PS I hope you got this far down my post!)

Current: Mk8 GTI DSG, Adelaides, DCC, HUD, HK, Winter Pack, Rear Camera.. Aka "HMS Weasel"

Gone: 2017 Mk7.5 GTD,manual, NavPro
Gone: 2014 Mk7 GTD, manual, NavPro, DCC

Offline Al1040

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Re: Fred's Thoughts on Mk8 GTI ownership
« Reply #1 on: 04 March 2021, 11:30 »
Great write up Fred.
Well balanced and informative... I'm sure there will be more to come!
67 Plate Mk 7.5 GTD DSG

Offline Snoopy

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Re: Fred's Thoughts on Mk8 GTI ownership
« Reply #2 on: 04 March 2021, 11:32 »
Straight to the points, thanks for the info.  :smiley:
« Last Edit: 04 March 2021, 11:33 by Snoopy »
Current VWs = Mk6 GTI,  Mk1 GTI,  Mk1 Leon.
I should have bought a CSS in 2016.

Offline SRGTD

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Re: Fred's Thoughts on Mk8 GTI ownership
« Reply #3 on: 04 March 2021, 11:41 »
Really great review Fred; really enjoyed reading it. Were you a motoring journalist in a former life? :grin:

IMHO Your review is much more matter of fact, informative and to the point than many of those ‘wishy-washy, say lots without saying anything’ YouTube reviews. Looking forward to further updates on life with your car over the coming months. :smiley:

2020 Polo GTI Plus; Pure White, DSG (because they all are)
Gone but not forgotten;
2016 Polo GTI; Blue Silk
2011 mk6 Golf GTD; Carbon Grey
2007 mk5 Golf GT (2.0 170bhp TDI version); Deep Black Pearl
2002  mk4 Golf GTI (the 150 bhp diesel version); Deep Black Pearl

Offline king monkey

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Re: Fred's Thoughts on Mk8 GTI ownership
« Reply #4 on: 04 March 2021, 11:46 »
That was great. Just what potential owners want. See, a drag race wasn’t needed!  :whistle:
2019 7.5 Golf R. Lapiz, prets, 90% tints, black mirror caps, TCR rear lip spoiler

Offline fredgroves

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Re: Fred's Thoughts on Mk8 GTI ownership
« Reply #5 on: 04 March 2021, 12:12 »
Cheers guys - I thought what was needed on here was a Mk7 owners opinion - we all know the Mk7 inside and out, what we wanted to know was how it compared to the old one and what some of the new things were. You can only get that from someone who has spent a lot of time in a Mk7, not from a reviewer who's last Golf experience was 30 mins 5 years ago.

I can also say it like it is - VW aren't going to ban me from reviewing any of their cars for being critical - remember this is how journalism works...

BTW, I normally write up evaluations of new industrial equipment... its similar but not the same but for work I have to be a bit more serious and less flippant, but you'd have been bored to death if I had written it up like I do normally  :laugh:

I can show you my appraisal of some automated canning machines if you like... spoiler alert though, none of them have DSG or VDM  :laugh:
« Last Edit: 04 March 2021, 12:16 by fredgroves »
Current: Mk8 GTI DSG, Adelaides, DCC, HUD, HK, Winter Pack, Rear Camera.. Aka "HMS Weasel"

Gone: 2017 Mk7.5 GTD,manual, NavPro
Gone: 2014 Mk7 GTD, manual, NavPro, DCC

Offline king monkey

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Re: Fred's Thoughts on Mk8 GTI ownership
« Reply #6 on: 04 March 2021, 12:44 »
I’ll pass if that’s ok Fred.  :grin:
2019 7.5 Golf R. Lapiz, prets, 90% tints, black mirror caps, TCR rear lip spoiler

Offline dfm

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Re: Fred's Thoughts on Mk8 GTI ownership
« Reply #7 on: 04 March 2021, 13:53 »
Thanks Fred - I enjoyed that.

Offline Ubique

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Re: Fred's Thoughts on Mk8 GTI ownership
« Reply #8 on: 04 March 2021, 13:58 »
Thanks Fred, really enjoyed reading that. Just one question, how does the GTIs acceleration feel vs the 7.5 GTD? I think we were both in the same situation of being GTD owners, I’m expecting my GTI by the end of the month and can’t wait to see how different they feel “being pushed”. Cheers

Offline fredgroves

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Re: Fred's Thoughts on Mk8 GTI ownership
« Reply #9 on: 04 March 2021, 14:23 »
Thanks Fred, really enjoyed reading that. Just one question, how does the GTIs acceleration feel vs the 7.5 GTD? I think we were both in the same situation of being GTD owners, I’m expecting my GTI by the end of the month and can’t wait to see how different they feel “being pushed”. Cheers

Its pretty nuts with the gearbox in sport mode, let alone the throttle stepped up in sport mode... its not got the instant torque of the GTD but its definitely more exciting. In normal "drive" mode and moderate throttle application the GTI feels quite conservative, changing up through the box calmly at low revs. It doesn't seem to suffer from the old fashioned petrol engine issue of "nothing at the bottom, only at the top". That is apparently down to new injectors which are something like 50psi more than the old ones. Its not the only modern petrol engine like that though, the Mini F56 1.5l 3 cylinder we have here is like that too, almost oil burner like but with a surprise if you take it up the rev range. Ok, not a kick up the arse surprise like the GTI unleashes but a surprise none the less.

The Jeykll and Hyde nature of the car is quite strange really. Christ knows what a clubby or R drives like  :evil:

I'd be interested in seeing what a Mk8 GTD could do though, I think a lot of the difference besides more power is in the new handling dynamics. I reckon a Mk8 GTD would still be an excellent car.
« Last Edit: 04 March 2021, 14:25 by fredgroves »
Current: Mk8 GTI DSG, Adelaides, DCC, HUD, HK, Winter Pack, Rear Camera.. Aka "HMS Weasel"

Gone: 2017 Mk7.5 GTD,manual, NavPro
Gone: 2014 Mk7 GTD, manual, NavPro, DCC