2019 Volkswagen Golf GTI First Drive: Breeding Like Rabbits
In the never-ending quest to continually improve the Golf GTI, Volkswagen is blessing its hot hatch with a limited-run Rabbit Edition model, more power, and a new dual-clutch automatic transmission for 2019.
Armed with trim-specific 18-inch black wheels, black mirror caps, a black spoiler, red-stitched floor mats, and requisite rabbit badges on the seats and tailgate, the $28,895 Rabbit Edition is primarily an appearance package. Still, the extra $1,300 that Volkswagen charges for the model over the entry-level GTI S also nets buyers safety and convenience kit such as a forward-collision warning system with low-speed automatic front braking, and a blind-spot monitoring system with rear-cross-traffic alert (items available on the base GTI as part of a $450 option), as well as a proximity key with push-button start and adaptive LED headlights from the $31,795 GTI SE.
The Rabbit Edition, however, is only the tip of the 2019 GTI iceberg, which now includes an extra eight horses in its turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine’s stable. With 228 horsepower, the GTI now packs as much punch as the Mini John Cooper Works models.
Making the most of the GTI’s newfound ponies is an available seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. (Don’t worry, a six-speed manual still comes standard.) The $1,100 gearbox replaces last year’s six-speed unit, and its noticeably...