The 2016 Volkswagen GTI was the last two-door GTI sold in America. Its balance of power and comfort make this Mk7 GTI an ideal all-around car in any driving situation.
The driver and car
Rob GTI of New York, N.Y. drives a 2016 Volkswagen GTI S. It’s based on the Mk 7 Golf and was the last two-door GTI you could get in the U.S. Its 2.0-liter turbocharged four cylinder engine is rated at 216 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. The power is sent to the front wheels via a 6-speed manual transmission. Rob put 57,000 miles on the clock in three short years.
No factory options.
Rob hasn’t done his usual custom work on this hatchback. He needs it as a daily driver and doesn’t want to void the extensive warranty. This is his first-ever car to be left mostly stock.
Rob did add OEM VW blue-tinted split/aspherical side-view mirrors from the European models. He calls this a “must-do mod.” It gives a wider view and the tint reduces the glare from headlights behind you. He also dropped in a K&N air filter.
Rob GTI’s Volkswagen GTI story
“It’s the last two-door GTI in America. And that was make-or-break for me because this was going to be my last Volkswagen GTI that I buy brand new over here. I wouldn’t buy a four-door. And with the re-introduction of the Reflex Silver, I had to get it.
“Every GTI I’ve ever owned has been the most comfortable car I’ve been in.
“The one thing about Volkswagen is the torque. It’s perfectly balanced. The acceleration is there when you need it. It’s always going to do what you want it to do; it’s very predictable.
“A Volkswagen GTI says a lot about a person. There’s a sense of unity; it’s just enough of a specialty car to be cool but subtle enough to be unnoticeable.”
“We had a pretty bad snowstorm when the car was new. I drove 50 miles from Manhattan to Deer Park, where I work, in massive amounts of snow. 6-8 inches of snow and I was the only car on the highway. It’s a clear memory of cruising along not worrying at all about losing control or anything.
“One of my favorite things to do was drive early in the morning to work in huge snowstorms. I’d get to work and the owner of the store would tell me, ‘What are you doing? Close the store and go home.’ And I drove back 50 miles.”
Rob GTI’s previous vehicles
“I had my first car, an 1989 Honda Accord LXi, which got stolen. Then I bought a 1997 Volkswagen GTI 2.0. I had about 160,000 miles on that. Then it was my baby, my 2001 VR6 GTI. I did about 160,000 miles on that car too. I had it for 10 years. Then the 2007 2.5 VW Rabbit. After the Rabbit was my 2011 2.0 GTI.
“I had a 1979 Rabbit L back in 2003 I think, but I never got to drive it. ’79 Rabbit, unknown mileage. We rebuilt the engine and took one of the pistons and used it as my shift knob. It was so cool.It’s always going to do what you want it to do; it’s very predictable
“My first Volkswagen GTI was a Mk3, the ’97. Then it was a Mk4. Next came a Mk5. Then it was a Mk6. And now a Mk7. Oh, and there was the Mk1. I never had the Mk2. That’s the only one I didn’t have.
“I had two different professors in college that called me Rob GTI. It wasn’t just my friends. That shows you how serious it was.”