A game of european hot hatchery
So the other day, I was having a serious sit-down with a few friends because one of em' wanted to buy a hot hatch. It wasn't a question of why - because why not - but one of, which to buy? Someone chirped in a flat, "That's an easy one, the Volkswagen Golf GTI."
The GTI is unquestionably a sensible choice but I remembered there's now a new player in the game - the new Alfa Romeo Giulietta 1.8 Quadrifoglio Verde (QV). While the GTI may be the indisputable choice, let's not limit ourselves. The QV, quite unlike the GTI makes an interesting choice, don't you think?
Should us hot hatch lovers opt for a route of normalcy and go with the GTI? Or, go down the beaten track and take a chance with the QV? And though performance is a major comparison factor when it comes to buying a hot hatch, here are some other factors to consider.
We have to enjoy staring.
There's a saying, which goes, "If you don't do a double take after you've parked, you've bought the wrong car."
Alfa is known as a creator of beautiful cars and the QV is no exception. The QV's quirky face, curvaceous body and striking shoulder lines are a visual joy compared to the GTI's blander design. Plus, the Italian marque's signature rims and eye-catching Brembo brakes scores more points for boy racery. It's no surprise that each time I parked the QV, I couldn't help but turn back for a second glimpse.
However, the GTI is nothing short of handsome. The GTI's clean, sharp and modern
lines are easy on our eyes and for the most part, won't lose its charm even against
the test of time.
We've got to enjoy life on the inside.
Here, the QV's dated and cheaper-to-touch cabin isn't as satisfactory once you've sat inside the GTI.
Don't get us wrong, though, the design of the QV's cabin is pleasant and like its exterior design, more 'emotional' compared to the GTI thanks to fancy suede seats and a dash clustre, which says Benzina and Acqua instead of Petrol and Water Temperature.
In the cabin of GTI, it's a similarly blander situation but you enjoy more creature comforts like more space, engine push-to-start, a navigation system, and electric driver's seat.
You also are more at ease inside the GTI. Every control is angled precisely and comfortably towards the driver and everything is right where it's required to be. Clearly, the Germans are way ahead in the game of ergonomics. The infotainment system in the GTI also, is more intuitive and modern - by miles.
Because hot hatches are cars, which should be driven on a daily basis, they've got
to be as practical as they are fun. In this respect, the GTI's 380-litre trunk also
trumps the QV's 350 litres.
But which is a nicer drive?
What the QV lacks in practicality and modernity, it makes up for in horsepower - 237 strong Italian ponies and 340Nm of twisting force to be exact.
In comparison, the GTI packs just 217 German ponies but more torque, rated at 350Nm. While the two cars employ six-cog, dual-clutch autos, the GTI's DSG is the quicker and nicer-tuned unit, and this potent powertrain pairing makes it the slightly quicker car, launching from stop to a hundred in 6.5 seconds - 0.1 seconds faster than its Italian rival.
And because turbo lag in the QV is so perceptible, extracting its power means having to maintain the revs about 3,000rpm. Under that, the car is lethargic.
This isn't a problem in the GTI because its power is spread nicely throughout the powerband. Even in corners, the GTI gives you the confidence to push hard despite the QV having a weightier helm and more planted ride. The GTI is nimble, ready-to-rock and shines on any favoured back-road.
The QV, however, provides more aural delight when you mash the right pedal, thanks
to louder air intake suction noises and a baritone exhaust note.
It may not be the most engaging of hot hatches or the prettiest but…
After seven iterations, it's clear that benchmarking the hot hatch segment continues to be the German manufacturer's forte. As we mentioned earlier, a hot hatch should be a car you'd drive everyday - reasonably fun, practical, usable and comfortable enough.
The GTI embodies such qualities thoroughly and despite its higher price ($174,400 as of 6th October 2016 versus the QV's $149,800 as of 5th October 2016), you're easily seizing your money's worth.
If we could own multiple cars in our non existent garage, sure, the QV would be a fine acquisition but to have just one for the next decade, in a logical victory for the left side of the brain, the GTI takes the cake. After all, I enjoyed the GTI so much, I went and got myself one.
Read the original article here.
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