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  • Golf GTI vs BMWs E90 320i

    SECOND OPINION: The golf is simply pure joy on wheels

    May 28:

    TO be honest, I was quite surprised when asked to do a shoot-out between a Golf GTI and BMWs latest 3-Series, the E90 320i.
    Heck, a Golf even in the GTI guise is still a hatchback while the 3-Series is the supreme leader in the sports sedan world. The formers actual competition with the BMW is the 1-Series, but our pricing regulations mean that the GTI is clawing on the realm of the 3-Series, Audi A4 and the Mercedes C-Class.

    My initial apprehension, however, was somewhat appeased when I was given the keys to the GTI, not your normal run-of-the-mill VW Golf, but Wald-tuned GTI, a firebreathing would-be 3-Series slayer courtesy of Japanese tuner, Wald.

    Even after driving both, I still feel its a miss-match. Notwithstanding the outcome, the comparison clearly shows the high regard for the 3-Series in general, even a standard 320i. Would someone ask me to compare the Wald with a factory-stock C-Class?

    Heres the skinny of the shoot-out. After a day with the GTI, the 320i seemed pedestrian. Thats not to say that the 320i is a slouch. With 150 ponies in its four-cylinder engine, the car is a fast and comfortable street cruiser.

    But it lacks the joy factor, which is seemingly abundant in the other cars 200bhp turbo-charged engine, DSG gearbox, 18-inch wheels, 0 to 100kmph in under seven seconds, flat bottom steering wheel... Well, the list goes on.

    Put the gear lever into the manual mode (it is a six-speed direct shift gearbox or DSG in VW-speak), the GTI is able to generate an unseemingly degree of power to its front wheel.

    F1-style gear knobs on the steering wheel also enhances the joy and there seems to be no jerkiness, which appears to be the norm with similar system fixed on other cars.

    Ergonomics-wise, both cars are on par but on build quality, I rate the GTI higher as it has been longer in the market, and all the production gremlins have been sorted out.

    I cannot fault both cars on their handling as both take corners as if they are on rails.

    Perhaps the thing that the 320i seems to better the GTI is in the cabin size. It seats five comfortably although I must add here the front seats on the BMW seem a bit small.

    In conclusion, I dare say that the GTI gives the 320i a run for its money, especially in its fun factor. But for those choosing the 320i above the GTI, I cannot find fault with them despite its relatively higher price - the BMW is a good car.

    But Id always tell others that if they want a Beemer, get the biggest engine in the range. Only then they will appreciate BMWs superb chassis and handling prowess. For the 3-Series, a 330i will do you no wrong, unless you can afford the upcoming E90 M3!

  • #2
    SHOOTOUT: Tale of two icons
    Sharif Haron

    May 28:

    THE BMW 3-Series and VW Golf GTI are both motoring legends. The former has for long been the benchmark in its segment that other car makers always try to match, while the GTI has gone down as one of the most evocative set of initials in the automotive industry.
    And in Malaysia, the new 3-Series (320i, 325i and 330i) and latest Golf GTI 2.0 were launched about the same time last month. So when it was suggested that we try side by side a 320i and a Wald-tuned GTI as they have more or less same engine displacement, fair or unfair it sounded an exciting proposition.

    The new 3-Series, just as its predecessors, is the most important product to BMW. As the 3-Series accounts for more than half of the manufacturers total sales, the styling of the new car has been kept sensible, not as radical as some models we have seen coming from the Bavarian firm in recent times.

    But theres definitely more cabin space in this one than in its predecessor. It also comes with BMWs latest innovations that include new engines. I would say the new 3-Series is more mature, more luxurious and better built.

    The Mark V Golf GTI is an important car too for Volkswagen. Officials had reportedly admitted that the company had taken its eye off the ball in the last few generations of GTI, so it was determined to restore lost credibility and to come up with a genuine hot hatch.

    And so the new GTI comes with a turbocharged petrol engine that produces some 200bhp, and 280Nm of torque from a diesel-like 1,800rpm, as well as a claimed 0-100kmph acceleration in 6.9 seconds.

    And the 320i versus the GTI?

    Of course the 320i and GTI are two different animals. One is a saloon, the other a hatchback. While there are similarities in some departments, in most cases similar they definitely are not.

    After using them for 24 hours each, I find the BMW to have a higher luxurious feel to it. And also by virtue of its bigger cabin space (or at least it feels more spacious) and extremely smooth ride, the passengers tend to be more comfortable inside it.

    But those who are not familiar with products from the marque will need time to understand the car and its workings to get the best out of it. In other words, from the drivers perspective, I rate the GTI as friendlier.

    I must also say that, based on my last experience with a 2-litre Beemer, I hope the sample car made available to us had not been set up to BMWs finest standards: I had a higher expectation of its handling and performance.

    The GTI meanwhile lunges foward like, to borrow a cliche, an athlete off the starting block as you floor the accelerator pedal. Its more fun to drive and I appreciate its acceleration, thanks to its 150bhp per tonne or thereabouts power-to-weight ratio, which also means its the most powerful Golf GTI to date. If the 320i can make the passengers smile, the GTI can make them scream.

    Both cars tackle bends extremely well. But knowing that the tested GTI came with 18-inch alloys and 225/40 R18 tyres gave me that extra confidence psychologically when taking corners.

    While I have a lot more to rattle about the two German machines, this article is not exactly intended to be a comprehensive shoot-out between the two. But more on the distinct elements or peculiarities that distingiush one from the other.

    And among the two, one is about grace and the other ruthlessness, to put it in the most simplistic manner.

    The 3-Series easily has a wider market appeal and will continue to be at the top of the sales charts in its class. It represents an excellent choice for company executives or for the family. In fact, the 3-Series is selling so well here it has become mainstream, no longer exclusive.

    The Golf GTI meanwhile is more of a niche car for certain and rather limited market segment. It is not for your normal family use. It is not for the car enthusiasts either, but for the serious car enthusiasts.

    * BMW 320i

    Engine capacity: 1,995cc

    Max power: 150bhp @ 6200rpm

    Max torque: 200Nm @ 3,600rpm

    Transmission: 6-speed manual or 6-speed Steptronic

    OTR Price: RM268,800

    * VW GOLF GTI 2.0

    Engine capacity: 1,984 cc

    Max output: 200bhp @ 5,100rpm

    Max torque: 280Nm @ 1,800rpm

    Transmission: Six-speed automatic transmission (double clutch gearbox) DSG

    OTR Price: RM241,160


    • #3
      One is a HOT is a SALOON.....can compare argh?

      I was "lectured" at length by my brother who works for BMW Oz on this.....after I raved abt the Golf's power vs the E90...and I have to agree, he is right that we are comparing the wrong category of cars here....

      MCS and Golf GTi is more appropriate...
      Talk is cheap and the bull shit stops when we line up at the grid......Jules


      • #4
        The Golf was also compared against the 120i too.
        Go topless


        • #5
          only msians will compare these 2 cars together lah..see price range, not catergories..duh!


          • #6
            i agree with fuhrer..

            engine wise, how do you compare a turbo and a non although the same displacement...

            i read somewhere (i may be wrong) that a turbo-ed engine is 1.3 times or was it 1.7 times the displacement of the engine.

            i think the Golf GTi is a nice car but not in red....

            E34 V12 - 850i M70 | Haltech PS2000 | Grigio Medio | AC Schnitzer S5 body | DPE S-10 20X9.5 20X10.5 | 540i brakes | custom interior


            • #7
              Originally posted by Fuhrer@May 29 2005, 12:41 PM
              only msians will compare these 2 cars together lah..see price range, not catergories..duh!
              Yup... strange! But, is the Golf GTi being over-priced here?


              • #8
                Originally posted by Juan Powerblow@May 30 2005, 09:28 PM
                Yup... strange! But, is the Golf GTi being over-priced here?
                I find it funny that you ask that kind of question. I believe everybody in here is well aware that even Proton is OVERPRICE!!

                I havent had any chances to view the new Golf GTi in real world, would love to do so sometime later. But will still pick BMW 320 (or 325) if got the money. Once BMWed always BMW

                My Blog | Netsurfing | My FreeBSD Life | My Magazine Review


                • #9
                  Totally agree with Tom and Fuhrer. Simply CANNOT compare the GTI with 320i. Both are totally different creatures. If wanna compare,better compare 120i with the GTI. A closer comparison but still........ :huh:
                  E36 318i (no longer in garage...)
                  E30 320i
                  E46 320CI (no longer in garage...)
                  E93 330I


                  • #10
                    Why cannot compare leh?

                    Sure, there are many differences between the 2- ie. NA vs. FI, hatch vs. saloon, for example, but to the potential car buyer, there are many similarities between the two that bear comparison. Like;

                    1. Price (always an issue, that);
                    2. Both are "premium" german brands;
                    3. Both are 2 litre engines;
                    4. Both have (at least) 4 doors, and seat 4/5;
                    5. Both manufacturers make sporting claims about either model.

                    So what's there NOT to compare.

                    And in a comparison, the e90 320i does pale...

                    Anyone considering an e90 320i should definitely consider a GTi, it's a much better car.


                    • #11
                      For once I may carry Necessary's ballz.

                      Its not Golf GTI's fault that the E90 or even the 120i is pathetic in comparison. Comparing both cars to the Golf GTI yields similar result, the GTi is a much better car, specification and driving wise.

                      Golf GTi has always been an icon in the hot hatch market, I am afraid the 120i is of no match in this category.

                      Words of Wisdom by Confucious..

                      Virgin just like balloon ... one prick, all gone.
                      Man with tool in woman mouth May not necessarily be dentist.
                      Couple on 7-day honeymoon make hole weak.
                      Schoolboy who play with schoolgirl during wrong period, get caught red-handed.
                      Man who go to bed with hard problem wake up with solution in hand.
                      Nail on board is not good as screw on bench.
                      Too much analysis causes paralysis...


                      • #12
                        :huh: Ok ok. Before this discussion get out of hand, I think I did mentioned that the two cars cannot be compared together but I didnt say WHICH car is superior(in whatever aspect). Correct me if I am wrong but I dont think BMW is into the performance hot hatch/boy racer market yet. Just dont compare apple with orange lar.
                        E36 318i (no longer in garage...)
                        E30 320i
                        E46 320CI (no longer in garage...)
                        E93 330I


                        • #13
                          It is hot! Can view it at any Wald dealers.

                          ~ Life starts from 200km/h

                          Past: E36, E34, E46, E39, E60, E92, F10.
                          Current: Benz


                          • #14
                            Yar, so mine and Albundy's (hence forth known as "The Necessary's Ball Carrier Boy No. 1) point is that they CAN be compared, yo.

                            You would call the Mk.5 Golf GTi a boy racer's car? Have you driven or sat in one? You gotta be kidding. The GTi exhibits refinement and build quality above and beyond any 3 series or 1 series!

                            What would you call the upcoming 130i? A non performance hatch?

                            Hello... "Sheer driving pleasure", "The Ultimate Driving Machine",.... I don't think BMW are selling their cars to OAP sunday drivers, yo?


                            • #15
                              Aiyo. Oklar. Oklar. You win lar. Compare whatever you want.

                              Just dont go ballistic on me bro. Cool down lar. Dont be like that ler. You having a bad day ah??
                              E36 318i (no longer in garage...)
                              E30 320i
                              E46 320CI (no longer in garage...)
                              E93 330I


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