Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Das Auto- The Golf GTI Test Drive

I'm NOT a car enthusiast. Never was. Then I had viral fever for 5 days and I woke up one morning with an urgency to trade in my champagne Latio for a Volkswagen Beetle. Must be VW virus.

Beetle has been my dream. Not a serious dream. I was always flirting with the fantasy of owning one someday. Ah, me and my Beetle.

So, the VW virus hit me. I was serious now. The husband whisked me off to F A Wagen at Danga Bay for a Beetle test drive. And test drive I did. When I got into the car, I could see my reflection in the glass shopfront and it made me smile. Hubbie next to me, Daniel sitting behind quietly most of the time and the VW rep doing his sales talk. Then we drove off, no more reflection or mirrors to admire myself in a Beetle. Oh bummer.

One thing's for sure, the car feels heavy. The steering wheel feels heavier. SOLID. Other than that, it drives like a regular car. In fact my Latio felt lighter and easier to manoeuvre around town. All I remember is just feeling high from the fact that I was driving a Beetle. Of course, the 'high' will eventually fade off. And I'll be left with a powerless car for the next few years at least. My conclusion is, Beetle is a cosmetic car. I want to look at it more than I want to drive one. Wouldn't make sense if I spend so much time on the road wouldn't it. Sigh......strike.

Then I got really serious. I strolled over to the new Golf GTI in the small 3-car showroom. I gingerly brushed my fingers along the sides of the body and boy it feels serious. SERIOUS FUN. The specs are impeccable. Not that I understood them. Automotive terminology is beyond me. "140 PS 200Nm", "peak torque from a very low rev range – 240Nm is sustained between 1,750rpm to 4,500rpm, with torque dropping to 200Nm between 4,500rpm to 6,000rpm" WHAT THE HELL ARE THOSE? The only thing I could relate to was "0-100km/h in 6.9 seconds". Still, I don't see that as crucial. I care about the little things that make life easier in a car. The general drivability, visibility, the reachable knobs and turns, the compartments, the practical things, you know. And yeah yeah, maybe occasionally I'd feel feisty on the second link, the 0-100km/h in 6.9s sprint would be lovely. I'd have the turbo power when I want it. OH. SO. NAUGHTY AND NICE.

"How much?"


I flew out of the showroom and was never seen again. *imagined*

HOW CAN?! Way out of my budget. I will NEVER spend that kind of money for sprinting. My kids will have to live on tap water and weeds. No way.

And then the hubbie says that there is a pre-owned GTI for sale, at the used cars lot just further down the road, and that we should go for a test drive. I don't know who was more excited, me or him.

Fast-forward to Monday evening after dinner, we waited with bated breath. Daniel joined in the excitement as well. All buckled up, the hubbie drove first. As we exit the second link toll, I placed my palm on Daniel's chest as a get-ready gesture. True enough, the hubbie stepped on it and gave us the shove-into-the-seat-and-pick-up acceleration thrill. Macam roket turbo.
My heart skipped a beat, as if I was on a roller coster, I'm chickenshit like that.

It was surprisingly quiet, even with the turbo, super charger and everything working its magic. There was no rugged-ahbengness loud bangs and jolts which would put me off. It was gentle yet I felt its unassuming power, even from the backseat. Ahhh... now we're talking. It's going to be a family car as well. Not only does the driver gets to enjoy the car, backseaters should enjoy the ride equally. Daniel thought it wasn't that bumpy, but I did. Almost as bumpy as the Latio. And the backseat is not soft like a regular family sedan. It's not something you would want to curl up in, that's for sure. Those were minus points for me.

Then came my turn to drive the bitch. How should I say this. It was.... effortless. Like if I step on my Latio the usual way, it moves right? But this baby moves like 100x faster! It's like Hot Wheels vs pasar malam toy car. I enjoyed driving the GTI immensely. After 15 years of Proton and Japanese cars, for the first time, I felt the European's power to awe. Volkswagen, you had me at 150km/h. Effortless, quiet and breathtaking.

The exhilaration left me tired after that! Gosh, I'm getting too old for this sort of excitement! Maybe the GTI is a bit too advanced for me. And RM160K for a pre-owned (pre-tekan-kao-kao-ed, pre-abused, pre-pushed-to-the-max) car is a bit too steep. I entered the $$$ dimension in my mind and it was scary to think about the heavy monthly commitments I will have to bear. Will it be the worth it? What if the unseen parts inside are leaking and worn out?! I'm not paying for trash!

Lo and behold. The hubbie had a better idea. An advice from a GTI owner friend of his actually. With the same amount of moolah, I should get the new Golf 1.4 TSI. Same body, powered by 160PS TSI twincharged engine and 7-speed direct shift gearbox DSG. Now what's all this shit car jargon. Car experts, look away.

160 PS refers to the horsepower, historically used to compare the output of steam engines with the power of draft horses. The GTI gives you about 200 horsepower.
DSG=Double-clutch engine that allows for virtually seamless gear changing.

I think that was the gist. Although it's a 1.4 liter (lower road tax yay!), it's got power that puts the >2.0 liters to shame! Nee ner nee ner neee ner.

Back to the test-drive. I drove the baby back to the lot. I was still exhilarated. Panas! Then the hubbie and the sales rep talked for a bit, inspected the GTI' exterior by walking around it 50 times bla bla bla. I had enough for the night. Daniel too. I don't know if it's just Daniel, but kids are so innocent and funny!

Me: So, is the car powerful?

D: Yah.

Me: *smiles* You like?

D: *nods*

Me: You like the car?

D: *nods*

Me: Why?

D: Because behind got aircon. ( he was referring to the extra air conditioning vent that blows the backseat passengers )


After saying our thank-yous and goodnights, we drove home in my masak-masak Latio. I didn't feel like I was in a car. It felt like... an elevator.

I dunno man. A lot to think about after dehydration from drooling. Have you ever heard me rave about cars before? I'm impressed, that's all I can say.

Update: Ordered the new Golf 1.4 TSI. *gulp*


Anonymous said...

It was a good buy, 1.4 Golf TSI DSG with 160hp are selling for SGD125k in Singapore, that is more than RM290k compare to RM149k u paid if you bought the one without Xenon Light and Sound Package. Congratulations!

Ally said...

Thank you! Can't wait to drive it!

Anonymous said...

Happy New Year 2011. How's your new Golf doing so far? Is it performing well and run with low fuel consumption? Thinking to get one as well....:-)