2024 Volkswagen Golf GTI 2.0T Autobahn: Review

We are now in the eighth generation of VW’s hatchback Golf. Introduced in 2022, the latest iteration looks incredibly sharp comes with a redesigned interior and a host of comfort and tech features. While you used to be able to spec a Golf in a more basic format, these days, it’s only available in GTI and R spec. Looking back at my last GTI review, it…kind of looks like exactly the same car. Back in February of last year, I drove a Kings Red GTI Autobahn, and that’s what they’ve sent on this round as well. This time we got a seven-speed DSG instead of the manual transmission. So, let’s see how that affects the experience, and if I’ve grown a bit more accustomed to the non-button buttons.

2024 Volkswagen Golf GTI Overview

The biggest update for the 2024 model year on the GTI is introducing the GTI 380 package. The package includes some trim-specific 19-inch gloss black wheels with summer tires, adaptive suspension dampers, plus a black roof and some gloss black side mirror caps. It’s only available for manual transmission GTI models, but you can spec it with S, SE, and Autobahn trim levels.

Pricing for our Autobahn tester starts at just over $40,500 with some red paint ringing in at $395. The only available interior choice on the Autobahn is the Titan Black leather, you have to go for the lower trims to get the cool plaid. As you can see below, you’re out the door at $41,850. Let’s get into some details on whether the GTI should be on your shopping list.

2024 Volkswagen Golf GTI 2.0T Autobahn Inside & Out

The GTI is a good-looking car. I love the subtle yet strong character lines that run the length of the car. It’s not overdone. It’s got a purposeful-looking front air dam and aggressive headlights up front, a tasteful rear spoiler, two decent-sized exhaust outlets, and some taillights out back. It’s all very premium-feeling. I find myself noticing the 8th-generation GTI out on the road.

The interior is comparable to last year’s Autobahn, though that one had a fantastic plaid interior. The leather seats in this model were comfortable and easy to adjust. The leather looks a little loose if I had to find a criticism. Like an aging Florida resident, things don’t look like they are where they should be, and that’s on a pretty new car. The overall ergonomics were solid, at least structurally. Kind of neat that the center console armrest can raise and lower.

I found a bit of a whistle when air passes over an open sunroof—that is, once I figured out how to open it! I like that the shade that covers it lets some sunlight through; it helps to make the GTI feel less cavernous. I suppose it would be annoying to get a sunburn on my head with the shade closed though.

On the tech side, it was quite easy to pair my phone to wireless CarPlay so I was connected and on the go quickly. Plus, the wireless charger is a good size and my phone actually managed to stay put on it, even during spirited driving maneuvers. I still can’t get my mind around the haptic feedback press and slide buttons. As I mentioned in other VW reviews, I’m sure owners get used to them after a while. It all feels unnecessary, so from a non-structural ergonomic perspective, it’s still a bit of a mess.

The GTI remains super practical; with all seats in place, you get nearly 20 cubic feet of cargo space. Drop the rear seats and it jumps up to 34.5 cubes. You’ll also find 35-inches of rear seat legroom as well. So, with very few fun hatchbacks on the market, if you’re looking for a practical four-door daily driver, the GTI ticks a lot of boxes.

2024 Volkswagen Golf GTI 2.0T Autobahn On the Road

This review is all about the driving experience, though. The DSG transmission remains one of the best in the business, and as much fun as the manual is, I’d have to seriously consider opting for it instead. I absolutely loved how the transmission will stay in whatever manual gear you put it in. Full stop. No, literally when you come to full stop. Even after you stop at a red light, it doesn’t revert to “D.” The custom drive mode is pretty solid as well; I could dial it in for what I want. Comfy suspension and a more aggressive exhaust note? Perfect. Plus, whenever I started the car again, it was still in my custom mode, so I didn’t have to change it every time I drove.

The steering wheel is a treat to use, nice and chunky, and a good size overall. The GTI feels fast. Sixty mph arrives in under six seconds, but it feels even faster. The front-wheel-drive chassis is so dialed in that I rarely got the GTI into a situation where it didn’t feel composed. So, whether you are on the daily slog in stop and go traffic, out on a long highway cruise, or enjoying your favorite back road, it does it all so well.


Man, that interface though. I get a lot of questions about what car to buy, and the GTI comes up a lot. It’s a very attractive option, even the top spec Autobahn feels every bit worth it’s $40K starting price. I always ask people to spend some time on the test drive making sure they can get used to the various slidey “buttons” and other haptic feedback interactions. I have to imagine most people do, but just like the last go-around in the GTI, I had a hard time with it.

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