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2021 Volkswagen Golf GTD Shows TDI Performance on the Autobahn, Sounds Rough

Volkswagen just launched perhaps the best diesel-powered hot hatch ever, the 2021 Golf GTD. It might run on the wrong kind of fuel according to some, but there's no denying that it's pretty fast.
2021 Volkswagen Golf GTD Shows TDI Performance on the Autobahn, Sounds Rough 15 photos
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The German brand isn't alone in developing a performance diesel hatchback. Opel, Renault, Mercedes, BMW, Peugeot - they all have/had such a car, producing roughly 180 horsepower from a 2.0-liter four-cylinder with a big turbo. But at the moment, the Ford Focus ST is the only true rival to the GTD, and it has less power.

This latest 2.0 TDI engine probably cost Volkswagen and Audi a lot of money to develop. It powers a variety of cars and complies with the latest European emissions regulations by having twin injection of AdBlue into the exhaust system, among other features.

In terms of power, this makes 197 hp, so exactly the same as a Golf 5 GTI and 45 hp less than the new GTI. Torque, on the other hand, is rated at an ample 295 pound-feet (420 Nm), about the same as some V6 mid-size sedans in America. But the way in which these numbers are delivered is what sets the GTD apart.

The torque comes in from low revs while the power is only available in a narrow band. This means the DSG gearbox is always hunting for gears while revving it hard isn't as enjoyable as with a normal hot hatch. In the sound department, the experience from outside is pretty rattly while the interior offers artificially composed engine noises.

German tester Automann-TV subjected the car to his usual barrage of acceleration trails. He noted that while the GTD could only reach 62 mph (100 km/h) in about 7.7 seconds, this is because of the sub-optimal traction provided by winter tires on 19-inch wheels. Volkswagen claims the diesel Golf will actually reach that speed in 7.1 seconds.

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