The Wheel Deal

Fixing you up with life in the fast lane.
Posted: July 22nd, 2009 | By Thomas Falkiner


With subtle good looks and storming performance, the 1.4TSI Highline is all the Golf you’ll ever need, writes The Wheel Deal.

The new Golf VI GTI is an absolute pearler. Seriously, as hot hatchbacks go there’s nothing out there that can currently eclipse its grownup fusing of power, poise and straight-line fury. It’s the daddy of its class but, and I’ll let you in on a secret here, you don’t actually need one. And that’s because for about 44k less you can bag yourself the 1.4TSI Highline that, thanks to its clever twincharger trickery, leaves more or less the same smile on your face.

For although it might look like a sensible German runabout from the outside, beneath that sculpted bonnet lurks a lump capable of punching way above its diminutive weight. Kitted out with both a turbo and a supercharger, it makes this Golf’s performance so amazingly brisk that you’ll easily able to leave machines with much larger engines trailing in your humbling exhaust wake. Deliciously smooth and lag-free right up to, or even beyond the red paint on the tachometer – our test unit happily spun up to 6500rpm – the 1.4TSI reacts immediately to hard stomps on the loud pedal, which encourages you to open the taps whenever there’s a gap in the traffic. And when you do you’re treated to a 0-100km/h-sprint time of 8.6 seconds (8 flat down at sea level) and a sexy, muted wastegate hiss as you romp your way through that slick-shifting six-speed manual gearbox. This aural character adds to the overall spice to the package and actually makes the 1.4TSI considerably more entertaining to pilot than some of the frumpy GTIs of old. Fuel economy is good too and when you’re not racing around like Sebastian Vettel the Golf will return pretty reasonable fuel economy figures. VW quotes 6.3l/100km but in reality the best I could achieve was about seven. Now being geared for everyday comfort rather than true track-day performance, the 1.4TSI rides incredibly well and absorbs the worst ruts and bumps better than most of the other cars we’ve driven this year. Awesome around town or when thrusting along pitted back roads, this suppleness does somewhat hamper on-the-limit driving and the 1.4TSI begins to lose interest where the current GTI just starts to dig in and enjoy itself. Still, for a refined family hatch with five doors and a huge boot, its dynamics are plenty good enough.

Benefitting from Highline spec the 1.4TSI spoils you on the inside too with ticked as standard equipment. The deal also bolts a superb set of sports seats in the front that, clad in black alacantara, do a fantastic job at hugging your frame through the more challenging of bends. And while costly add-ons like the R28 290 satellite navigation system are available and indeed tempting, they send this Golf’s price tag hurtling to the scary side of the R300 000 – an exercise that kind defeats the point of buying this particular model in the first place. So keep it standard, keep it simple and the 1.4TSI Highline will reward your pocket with a great big wodge of spritely, recession-beating performance. GTIs? Pah, who needs them…

Volkswagen Golf 1.4TSI Highline Fast Facts:

Engine: 1390cc, twincharged four-cylinder
Power: 118kW at 5800rpm
Torque: 240Nm from 1500 – 4500rpm
0-100km/h: 8.6 seconds (achieved)
Top Speed: 220km/h (claimed)
Fuel Consumption: 6.3l/100km (claimed combined)
Price: From R272 900

Volkswagen Golf 1.4TSI Highline Dynolicious Test Results:


Location: Hartebeespoort Drag Strip

Conditions: Clear and cool

0-40 km/h: 2. 62 seconds

0-60 km/h: 4. 28 seconds

0-80 km/h: 6. 05 seconds

0-100 km/h: 8. 60 seconds

0-120 km/h: 11. 24 seconds

0-140 km/h: 14. 50 seconds

1/4 Mile Sprint: 16. 06 seconds @ 147. 3 km/h


Handsome looks should make the Golf 1.4TSI Highline appeal to a wide range of customers. 17-inch Porto alloy wheels fill those arches nicely and bestow a useful amount of grip.


A low, purposeful stance gives the 1.4TSI an air of quiet sportiness.


The new Golf VI interior fits like a glove, is beautifully constructed and comes equipped with a generous amount of equipment. That R1 100 multi-function steering wheel should be standard though.


The twincharged 118kW 1.4TSI (2009 International Engine of the Year) provides entertaining performance and impressive fuel economy.




João Prates

August 8, 2009 at 4:08 pm

The results for Engine of the Year Awards 2009 should be subjected to severe auditing from independent sources.

I will only name 1 category where the results are simply outrageous to an extent far beyond comprehension: The Green Engine award.

The jury had several cars to choose from, and two nominees were the VW TSI and the new Prius 3G (3rd generation).


The VW with 174 hp, 6.2 L/100 km and 144 g/km CO2;
The Toyota with 136 hp, 3.9 L/100 km and 89 g/km CO2

The jury says the car which has:

30% horsepower, 63% more fuel consumption, 62% more CO2 emissions

is the greenest car… yeah… right… is this for real!?!?!

The general public demands a general inquiry to this Jury votes right now!

This is a shameful representation of how strong lobbies can go.
I feel sick to the stomach reading this year’s awards.

Shame on the jury!

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