VOLKSWAGEN'S hottest Golf to date in the new MkV range has just hit the streets - and it's pretty impressive.
The new two-litre FSI is no GTi - that comes in January - but it does carry the GT title and deservedly so.
When the range was launched earlier this year, only the 1.4-litre and 1.6-litre were available in the FSI range but the trio is now complete.
The latest edition, while having no spoilers or body kit to make it stand out from its siblings, does have sports suspension - it's lowered by 15mm - sports seats and a three spoke leather steering wheel.
It also comes with a six-speed gearbox - and that makes it a very lively car indeed, although somewhat surprisingly the letters GT do not appear on the bodywork, just FSI.
But while this new model does deliver in the performance stakes - it has a 0-62 mph time of less than nine seconds - it is surprisingly frugal, like all the FSI models.
FSI technology means that fuel is directly injected into the cylinder, dramatically improving efficiency. And just as the same principal massively boosted fuel consumption in the diesel models with the TDI engines, so the FSI engine has dramatically boosted fuel consumption in VW's petrol engines.
In fact I was regularly averaging 37mpg and with careful driving 42mpg even around town. In many ways the two-litre FSI offers an ideal trade off between performance, economy and refinement.
For this particular Golf is distinctly quiet and very easy to live with. Engine apart, this is partly due to the fact that the new model is some 80 per cent stiffer than the previous generation of Golfs making it far more refined.
The new Golf has, as one would expect, improved on the qualities of the car it replaced while at the same time addressing the areas that had come in for criticism.
One of those areas was the lack of rear leg and head room, which has been dramatically boosted thanks to the step-up in size of the car. The Mk V is wider, longer and taller than the Mk IV and now passengers sitting in the rear will find they can comfortably stretch out their legs.
VW has also taken a number of features from its flagship Phaeton model and grafted them onto the Golf. Put the Golf into reverse, for example, and the air conditioning system goes into recycling mode so you don't suck up fumes from the exhaust as you go backwards.
As a GT model the two-litre FSI gets twin zone electronic climate control as compared to semi-automatic air conditioning on SE models. Other "extras" over the SE models include body-coloured bumpers, a multi-function computer and 16 inch Imola alloy wheels with 205/55 tyres.
All in all, the two-litre FSI is an impressive package. Power, performance, economy and refinement - what more could you ask for in a Golf?
Volkswagen Golf 2.0 FSI GT 3dr
Mechanical: 150bhp, 1,984cc, 4cyl petrol engine driving front wheels via 6-spd manual gearbox
Max speed: 128mph
0-62mph: 8.9 secs
Combined mpg: 38.2
Insurance group: 13
CO2 emissions: 178g/km
BiK rating: 21%
Warranty: 3yrs/ 60,000 miles; 3yrs paint; 12yrs anti-rust