What is it?
Having already sampled the latest Volkswagen Golf GTI in its ‘standard’ format, we move onto the Performance version, which has also been updated as part of the Golf's wider facelift. The meat of the upgrade, as with its sibling, is a power increase: the output of the same 2.0-litre TSI petrol engine increases from 227bhp to a slightly more respectable 242bhp.
The moderately larger figure is a welcome feature, as is the 15lb ft of extra torque made available between 1600 and 4300rpm. Worthy though it was, the word Performance had started to look like a misnomer when attached to the previous GTI, a car outperformed in a straight line by virtually every direct rival (including some from the VW Group itself), while it was also thoroughly overshadowed by the punchier Golf R.
Volkswagen’s decision to introduce a run-out, limited edition Clubsport Edition model last year with 261bhp only served to underline the power deficit. While opting not to equal that car’s output (and risk upsetting its premium-paying customers) the latest model’s extra grunt does at least serve to marginally drop the GTI’s 0-62mph time to 6.2sec – making encounters with fast superminis less trying for Golf owners.
Somewhat surprisingly, the manufacturer quotes that same figure for both the six-speed manual and the DSG automatic gearboxes; the latter differentiated from the previous version by the introduction of a more parsimonious seventh ratio. As before, the Performance version also benefits from the electronic locking front differential and larger brakes, as well as a smattering of extra equipment, including the Composition Media system, rain sensor and mobile phone interface.