This year, the GTI comes with a new 2-liter turbocharged four-cylinder, this time producing 210 horsepower. The $1,495 Performance Package adds 10 horsepower, along with bigger brakes and a limited-slip differential. A six-speed manual is standard, but a six-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission is optional.
In addition to the Performance Package, all trim levels are available with Lighting Package -- xenon headlights and LED running lights -- and a Driver assistance Package with front and rear parking sensors and a forward collision warning system.
The entry level S trim comes standard with 18-inch alloy wheels, Bluetooth, heated front sport seats, Sirius satellite radio, iPod connectivity, LED fog lights and Volkswagen's Car-Net telematics system.
SE adds leather upholstery, backup camera, power sunroof, automatic wipers and headlights, keyless entry and a Fender premium audio system. Also available with the Performance Package are adaptive dampers.
The top-trim Autobahn, available only as a four-door, adds on automatic climate control system 12-way power driver's seat and satellite navigation.
The Performance Package transforms the car into a usefully sharper driving machine, so it's well-worth the price. Both of the other major packages are reasonably priced for what they offer, too. The SE includes a generous helping of equipment for around $30,000. Alternatively, you could spring for the Autobahn package and still end up with a car that's better equipped than a comparably priced upscale compact sedan, while being more fun to drive.
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