Because everyday driving matters most.
For decades, Germany's Nurburgring has become a haven for not only driving enthusiasts but also automakers anxious to put their latest vehicles through the paces on one of the world's most demanding courses. The Green Hell is an ideal place to fine-tune performance cars ranging from hot hatches like Volkswagen GTI to supercars such as the Lamborghini Aventador SVJ.
Despite everything it offers, the Ring still doesn't represent real-world driving, and the fact is a majority of drivers will never take their cars there or any other track. What matters most is how the vehicle feels on a daily basis on regular roads, and Volkswagen's technical chief Matthias Rabe firmly believes this.
Speaking to Autocar, Rabe made clear he thinks the Nurburgring's reputation is a bit of an exaggeration.
"It's not the Nurburgring itself, it's to sort the best balance on both the circuit and the nice country roads leading to it," he said. The ultimate goal for the all-new GTI, according to Rabe, was to design and engineer a car that's already "so good you're happy to drive home from the Nurburgring."
Given that VW invented the hot hatch segment back in 1975 when the first-gen model debuted, its engineers know a thing or two about chassis and suspension tuning. The just-revealed eighth-generation GTI continues this philosophy with even more dynamic tuning.
For example, VW's engineers put a strong emphasis on improving overall handling by developing a new driving dynamics control system, appropriately dubbed "Vehicle Dynamics Manager." It works by managing the XDS electronic locking differential and the adaptive damping. Power once again comes from a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder now totaling 245 horsepower and 273 lb-ft of torque - a 17 hp and 15 lb-ft improvement over its predecessor.
VW hasn't expressed an immediate desire to officially clock the new GTI's Ring time or make an attempt to beat the current record holder, the Renault Megane RS Trophy-R, which achieved a time of 7:40.1, thus beating the previous record holder, the Honda Civic Type R.