The Volkswagen Golf GTI was one of the first “hot hatchback” cars way back in the ’80s, when it was known in America as the Rabbit. Now in its 8th generation, the Golf GTI has been massaged and polished into a gem of a car that now features a turbocharged 2.0 liter engine that enthusiasts would have killed for back when the GTI was first created. But how does it fare against the Chevy Bolt, GM’s first mass-produced all electric car (not counting the ill-fated EV1 and Chevy Spark EV compliance car, of course)?
The Fast Lane Car pitted the two against each other on a straight section of road to find out. No fancy drag strip with electronic timing and Christmas tree starting lights. No one foot rollout. Nothing except some straight asphalt with a few potholes, two cars, two drivers, and a few cameras.
The Golf GTI is able to scoot to 60 mph in about 6 seconds. The Chevy Bolt is maybe an eyelash slower. But the variable in all acceleration contests is the driver. It’s the age-old conundrum that has made 4,657 “Tesla versus the world” drag race videos possible. In an electric car, maximum torque is available at zero rpm. Press the right pedal and go. No revving the engine. No finding just the right clutch release point. No waiting for the power to arrive as the turbo spools up.
So how did the Bolt do against one of the perennial favorites in the performance small car field? Very nicely, thank you very much. It took two out of three races against the GTI and the race it lost was only by a whisker.
The message is that electric cars are just as quick as their gasoline powered cousins, so there is no reason to think driving electric means being consigned to life in the slow lane. Also, it’s rather easy to get the most out of an electric car — just step down on the pedal and hold.