Chevy Bolt Outguns Volkswagen GTI In Drag Race


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)?

Chevy Bolt drag race

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.

About the Author

I have been a car nut since the days when Rob Walker and Henry N. Manney, III graced the pages of Road & Track. Today, I use my trusty Miata for TSD rallies and occasional track days at Lime Rock and Watkins Glen. If it moves on wheels, I'm interested in it. Please follow me on Google + and Twitter.
  • Damien

    That’s a GTI , not a diesel.

    • Steve Hanley

      Oops, of course it is. My bad. Thanks for catching my error.

  • kevin mccune

    That GTI is a pretty neat car , is it more affordable then the Bolt ? From what I seen its almost a tie , if either one was sleeping , He would lose ( on the other hand you dont have to change the oil in the Bolt.)I think its whatever you like .

  • kiwiME

    It was just barely worth suffering those two morons to find this out 🙂 Drag race starts at 1:20.