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2012 Volkswagen GTI

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starting MSRP

Key specs

Base trim shown


Body style


Combined MPG


Seating capacity

165.8” x 57.8”


Front-wheel drive



The good:

  • Handling balance
  • Cabin quality
  • Brakes
  • Cargo versatility
  • Interior amenities

The bad:

  • Choppy highway ride
  • Road and wind noise
  • Slow-reacting automatic transmission
  • Backseat too low to the ground
  • Modest acceleration relative to competitors

3 trims

Starting msrp listed lowest to highest price

Wondering which trim is right for you?

Our 2012 Volkswagen GTI trim comparison will help you decide.

See also: Find the best Hatchbacks for 2024

Notable features

  • Two- or four-door hatchback
  • Standard turbocharged four-cylinder
  • Manual or dual-clutch automatic
  • Related to VW Golf

2012 Volkswagen GTI review: Our expert's take

Vehicle Overview

The Volkswagen GTI is a high-performance sibling of the Golf. It comes as a two- or four-door hatchback, both with an optional Autobahn Package that consists mostly of interior upgrades. The GTI seats five and competitors include the Mazdaspeed3, Subaru Impreza WRX and Mini Cooper S.

New for 2012
LED daytime running lights are newly available for 2012, but little else of significance has changed.

The GTI is based on the VW Golf, and both received new exterior styling a few years ago that made them more angular and menacing. The GTI has some unique features, including a thin, blackened honeycomb grille with two red outlining stripes; different front and rear bumpers; side skirts; and GTI badging. It also rides slightly lower than the Golf. Exterior features include:

  • Standard 18-inch alloy wheels
  • Dual tailpipes
  • Optional xenon high-intensity-discharge headlights

The GTI can seat up to five. Bolstered, ribbed sport seats are standard in front, and there’s a 60/40-split bench in the rear. Seating surfaces have a retro plaid design — VW calls it “Interlagos” — on the cloth trim; both front seats employ seat heaters and seat-height adjusters. Leather upholstery is optional. Interior features include:

  • Standard leather-wrapped steering wheel and gearshift
  • Standard power windows, locks and side mirrors with keyless entry
  • Standard air conditioning and cruise control
  • Standard height-adjustable, heated front seats
  • Standard USB/iPod-compatible stereo
  • Optional steering-wheel audio controls, upgraded touch-screen stereo, navigation system and moonroof
  • Autobahn Package adds all above options and a Dynaudio premium stereo, leather upholstery and a keyless access system with remote start

Under the Hood
A turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder is standard. With either the manual or automatic transmission, the front-wheel-drive GTI can hit 60 mph in less than 7 seconds, Volkswagen says. Mechanical features include:

  • 200 horsepower and 207 pounds-feet of torque
  • Six-speed manual or six-speed dual-clutch automatic
  • Electronic limited-slip control system helps control wheelspin during sharp turns

Standard safety features include:

  • Antilock brakes
  • Traction control and electronic stability system
  • Front-seat side-impact and side curtain airbags

Consumer reviews

Rating breakdown (out of 5):
  • Comfort 4.4
  • Interior 4.6
  • Performance 4.7
  • Value 4.5
  • Exterior 4.7
  • Reliability 4.3
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Most recent consumer reviews


Nope. Hard pass.

I bought the 2012 GTI with 36k on it in 2015. In the 8 years I've been driving it I have paid almost $11k in repairs from a poor build and also re-work from the low quality of parts available. Hard pass.


Love and Hate mostly Hate

Bought this car Brand new and it was great had alot of fun driving this car But after the warranty ended thats when the problems started to add up I still have only 55,000 miles on this car but i must have spent over $7000 in repairs till this day. Im not sure if this car was a dud from the start or the car dealership rips me off in repairs but this is the last VW i will buy!


Good car, but....

Original owner of a 2012 GTI (base model). Overall, its not a bad car, and my wife and I loved it. But problems starts arising as it gets older. First, the biggest issue is carbon buildup. The carbon buildup got so bad that the car was not safe to drive - hesitating and check engine light came on. It happened at around 50,000 and 100,000 miles. I have tried the BG induction cleaning, at at a regular interval but it did not work. The only solution is a mechanical cleaning, which is not cheap. Another issue is at around 100,000 miles, other parts starts giving up: radiator fan, ignition coil, water pump, and thermostat - all were not cheap to get fixed. So even we love this car, my wife and I do not believe that it will be economical to keep this car for long. As a comparison, we had a 1991 Honda Civic, which we kept for 20 years and put over 200,000 miles in it. We never had this many issues with that car, as much as we had with our GTI. Do I recommend buying a GTI? Yes, but, based on my experience, be prepared to spend a lot of money as it gets older.

See all 55 consumer reviews


New car and Certified Pre-Owned programs by Volkswagen
New car program benefits
36 months/36,000 miles
144 months/unlimited distance
60 months/60,000 miles
36 months/36,000 miles
Roadside assistance
36 months/36,000 miles
Certified Pre-Owned program benefits
Maximum age/mileage
MY 2016-MY 2017 vehicles/75,000 miles; MY 2018- MY 2019 vehicles/72,000 miles; MY 2020 and newer vehicles/75,000 miles
Basic warranty terms
Vehicles purchased on or after 1/5/21: MY 2017 & older, 2 yrs/24,000 miles (whichever is 1st) limited warranty; MY 2018-19, 1 yr/12,000 miles (whichever is 1st) limited warranty; MY 2020 & newer, 2 years/24,000 miles (whichever is 1st) limited warranty
Dealer certification required
100-plus point inspection
Roadside assistance
View all cpo program details

Have questions about warranties or CPO programs?

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