It's rather pathetic to buy a new car and then complain that it's uncomfortable. It's been on the back of my mind since I took delivery on Thursday. I have memories of my BMW 330i and how I micromanaged every detail of that car, and how, over time, I grew to hate it. I hated it mostly for its rough ride and neck snapping shifts.The GTI was feeling a bit like that over the weekend as my back creaked and popped each morning.
The problem was the seats. The thing about German cars is there's one way to do things and every other way is mistaken. This is true as you read through the 500+ pages of manuals that come with this car, which not only tell you how to do something (the Japanese way), but explain why every other way is wrong (very German). With the seats, the first thing I realized after a day of discomfort was the headrest had to be higher.
In most cars, the headrest, and the seats exist only to prevent you from snapping your neck or flying backwards through the rear window. The GTI, because it's German, encourages you to engage with the seats. In fact, if you resist, you will be punished. You must engage.
With the headrest adjusted properly, it took me another few days to realize that I wasn't actually sitting in the seat and this was causing me problems. I was resisting, slouching and not sitting all the way back, which was becoming painful. Every bump was jarring and because of that, I was tensing up, which caused a feedback loop of discomfort, making driving the car an unpleasant experience.
This resistance came from driving with my horrible Mazda seats, which again, were only there to keep you from catastrophically exiting the rear of the car. The Mazda seats offered no support, so you learned not to trust them, to lean, wiggle or slouch in whatever way you felt was best for the situation. They were mildly unpleasant within minutes of driving, but never overly demanding in how you sat in them. The GTI is different. It will have none of that. No slouching. No wiggling. Would you care for more lumbar support?
So I've finally learned to stop fighting the GTI and to just give in to its demands, to sit back and allow the seats to do what they're supposed to do. I have capitulated. The GTI has rolled right over me. Now I feel European.