Regarding COO, the GTI will undoubtedly be the more expensive option. Higher MSRP, insurance will be higher (mine doubled from $100 to $200/mo from my Mazda6 to GTI), maintenance will cost more (especially if DSG), it requires more expensive gas, tires will wear out faster if pushing the car, etc. The Japanese economy car will also most likely lose less resale value compared to the German entry-level sports car.
But with that said I have no regrets in spending the extra $, it's well worth it to me. Smiles per gallon > miles per gallon. But I also live in an area with many canyons and twisty mountain roads, which is where the GTI really shines.
Agreed, higher performing parts will inherently be more expensive to upkeep.
As is always, you gotta pay to play
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