We also own a GTI - the turbo "hot hatch" version of the Golf (my 50th b-day present to me, now our son's car). In that guise, definitely sportier than any Leaf. Also not so very comfortable, frankly, due to very stiff sport suspension. You feel every expansion joint on the highway. But it's absolutely gleeful. Lot of fun to drive. Arguably the best hot hatch overall, still.
That said, the standard Golf is not that different from a Leaf. Suspension toned down - a lot. Smaller wheels with taller sidewalls = smoother ride too. Nothing like the power off the line. I think the comparisons exaggerate the differences a bit. Our Leaf with the stronger motor and bigger battery, is plenty sporty too. At least for this segment.
Depends on what you mean by "sporty," I guess. Drive them both. If you can get into the Leaf plus for the right price, drive that model too. Steering is too light, otherwise it's a fine driver. I feel the Leaf gets short shrift from the auto press. Once we work through the factory energy saver all-seasons, we'll be putting stickier tires on the Leaf. Then we'll see how it drives.
Empty-nesters - NW Denver-Boulder Area
2019 Leaf SL Plus
2015 Audi Q5 TDI
2007 BMW Z4 3.0Si
2012 VW GTI