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Thursday 3rd November 2011

Driven: Golf GTI Edition 35

Happy birthday, Golf GTI. Remember what you looked like when you were brand-new?




One of the first cars I tested when I arrived at PistonHeads was the then-new Mk6 Golf GTI, and I don't mind admitting that it left me feeling a little deflated. Sure it looked good, with all the right GTI cues (red piping on the grille, tartan-pattern seats, beefy stance), but the whole thing seemed a little too dull, too refined to make it a great hot hatch. After the return to form that was the Mk5 it was a bit of a disappointment


But this year the Golf has turned 35 and, presumably to stop it thinking about the looming spectre of middle age, Volkswagen has given it a birthday present in the form of the Golf GTI Edition 35 - the most powerful production Golf GTi ever.

So, for the rather princely sum of £27,525 (£28,820 if you are talking the DSG-equipped version) you get an extra 25ps, giving you 232bhp at 5500rpm, an extra 15lb ft of torque (221lb ft in total) and an ability to fling yourself to 62mph in 6.6secs on the way to a 153mph maximum (0.3secs and 6mph better respectively than the standard GTI).

You also get a tweaked front bumper, new 18-inch alloys and a return of the 'golf ball' gear knob. Lovely.

But do those few extra ponies help to rekindle that original Golf GTI magic? The only way to find out was surely to line it up against a tidy original for a thoroughly unscientific test...


In truth, part of the glamour of the Golf GTI myth comes via the rosy tint of nostalgia. The old Mk1 might have been a game-changer that blew contemporary sports cars into the weeds, but that was partly because nobody had really had a proper go at a mass-market hot hatch before. The original's 110bhp gave it decent performance, but compare it with slightly later hot hatches (think 205 GTI) and the Golf suddenly doesn't feel as sweet, lively or agile.

That's not to say the old-stager isn't a hoot and James Butler's example, though not concours, is a fine example of the breed. But the surprisingly slow, heavy steering does rather temper the car's otherwise terrier-like vivacity.

Tempering the latest car's vivacity is a fair old bit of middle-aged spread (860kg plays 1420kg), and the standard Mk6 Golf's occasionally too-sensible-for-its-own-good nature. But that power and torque boost, small though it may be, does give the GTI Edition 35 an edge that's missing from the standard car.

There's now just enough power to make you feel as though you're driving something that's properly quick, and somehow that just encourages you to grab the Golf by the scruff of the neck that bit more often.


Do that and you'll find, hidden beneath the layers of refinement, interior quality, and general Golf classiness, more than a hint of proper old-school hot hatch. It's keen to rev, pulls smoothly and hard all the way to the red line and handles with genuine enthusiasm, remaining unflustered even when you push on. There is, in short, a balanced, fast and above all fun hot hatch nestled somewhere in the Edition 35 - it's just that it's not always that easy to find.

It's still a rather refined and sensible affair in the end, then, but that's probably what most buyers spending getting on for £30k want. And if you really want a chuckable VW hot hatch that will plaster a wide grin on your face on a more regular basis, then perhaps you'd be better off finding an extra couple of grand and getting yourself a Scirocco R.

If it were our money, however, we'd probably chuck £3-4k at a super-tidy Mk1 GTi for fun (something like this GTI Campaign, for example), £15k at a solid turbodiesel Mk6, and spend the difference on track days (for the Mk1 - the Mk6 diesel would not be so hot on track, obviously)... But if you plumped solely for the Edition 35 we wouldn't think you in any way mad.

Images: James Butler



Riggers
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Author Discussion

DavidLScott

Original Poster:

1,008 posts

112 months

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Thursday 3rd November 2011 quote quote all
I had a Mk1 1600, a Mk1 1800 and 3 Mk2's when they were contemporary and they were all brilliant cars for their time.
Moved on to VR6 Storm Corrdado's and that ended my VW ownership (apart from an ill fated heap of a Golf 4 Motion).
I tried a Mk5 a couple of years ago with the thought that I might rekindle an old love affair but it left me stone cold I'm afraid so I stayed with BMW.

There is still a soft spot in my heart for older GTi's and I wish we hadn't sold my wife's Mk2 but maybe you can't look back as it was probably all rose tinted.

Riggers

1,851 posts

66 months

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Thursday 3rd November 2011 quote quote all
...Although there's nothing wring with rose-tinted specs, David smile

jyates

1 posts

37 months

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Thursday 3rd November 2011 quote quote all
£28k for a Golf GTi? No thanks.

Beefmeister

12,047 posts

118 months

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Thursday 3rd November 2011 quote quote all
A 5dr Ed35 is one hell of an all-rounder car. I love the Mk6 GTi and this just seems to give it more of everything.

The price tag is a lot to swallow, but then again most of these will be leased anyway...

BMWill

432 posts

67 months

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Thursday 3rd November 2011 quote quote all
I couldn't help but immediately notice the granny setting on the driver's seat......
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Changedmyname

10,928 posts

69 months

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Thursday 3rd November 2011 quote quote all
I had a spell of VW GTI ownership mk2 jetta,then mk3 8v now mk4 18T.
Not going any further than that, I will NOT be choosing another golf.

soxboy

1,967 posts

107 months

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Thursday 3rd November 2011 quote quote all
I like it a lot.

I actually think it looks quite good value compared with some of the other cars at that price, especially given the level of performance on offer and the all round ability. There's a few posters on here who don't comprehend how much new cars cost these days.

Beefmeister

12,047 posts

118 months

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Thursday 3rd November 2011 quote quote all
Regarding the price, the Ed35 makes more sense than a well specced GTi.

The Ed35 costs £2220 more than the GTi, but comes with these as standard:

18" Alloys @ £470
Black Vienna Leather @ £1100
Xenon Headlights @ £1050

So your £2220 gets you £2620 of kit. Plus lots of natty Edition 35 badges and a unique (and i think rather nice) alloy wheel design.

And a golf ball gear knob. biggrin

TobesH

532 posts

95 months

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Thursday 3rd November 2011 quote quote all
Quite like it... last of the last 61 Plate Focus RS with Mountune 350 kit for me though!

TobesH

532 posts

95 months

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Thursday 3rd November 2011 quote quote all
Is that a hanky in the door bin?

Johnboy Mac

2,666 posts

66 months

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Thursday 3rd November 2011 quote quote all
28K, horses for courses.

I sure wouldn't knock somebody for buying one especially if it's well within their budget and I'd doubt there's many multi role cars out there that can match the abilities of this GTi for the money.

Me? I'd pass thanks until I see the price of the same spec 328i M Sport (with it's missing two cylinders).

Dr G

11,352 posts

130 months

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Thursday 3rd November 2011 quote quote all
jyates said:
£28k for a Golf GTi? No thanks.
Seriously, if you've only just discovered that a VW costs more than a Hyundai you're on the wrong forum.

I really like the ED35 and I liked that the MKV felt just the tiniest bit unruly when really pushed, hopefully it's a similar feeling from the muscled up MK6. Wild child trying to break free... wink

Sir_Dave

1,029 posts

98 months

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Thursday 3rd November 2011 quote quote all
Having owned a 5dr DSG Ed30 with all the toys, i can safely say that the only good thing about it was the way it held onto its value through 'scene tax'.

The derv ones make sense as a way of getting from A to B cheaply, but at no point did i want to go from A to B via C, D & E. Which is surely why you would buy a family hatchback with 230bhp.


pSyCoSiS

1,914 posts

93 months

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Thursday 3rd November 2011 quote quote all
I like the original.

My favourite is still the MK2 Golf GTi Big Bumper Model - in Black or Grey please.

Or, one of the Metallic Purple LHD G60s with BBS Split Rims!

Morba

620 posts

65 months

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Thursday 3rd November 2011 quote quote all
I like those alloys, they look like 18" versions of my Montreal 2's!

spiritof'76

1,223 posts

112 months

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Thursday 3rd November 2011 quote quote all
Who buys Golf GTI's these days ?

I'm sure somebody must but it doesn't seem to be PH'ers on the whole as i've done a fair few Sunday Service meets and i can't think that i've seen may if any of them at those gatherings frown

rich_b

665 posts

134 months

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Thursday 3rd November 2011 quote quote all
Johnboy Mac said:
Me? I'd pass thanks until I see the price of the same spec 328i M Sport (with it's missing two cylinders).
Caught my eye as I own an old one... Is this really happening? These model designations are getting ever more pointless frown

uncle tez

455 posts

39 months

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Thursday 3rd November 2011 quote quote all
I would have had one untill i saw the price. For that kind of money i think i would rather have a focus rs but on the other hand the focus us a bit "look at me" in a loud shouty voice so its a hard choice. I think both of those will hold thier value better than most of the other choices though

J4CKO

11,921 posts

88 months

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Thursday 3rd November 2011 quote quote all
Always think people who buy new VW "Sporty" models are non petrolheads after something "a bit sporty" with a premium-ish badge, lets face it no self respecting petrolhead would lash the best part of 30 grand on a Golf with 230 bhp, sure its great "as a package" but it just says to me its a non petrolhead wanting to be one but missing the point to a certain extent, I dont think most real petrolheads buy new mid range stuff, if they are blessed with 30 grand they will scuttle off to the classifieds and buy a Noble or 996 turbo. All the VW performance stuff has a similar image to me, Scirrocco, even the Golf R it just looks like you tuck your jumper in your jeans and have immaculate nails.

I will take my "Dubs" pre aged, with the wrong engine in, i.e. a MK2 with a TT engine.

Whitean3

1,527 posts

86 months

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Thursday 3rd November 2011 quote quote all
Sir_Dave said:
Having owned a 5dr DSG Ed30 with all the toys, i can safely say that the only good thing about it was the way it held onto its value through 'scene tax'.

The derv ones make sense as a way of getting from A to B cheaply, but at no point did i want to go from A to B via C, D & E. Which is surely why you would buy a family hatchback with 230bhp.
We also own a 5dr Ed30 DSG with all the toys- as Beefmeister says, it is a brilliant allrounder, but I don't find it exciting. I wouldn't take it out for a blast throught the alps (have the Porsche for that!)- but maybe I should, and if I did, I'd grow to love it more! It feels safe, solid and a pleasant place to be, but I don't think it encourages you to push on. Certainly does hold onto it's value very well though, as Sir Dave says- part of the VW fan scene I guess. So if you were in the market for a Golf GTI, I would always go for one of the special editions (will there be a Pirelli special edition I wonder?) as they are alittle bit more special and keep their value much better. I do keep thinking that it seems a bit pointless owning a 230 BHP hot hatch when it is used for a daily short commute for the wife- we could pick something that is way better on fuel (the Golf isn't bad all things considered). But then we'd need a nice comfy barge and an additional garage space too!

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