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Friday 20th July 2012

PH Fleet: Golf GTI Edition 35

It's a fond farewell to the thirsty-but-brilliant Golf GTI anniversary special



Normally when the man comes to collect a long-term test car from PH HQ, breaking up isn't particularly hard to do. Just as when in 'real life' the time tends to be right for the car to go, the story you wanted to tell has been told and, crucially, there's likely to be a brand-new addition to the PH fleet just around the corner.


Tearful goodbyes
But when 'my' Golf GTI Edition 35 went back to the VW press office a few days ago I was genuinely upset. Because OY61 EBM, more than any car I've either owned or run, fitted my life like a glove.

Over seven months and more than 12,000 miles, the unassuming white Golf performed every task I asked of it with aplomb, panache and all the other nouns that mean 'really rather effectively'. And despite the colour, it certainly was more than white goods to me.

People often accuse VWs of being dull, boring or soulless, but nothing could have been further from the truth. Sure, it was practical, sensible, reliable and did everything I asked of it. But competence doesn't necessarily equal an absence of enjoyment.


On the contrary, the Edition 35 never failed to amuse when I asked it to play at being a performance car rather than a rather expensive shopping hatch. Yes, there are sharper hot hatches out there (ones generally with a Renaultsport badge) but the GTI was always fun enough when I wanted it to be.The paddle-shift DSG gave a sense of just enough interaction, the linear turbocharged motor never left the car feeling out of puff,while there was more than enough grip and agility (once the winter tyres had been binned) to keep me smiling.

Fun and sensible all in one
But the key to all this, the real winning stroke, is that the Golf was able to do the fun stuff without compromising on the practicalities. And quite frankly a car that can combine unfussed daily commuter, B-road hooligan, full-to-the-roof cargo carrier and autobahn mile-muncher is a pretty competent machine in my book.


Of course, there have been a few niggles. Although the quality of the Golf's materials and construction are without question £31K for a Golf GTI really is too much money (as has been said many times in the PH forums), especially when a BMW 125i M Sport will cost you less.

The engine, too, isn't the most sophisticated-sounding thing, particularly at a cold idle, where its gravelly grumble bears a passing but alarming resemblance to a diesel clatter. Regular GTIs get the smoother, newer EA888 motor it's worth noting, the Edition 35 using the older, gruffer EA113 shared with the Golf R, Audi S3 and SEAT Leon Cupra R.


Fuelling the fire
Then there's the question of fuel consumption. This has been a surprisingly serious issue for those who have driven the Golf, me included. In principle, how much dinosaur juice your performance car sucks up shouldn't be a make-or-break concern. But the main MO of the Golf is that it plays the sensible game too and, to that end mpg in the high 20s is a bit much to take.

I did promise I'd conduct a test for a few thousand miles on super unleaded, too, as I'd been putting in regular unleaded most of the time and wanted to see if higher-octane stuff would yield any improvement in economy. So between 15,103 miles and 17,191 the Golf was treated to a super-only diet.


During that time it used 351.51 litres of fuel which, by my often wobbly maths works, out at 78.9 gallons over 2,088 miles. That's not the answer VW will have wanted, because it works out at 26.4mpg. Which is really on the verge of unacceptable for a modern hot hatch and suggests that switching to super-unleaded made sod-all difference.

No doubt the next-generation Golf GTI, due next year, will improve upon that; in an age of ever-rising fuel prices it will have to. But I don't want to end my reports on what has been - for me at least - the best car I have ever had the privilege of driving on a daily basis. Had it been 10 per cent fuel efficient and it would have been perfect...


FACT SHEET
Car:
 2011 VW Golf GTI Edition 35
Run by: Riggers
On fleet since: December 2011
Mileage: 18,139 miles
List price new: £31,030 (inc. £1,770 infotainment pack and £440 for parking sensors front and rear)
Last month at a glance: Trying to persuade VW not to take the car away from me!

Previous reports:
Service please! (says the Golf)
It's a visit back home for the trusty PH Golf GTI. And the opportunity to play beatthe nav'
Low-ish fuel economy's been bugging us, so we decide to try out the GTI's dieselcousin
Paris road trip proves GTI's impeccable cruising credentials
Golf GTI Edition 35 arrives, complete with wintry rubber
Winter tyres go south; the Golf proves a popular choice at PH HQ

Original review of the Edition 35:
Driven: Golf GTI Edtion 35

Riggers
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Author Discussion

Tooth Dr

Original Poster:

7 posts

29 months

[news] 
Friday 20th July 2012 quote quote all
sounds like a good car but too much money with iffy fuel consumption. Do you honestly think super unleaded makes no difference as that is all I run my car on and is it worth the extra over regular fuel?!

aka_kerrly

7,499 posts

97 months

[news] 
Friday 20th July 2012 quote quote all
So really another glowing report for a Golf yet it won't be long before the rest of the gang turn up with comments about it's price, it's weight, it's FWD format and all the other nonsense that is spouted whenever a GTI is mentioned.

loudlashadjuster

1,240 posts

71 months

[news] 
Friday 20th July 2012 quote quote all
So less than £500 worth of fuel makes the difference between perfect and not quite? (10% of your usage over 12k miles)

£500?

Really?

MrHooky

32 posts

29 months

[news] 
Friday 20th July 2012 quote quote all
Or better still a manual M135i for less money...

I do like the look of the MKVI GTI but £30k for little over 200bhp seems a little steep.

I'm guessing the new GTI is going to have to pack c.250bhp to 'keep up' with its competition...

StottyZr

5,293 posts

50 months

[news] 
Friday 20th July 2012 quote quote all
loudlashadjuster said:
So less than £500 worth of fuel makes the difference between perfect and not quite? (10% of your usage over 12k miles)

£500?

Really?
I feel you've answered your own question there hehe
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ghibbett

1,420 posts

72 months

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Friday 20th July 2012 quote quote all
Fair play to PH for highlighting the rubbish mpg. I notice in this months EVO that they berate their C63 long termer for averaging 19mpg yet no mention of the 26mpg their Golf Edition 35 gets. Mind you, that probably says more about the quality of writing for Long Termers in EVO than anything else...rolleyes

bigandclever

7,224 posts

125 months

[news] 
Friday 20th July 2012 quote quote all
31 grand. thirty. one. thousand. pounds.

motor mad

372 posts

76 months

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Friday 20th July 2012 quote quote all

I'm sure a 10% increase in fuel consumption could quite easily be achieved by altering driving style slightly.

Great cars the Golf GTi's. I'm off to peruse the classifieds for a Mk V Edition 30.

NickJC

11 posts

31 months

[news] 
Friday 20th July 2012 quote quote all
MrHooky said:
Or better still a manual M135i for less money...

I do like the look of the MKVI GTI but £30k for little over 200bhp seems a little steep.

I'm guessing the new GTI is going to have to pack c.250bhp to 'keep up' with its competition...
I suspect the VW will keep it's money better over a period than the Beemer? We paid £25k for an ex demo '08 Edition 30 5-door and I suspect it has retained a better % than my '08 335i....have to watch the VW network to see what (and if) they retail out the PH car? The VW certainly rides much better! IMO the real advantage is that its a very practical car, suits me @ 6'3" and my 5'3" wife, and when I had an A6 Quattro Avant, my teen boys preferred the rear comfort of the Golf to the A6. And I don't think VW have yet switched to run-flats (cue someone better informed to correct me..!)

Rgds
N

dvance

603 posts

55 months

[news] 
Friday 20th July 2012 quote quote all
loudlashadjuster said:
So less than £500 worth of fuel makes the difference between perfect and not quite? (10% of your usage over 12k miles)

£500?

Really?
+Infinity

BoostMonkey

502 posts

72 months

[news] 
Friday 20th July 2012 quote quote all
bigandclever said:
31 grand. thirty. one. thousand. pounds.
Don't forget the Thirty pounds biggrin

thewheelman

2,194 posts

60 months

[news] 
Friday 20th July 2012 quote quote all
aka_kerrly said:
So really another glowing report for a Golf yet it won't be long before the rest of the gang turn up with comments about it's price, it's weight, it's FWD format and all the other nonsense that is spouted whenever a GTI is mentioned.
No doubt a VW fanboy. How are the negatives being pointed out in any car classed as "nonsense"? Surely most people weigh up the pros & cons before buying a car.

aka_kerrly

7,499 posts

97 months

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Friday 20th July 2012 quote quote all
thewheelman said:
aka_kerrly said:
So really another glowing report for a Golf yet it won't be long before the rest of the gang turn up with comments about it's price, it's weight, it's FWD format and all the other nonsense that is spouted whenever a GTI is mentioned.
No doubt a VW fanboy. How are the negatives being pointed out in any car classed as "nonsense"? Surely most people weigh up the pros & cons before buying a car.
I completely agree every car has pros and cons but it is surprising that for all the pros that are highlighted by motoring journos, owners, road tests that there are always the same old people pointing out the golf is £30k yet in reality one quick google reveals that there are more than one company selling them new for under £26k in manual or £27k with DSG for an edition 35 or a standard GTI for £23k

As for the weight, BMW quote 1450Kgs unladen for a 135i coupe yet a Golf Ed 35 is quoted as 1401Kgs unladen so it isn't really that overweight.

TNH

336 posts

34 months

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Friday 20th July 2012 quote quote all
aka_kerrly said:
I completely agree every car has pros and cons but it is surprising that for all the pros that are highlighted by motoring journos, owners, road tests that there are always the same old people pointing out the golf is £30k yet in reality one quick google reveals that there are more than one company selling them new for under £26k in manual or £27k with DSG for an edition 35 or a standard GTI for £23k

As for the weight, BMW quote 1450Kgs unladen for a 135i coupe yet a Golf Ed 35 is quoted as 1401Kgs unladen so it isn't really that overweight.
P11d value is still over £30k though.

And the 135i has a twin turbo 3.0 V6 - 50kg extra isnt that much.

Riggers

1,851 posts

65 months

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Friday 20th July 2012 quote quote all
TNH said:
P11d value is still over £30k though.

And the 135i has a twin turbo 3.0 straight-six - 50kg extra isnt that much.
Psst! EFA! And it's only one turbo these days. Spot on otherwise though... wink

Sivraj

256 posts

78 months

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Friday 20th July 2012 quote quote all
"In principle, how much dinosaur juice your performance car sucks up shouldn't be a make-or-break concern".
I have to disagree with your comment above, as this is the only reason I'm not chugging around in a Monaro or VXR8!!!
It’s also why a lot of the manufacturers are looking at the forced induction engines for there performance vehicles (BMW M5!).
I wish it wasn't a consideration or I was in a position not to care!!!!!.....

aka_kerrly

7,499 posts

97 months

[news] 
Friday 20th July 2012 quote quote all
TNH said:
P11d value is still over £30k though.

And the 135i has a twin turbo 3.0 V6 - 50kg extra isnt that much.
True I never suggested that the Golf was superior to the BMW , my point was more that people take the price/weight as the be all and end all.

That an lets be fair how the hell can BMW sell the 135i for £30k and make profit... presumably because people are happy paying £24k for 118D

Pistonwot

413 posts

46 months

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Friday 20th July 2012 quote quote all
Who cares?

Its just another boring VW bland "world car".
The English translation for "world car" = Soul-less yet cheap to manufacture metal box with few redeeming features yet adorned with barely enough gimmicky flash and stuffed chock full-o-tat, OR just enough nonsense to confuse most buyers into believing the Marketing dross VW bland spend Billions producing.

If I wanted a good Golf Id buy a Mk 1, its the only decent Golf ever made.

Riggers

1,851 posts

65 months

[news] 
Friday 20th July 2012 quote quote all
Sivraj said:
"In principle, how much dinosaur juice your performance car sucks up shouldn't be a make-or-break concern".


I have to disagree with your comment above, as this is the only reason I'm not chugging around in a Monaro or VXR8!!!
It’s also why a lot of the manufacturers are looking at the forced induction engines for there performance vehicles (BMW M5!).
I wish it wasn't a consideration or I was in a position not to care!!!!!.....
It's the difference between principle and reality, Sivraj! And the reason my other car is a Ford Puma and not a Holden HSV GTS! biggrin

Killboy

684 posts

89 months

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Friday 20th July 2012 quote quote all
This is interesting. Nowhere does it matter for me that my R32 sucks gas. It is a 3.2 with four wheel drive. But, from what little I could remember was that my mate's sportback TFSi and another mate's GTI were also horrible consumers.

One could write off "spirited driving", but what it seems is that the turbo twos also have a big thirst even at sensible levels.

They state that they got 26mpg ave out of it? I get lower on average, but the only time the car was outside london was when I bought it, and when I took it to Le Mans. On the way there, I got about 20mpg, but the speedo needle was the other side of happiness for do gooders and authorities. On the return however, at a semi acceptable nudge over the legal limit, I returned 29.8mpg. Should I have done 70-80mph all the way, I recon 32s would have been displayed. Even the ride diagonally through the center of London only took it down to 28s. With PH's millage, it leads me to assume there is a lot of motorways involved, so I think comparable.

So, it seems in reality the fuel consumption difference between the GTI and R32 is actually almost negligible on combined cycles. You expect it from the R32, but the not really the GTI.
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