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Monday 30th January 2012


PH BLOG: WHEELS MAKETH THE GOLF

Riggers's Golf GTI Edition 35 drives - and now looks - like the real thing


OK, it’s blatant hypocrisy. Harris proclaims the fun of turning the power/grip equation on its head by driving an AMG on space savers. We talk about how cars like the Toyobaru herald a new era of handling over grip and I have, on occasion, been known to mention how much fun crap tyres are on the PH Fleet Eunos.

Now, if we were true to this cause we’d have left the winter tyres on our long-term Golf GTI Edition 35. But, frankly, it looked a bit pants. And having swapped it onto the ‘proper’ wheels and tyres (possibly a little hasty if the weather forecasts are to be believed), Riggers was looking forward to trying out ‘his’ Golf on its proper wheels.

DSG just about involving enough to be fun
DSG just about involving enough to be fun
And he’s still looking forward to trying out his Golf on its proper wheels, having not got near it since thanks to both Garlick and I sharing it between us over recent days.

So we’re tarts. Having avoided the Golf whilst in its Bluemotion-esque disguise we’re now all too happy to be seen out and about in it. I took it up for a meeting in Milton Keynes the other day and, though not quite as entertaining as the AE86, it really demonstrated quite what a weapon this Golf is.

It really is a car that asks no questions at all. It looks cool, goes like stink in a relatively understated manner, doesn’t rub people up the wrong way like some more aggressively styled performance cars can and does all the pleasing, easy-to-live-with stuff you’d expect of any Golf. But there’s real depth too. The fixed-rate dampers are lively and, in extremes, capable of being overwhelmed by really high-speed compressions. But they feel better than the adjustable ones and the Golf feels very light on its feet and a lot livelier and more involving than the sensible VW stereotype would have you believe. And the grip on the ‘big’ wheels is immense, the XDS electric LSD meaning bold entry speeds can be matched with entertainingly committed early on the power exits.

Winter wheels: effective but girly-looking
Winter wheels: effective but girly-looking
OK, it’s about grip, power and composure rather than elegant balance-it-on-the-throttle fun, but the Golf pulls it off without feeling isolated and aloof and seems eager to play along with whatever mood you happen to be in. And much as I’d like a manual the DSG is crisp, quick to react and just engaging enough to keep you interested.

But mainly it looks ace on its big wheels. And, yes, that’s purely form not function.

Author: Dan Trent
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