PH fleet: Golf GTI Edition 35

Will the new PH fleet arrival 'reflect' the spirit of the original? (Sorry)
Will the new PH fleet arrival 'reflect' the spirit of the original? (Sorry)
Before we proceed with the introduction to the newest member of the PH fleet, let me lay a few cards on the table. Well actually one card in particular: when I first drove a Mk6 Golf GTI, I did not like it. I felt that, after the fabulous Mk5, it had slipped back into humdrum-dom. It was solid, sensible, practical and comfortable; everything a Golf should be. But it was not enough fun, which is what a GTI should be.

Golf already mistaken for a Polo. Twice
Golf already mistaken for a Polo. Twice
Then I drove the Edition 35. Okay, so it's only got an extra 25ps and 15lb ft of torque, but that shaves 0.3secs from the 0-62mph time (6.6secs) and adds 6mph to the top speed (153mph). Small figures, and a relatively lowly power boost, sure, but it's just enough to lift the Golf GTI and plonk it firmly into the 'fun and fast' category.

It's also been created to celebrate 35 years since the golf GTI first appeared, so we thought it was about time we got one on the PH fleet to see if it still has the old magic when you live with it on a day-to-day basis.

A winter's tale
Talking of day-to-day things, it won't have escaped your notice that it is winter. It also won't have escaped your notice that manufacturers are keen to promote the merits of their 'all-season tyres' following a couple of uncharacteristically harsh winters. Which explains the odd 1.6S-alike alloys on our car - we thought we'd test out the merits (or otherwise) of winter tyres.

Could small 'winter' wheels be the cause?
Could small 'winter' wheels be the cause?
For £1,355 VW will do you a set of 17-inch Meribel alloys, shod with 205/50 R17 Dunlop SP Winter Sport 4D rubber (and depending how much space your local VW dealer has they might even look after your summer wheels and tyres for you), leaving you ready for the worst the winter has to throw at you.

The question is, do the squidgy sidewalls and big tread blocks spoil the Golf's chuckable hot hatch attitude? And do they really help out when the going gets miserably cold? It's rather too early to say at the moment, but no doubt we'll find out soon.

What else?
As for the other first impressions, well it's pretty much all good - inside, the Edition 35 brings with it leather seats, a 'golf ball' gear knob on the DSG 'box and some subtle badging on the kickplates.

Our car also comes to the party with parking sensors front and rear (£440), and £1770-worth of navigation, HDD, trip computer and iPod integration, all of which combines with the generally classy cabin (complete with one of the nicest steering wheels on any car south of £200k) to make a soothing, comfortable and generally pleasant commuting companion.

I'm just hoping it's as up for a proper B-road blast with its cold-season tyres on as it was when I drove it on 'summer' tyres...

2011 VW Golf GTI Edition 35
Run by: Riggers
Bought: December 2011
List price new: £31,030 (inc. £1770 infotainment pack and £440 for parking sensors front and rear)
Value now: c. £26,000 (after 5000 miles)

Steering wheel a thing of loveliness
Steering wheel a thing of loveliness
White masks Golf's subtle curves
White masks Golf's subtle curves


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