RE: VW Golf GTI (Mk6): PH Used Buying Guide

RE: VW Golf GTI (Mk6): PH Used Buying Guide

Tuesday 10th April 2018

VW Golf GTI (Mk6): PH Used Buying Guide

Thinking of buying a modern iteration of the definitive hot hatch? Read this first!



After the gargantuan effort Volkswagen put in to get the Mk5 Golf GTI back on the right track, it was easy to forgive the sixth generation GTI being an evolution of the species. This meant engines and transmissions were carried over wholesale, though power was increased to 210hp for the 2.0-litre TFSI turbo petrol motor.

Whether you chose the six-speed manual or twin-clutch DSG, the Mk6 GTI needed 6.9 seconds to spring from rest to 62mph. Top speed was 149mph in the manual and 2mph less in the dual-clutch version, and the manual just had the edge on fuel economy and emissions.


Which of these gearboxes you prefer comes down to personal taste, but one thing to bear in mind is that in evolving into the Mk6, the GTI also inherited its predecessor's problems with the DSG's Mechatronic ECU.

You also have to pick between three- and five-door body styles, both of which are 23mm wider than the previous Mk5 model. There's no discernible difference in ride or handling between the pair, so it's all down to practicality. You could also pick the Cabriolet that was launched in 2012 with an electrically operated roof.

Volkswagen also offered the limited Edition 35 version with an uprated 235hp 2.0-litre motor. It hit 153mph and took 6.6 seconds from nought to 62mph. For some, it's the ultimate Mk6 GTI, but for most the added expense of buying one will be hard to justify against its modest gains in performance.


Better to save the cash and look to the aftermarket for some extra pep. There are several remapping options that can take the car to 280hp, though you'll then be looking at improving the breathing with an air filter and exhaust to get the best from this set-up.

With more power, the GTI's XDS electronic traction aid that mimics a limited slip differential will get more of a workout in corners to keep the power from being wasted. You also have Adaptive Chassis Control that was an option when the car was new. It's worth having as the difference between Comfort and Sport is noticeable and tones the car to suit either setting.

High mileage early Golf GTI Mk6s can now be had from ยฃ7000, but ยฃ8500 is what you need to bag an average miles 2009 car with full service history. There's no need to pay more for the DSG gearbox, but five door GTIs command a small premium over three-door models.

Search for Volkswagen Golf GTIs (Mk6) here


Bodywork and interior

A creak from the rear of the cabin is most likely to be the rear upper bench not latching into position properly. A good shove usually solves this.

When opening the doors, listen for any sloshing water as it can gather in the bottoms and will eventually rot out the metal.

Paint finish was not always the best, but still check for misaligned panels or mismatched paint that points to crash repairs.

Electric folding door mirrors can sometimes stop working or work erratically.


Engine and transmission

2.0-litre TFSI engine needs its cambelt replaced at 80,000 miles or four years along with the water pump and tensioner pulley. This will be around ยฃ850 including labour at an independent specialist.

Coil packs fail but are cheap to replace.

Diverter valve fails and stops the engine from reaching peak turbo boost, so try a few cars to geta feel for any that might be low on performance. An uprated diaphragm for the diverter valve costs ยฃ30.


Check the positive crankcase ventilation by removing the dipstick with the engine running. If the engine stutters, the PCV is fine. If it continues to run normally, the PCV needs to be replaced.

High pressure turbo line can break, which lets oil out in a fine spray and leads to turbo failure.

Stronger Sachs clutch costs ยฃ550 plus fitting and is recommended if you tune the engine.

Six-speed manual gearbox is reliable, but DSG transmission suffers from Mechatronic ECU failure that also afflicts the Mk5 GTI. Feel for any lurch as drive is taken up when you pull away from a standing start. A replacement Mechatronic ECU is ยฃ900 plus fitting, but ecutesting.com offers a rebuilt item with two-year warranty for ยฃ250.

DSG gearbox needs new oil and filter every 40,000 miles.

Air conditioning pump fails, so make sure it's blowing cold in the cabin.


Suspension and steering

Suspension can be within manufacturer tolerances but still cause uneven tyre wear. Also listen for a rumble from the rear tyres that indicates an alignment check and new bushes are needed.

Wheels, tyres and brakes

Uprated discs and pads for the front and rear from Tarox cost ยฃ525 for a complete set.
Corrosion on 18-inch Monza Shadow alloys

Search for Volkswagen Golf GTIs (Mk6) here

Search for Volkswagens here

SPECIFICATION - VW GOLF GTI MK6

Engine: 1,984cc 4-cyl turbo
Transmission: 6-speed man/DSG
Power (hp): 210@/5,300-6,200rpm
Torque (lb ft): 207@1,700-5,200rpm
MPG: 38.7/38.2
CO2: 170/173g/km
Price new: ยฃ22,415/ยฃ23,720
Price now: ยฃ7,000 upwards

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Author
Discussion

TomEP

Original Poster:

146 posts

120 months

Tuesday 10th April 2018
quotequote all
Ran a 59 plate DSG for 2 and 1/2 years for the wife. Great car for the money. Had the obligatory mechantronic failure on the gearbox and needed a new seal on the turbo, all covered under VW extended warranty which is pretty cheap.

Ours had the DCC which was an odd option to put on but seemed to work well - left it in comfort most of the time.

Ride is a lot better on the 17’s than 18’s.

The engine has a timing chain not a cambelt.

Pistonheader101

1,616 posts

74 months

Tuesday 10th April 2018
quotequote all
Timing chain needs to be done at 7 years /112k miles

No timing belt.

Intake manifold is also a weak point.

bangy1

100 posts

110 months

Tuesday 10th April 2018
quotequote all
Also the suffer from the same paint issues as the MK5's in terms of rust.

My one had to have both front wings replaced under warranty and the sills at the front and rear were also requiring treatment.

Crackie

5,363 posts

209 months

Tuesday 10th April 2018
quotequote all
Misleading info in the article. Mk5 GTI engine wasn't carried over to the standard Mk6.........

Better information here https://www.pistonheads.com/gassing/topic.asp?t=16...

HardMiles

215 posts

53 months

Tuesday 10th April 2018
quotequote all
BORING!

Jinjur

11 posts

101 months

Tuesday 10th April 2018
quotequote all
Did these not have a HUGE issue with a badly designed timing chain tensioner failing chomping the engine?

GTEYE

1,860 posts

177 months

Tuesday 10th April 2018
quotequote all
When the Mark 7 came out, these seem to suddenly look rather dated.....maybe the Mark 5 origins started to show through.

TurbosSuck

177 posts

49 months

Tuesday 10th April 2018
quotequote all
Who wrote this article?

EA888 engine (TSI) in the MK6 is completely different from the EA113 (TFSI) from the MK5. As someone above mentioned, cam chains were a problem on these engines but that issue seems to have been resolved on the newer 2013> TSI engines. I think carbon build up on the intakes was also a problem because of where the fuel was injected!?

Edited by TurbosSuck on Thursday 12th April 14:25

JimmyConwayNW

2,411 posts

92 months

Tuesday 10th April 2018
quotequote all
On the list of cars we no longer buy in our car sales business particularly 09/59/10 plates due to timing chain issues.

Article is completely wrong different engine.

MK5 was a much better car overall with the exception of the MK6 edition 35 which is a very sweet engine in the MK6 package.

Sa Calobra

31,387 posts

178 months

Tuesday 10th April 2018
quotequote all
Reading the list in the OP I don't think I'd buy one outside the warranty period.

smartypants

50,012 posts

136 months

Tuesday 10th April 2018
quotequote all
Get the MK5 or the MK7, ignore the MK6.


Joey Deacon

3,937 posts

143 months

Tuesday 10th April 2018
quotequote all
Being a VAG product I assume the low oil light will come on a week after purchase causing you to panic and pull into the nearest petrol station to buy oil ruining that new car feeling?


Rosewood Red

698 posts

120 months

Tuesday 10th April 2018
quotequote all
Chain, not a belt as already mentioned. Earlier chain tensioners are a known weak point and should be replaced with the later revision if you don't want it to grenade your engine.

I would assume some time was spent researching the subject matter before writing an article.

"Can do better"

Gruber

6,311 posts

181 months

Tuesday 10th April 2018
quotequote all
I owned a nearly new GTI Ed35 for a while, but quickly found it disappointing. The brakes were too sharp, the steering overly assisted and the throttle too unresponsive (there was a lag between throttle input and acceleration, and an even bigger delay between lifting off the throttle and any sense of engine braking). I ended up feeling quite frustrated with it and soon moved it on.

I hope the Mk7 is better, but I've never had cause or desire to try one. I ended up back in a Mk2 for a while - now that was much better!

Presuming Ed

1,082 posts

175 months

Tuesday 10th April 2018
quotequote all
The most frustrating thing I found was the rubbery gearshift which meant you couldn't hustle the manual box. Try and rush a change and it would spit the gear out.

Other things were the poor slow speed ride on 18" wheels even with switchable dampers and it was a pain reversing the car in the dark as the lenses were smoked as standard and therefore didn't light up enough to see where you were going.

tril

298 posts

41 months

Tuesday 10th April 2018
quotequote all
Had a DSG car for a couple of years and ran from 18k to 52k. I really liked it but not as much fun as the manual Mk5 I had before. But I used it for a lot of motorway/A road miles and it was fantastic at that. Mine was tuned (ECU and TCU) with a Cobra exhaust and that was the perfect package for the car.

I would recommend to anyone but the timing chain issues are not overblown.

Also, this article is horribly written. Simple basic research would enable you to get the 50% of the facts you got wrong, right.

daemon

29,069 posts

164 months

Wednesday 11th April 2018
quotequote all
JimmyConwayNW said:
On the list of cars we no longer buy in our car sales business particularly 09/59/10 plates due to timing chain issues.

Article is completely wrong different engine.

MK5 was a much better car overall with the exception of the MK6 edition 35 which is a very sweet engine in the MK6 package.
Out of curiosity, when you say no longer buy do you refuse to do the deal if theres one of the cars on your list as a trade in or do you get it underwritten / send it to auction?

xjay1337

15,966 posts

85 months

Wednesday 11th April 2018
quotequote all
TurbosSuck said:
Who wrote this article?

EA888 engine (TFSI) in the MK6 is completely different from the EA113 (TSI) from the MK5. As someone above mentioned, cam chains were a problem on these engines but that issue seems to have been resolved on the newer 2013> TSI engines. I think carbon build up on the intakes was also a problem because of where the fuel was injected!?
You got your TSI and TFSI mixed up.

AFAIK there is no fixed service interval for the timing change.
Carbon build up does occur but doesn't generally cause anything like the same lack of power that it causes in, say, an RS4
Generally the engines are reliable, plenty of spare parts and pretty easy to work on.
Given the car shares it's underpinnings with the Mk5 Golf as well parts are cheap.

Overall they are good cars, personally I'd buy a high spec Mk5 ED30 and spend the change on maintenance and upgrades.

Steve UK

289 posts

153 months

Wednesday 11th April 2018
quotequote all
xjay1337 said:
TurbosSuck said:
Who wrote this article?

EA888 engine (TFSI) in the MK6 is completely different from the EA113 (TSI) from the MK5. As someone above mentioned, cam chains were a problem on these engines but that issue seems to have been resolved on the newer 2013> TSI engines. I think carbon build up on the intakes was also a problem because of where the fuel was injected!?
You got your TSI and TFSI mixed up.

AFAIK there is no fixed service interval for the timing change.
Carbon build up does occur but doesn't generally cause anything like the same lack of power that it causes in, say, an RS4
Generally the engines are reliable, plenty of spare parts and pretty easy to work on.
Given the car shares it's underpinnings with the Mk5 Golf as well parts are cheap.

Overall they are good cars, personally I'd buy a high spec Mk5 ED30 and spend the change on maintenance and upgrades.
My heart sank after reading all this :-( I have had my heart set on a MK6 Gti as a replacement for my rusting 2002 1.25 Fiesta.

Especially the comment doors full of water and rusting. Was hoping for a 2012 model, but reading between the lines a 2013 on is better?

xjay1337

15,966 posts

85 months

Wednesday 11th April 2018
quotequote all
Oh my -

There is nothing wrong with them. By and large they are very reliable motors.

Many people on here don't like VAG products, so bad mouth them.

I'd buy a Mk5 purely because underneath it's the same as a Mk6, and everything can be retrofitted (Eg better dials, nicer steering wheel, radios etc).