RE: Shed of the Week: Volkswagen Golf GTI (Mk4)

RE: Shed of the Week: Volkswagen Golf GTI (Mk4)

Friday 8th March

Shed of the Week: Volkswagen Golf GTI (Mk4)

Shed's got the Mk4 GTI down as a potentially decent vintage. At this price, who are we to argue...



"The car goes well enough and is never short of grip, but I was left feeling strangely unfulfilled... this chassis can definitely take a lot more power."

We've all read this type of self-regarding Queefery in road tests. Thankfully there's less of it about these days, now that 200hp has pretty much given way to 400hp as a commonly-accepted definition of decent power in production cars. Even Troy would struggle to whine about the insufficiency of 400hp when his delicate dab of oppo turns into a tyre-vapourising, slacks-soiling, full-locking powerslide.

Before the new power revolution, pre-Mk5 Golfs featured high up in the dud parade of cars that needed a lot more power than they had. VW's huge success with the GTI genre was very much despite rather than because of those early sub-115hp GTI engines. Yes, you could get a 150hp 16-valve version of the Mk3 and Mk4, and by the time we got to 2001 the most powerful GTI was up to a respectable sounding 177hp - but even that wasn't a very brave shout for a turbocharged motor.


Some might have seen VAG's philosophy of institutionalised understressing as a useful reliability buffer, but less charitable folk were wondering about the conglomerate's confidence in its own powertrains. The Mk4 was arguably the least popular GTI of all, as it appeared to prolong VW's gradual vanilla-ising of the model, with too much weight offset by not enough grunt.

Enter stage left, in an unusually well-preserved coat of Tornado Red, this week's Shed. With a remap to 198hp, is this the Mk4 GTI that should have muscled its way into VW showrooms in the early 2000s?

The vendor tells us that his car has the later AUM engine. The earlier AGU has a certain mythology about it, suggesting it was the better lump for big tuning, but as the vendor also says the AUM has the bigger K03s turbo and is more amenable to modern, software-generated power hikes.


At this stage in the proceedings, some of you will be mentally assembling your lists of all the things that can go wrong with a Mk4 Golf with a view to sharing them on the forum for the benefit of the two or three people in the western world who cut themselves off from normal life 20 years ago.

Save your mental sweat, because the seller is not one of those three people. He has invested smartly in all the usual suspects so you don't have to, up to and including the turbo unit. Of course, that doesn't mean any or all of these parts won't go phut again at some point, but if we regard ownership of VWs and Audis as a game of snakes and ladders, the list of parts bought and fitted surely means you're getting one free lap around the board, as it were.

On top of the consumables, he's added an adjustable rear ARB, another worthwhile enhancement. The alloys look smart and Shed is fairly certain that the thing that looks like a smudge of mud on the nearside passenger door is actually a sticker for Awesome GTI, Jim Cotton's well regarded Irlam-based tuning shop. They were responsible for the remap. Naturally, nothing is guaranteed in today's dog eat dog world, but a quick glimmer at Jim's website should reassure you that Awesome GTI is some way from being an 'a'it bruv' type of setup.


The Shed ad looks genuine too. Yer man is selling his Vee-Dub to finance some work on the 944 Porsche that is visible on his drive. The Golf's MOT lasts until next January and the only advisories on it were for a minor exhaust leak and non-excessive wear to the front lower arm bushes. The tester did also mention baked pads, but he may have been thinking of his lunch at the time.

Shed has said it before and will say it again: good examples of the first four Golf GTIs will eventually all be worth money. It's just a matter of time and condition. This car presents really well in pictures, especially bearing in mind that it's painted in such a famously fading shade. If the peeled lacquer on the door mirror upsets you, a quick look online will uncover lacquer-intact replacements at around £35 a pop.

If we switch our GTI metaphor from board games to wine collecting, this one looks like a very acceptable candidate for laying down. That's not an especially good metaphor, as it means you wouldn't be able to drive it, and that would be a bit silly. There'll be a better metaphor to describe something worth keeping, but not in mothballs. Something to do with cheese perhaps. You'll have to think of your own unfortunately, as it's deadline time.

Here's the ad.

Author
Discussion

g7jhp

Original Poster:

5,926 posts

177 months

Friday 8th March
quotequote all
This lools like a great shed. Yes the haters will moan about the handling and they're not the fastest, but they're amazingly well built, very reliable and quick enough to hustle along.

The rear whiteline ARB is a bonus as it'll sort out body roll.

Looking standard it should be depreciation proof motoring.

I'm biased having a 2001 Mk4 GTI 1.8T and a 2008 Mk5 GTI. The Mk4 is still a fun car to drive.

Numeric

465 posts

90 months

Friday 8th March
quotequote all
I always thought this was the best shaped Golf (the C pillar gets me all hot and bothered) and in this spec with gentle tweaking this seems a super car.

And if ever an advert inspired confidence it is this one - great to see someone who really cares!!

Elesmart

289 posts

105 months

Friday 8th March
quotequote all
Good shed, but practically the same car as last week albeit a much nicer one.

There's a flat 6 and a V8 in shed budget in the classifieds this week....

https://www.pistonheads.com/classifieds/used-cars/...

https://www.pistonheads.com/classifieds/used-cars/...


eskidavies

2,755 posts

98 months

Friday 8th March
quotequote all
Elesmart said:
Good shed, but practically the same car as last week albeit a much nicer one.

There's a flat 6 and a V8 in shed budget in the classifieds this week....

https://www.pistonheads.com/classifieds/used-cars/...

https://www.pistonheads.com/classifieds/used-cars/...
That legacy is only about a 15. -20 min drive from me hmmmm

siovey

1,056 posts

77 months

Friday 8th March
quotequote all
Had one of these as a company car back in 2000. Lovely car. Reasonably quick and comfortable. However, having replaced a puma with it, I was genuinely shocked at the way it went round corners...yikes
Advertisement

2smoke

74 posts

50 months

Friday 8th March
quotequote all
This will surely divide opinion. It looks clean and well cared for, especially considering the mileage. Love the colour too, but then I have a tornado red mk7 PP.

CDP

5,605 posts

193 months

Friday 8th March
quotequote all
Elesmart said:
Good shed, but practically the same car as last week albeit a much nicer one.

There's a flat 6 and a V8 in shed budget in the classifieds this week....

https://www.pistonheads.com/classifieds/used-cars/...

https://www.pistonheads.com/classifieds/used-cars/...
The Scooby looks a good shout, he appears to be an enthusiast.

“A recent large bill on my Toyota MR2...”

I remember those very well, I suspect he is selling the wrong car.


Maxus

548 posts

120 months

Friday 8th March
quotequote all
That looks to be a very well cared for car. We had one remapped to around the same power. Absolutely transformed the car and felt like it should of out of the factory. A solid feeling car that was easy to work on, not that much needed doing (wiper linkage/window regulator/MAF). Great shed.

Oilchange

5,345 posts

199 months

Friday 8th March
quotequote all
siovey said:
Had one of these as a company car back in 2000. Lovely car. Reasonably quick and comfortable. However, having replaced a puma with it, I was genuinely shocked at the way it went round corners...yikes
Shocked how well or shocked how badly?

Nice colour I suppose but for a GTi that interior looks enormously un special.

HM-2

4,243 posts

108 months

Friday 8th March
quotequote all
eskidavies said:
Elesmart said:
Good shed, but practically the same car as last week albeit a much nicer one.

There's a flat 6 and a V8 in shed budget in the classifieds this week....

https://www.pistonheads.com/classifieds/used-cars/...

https://www.pistonheads.com/classifieds/used-cars/...
That legacy is only about a 15. -20 min drive from me hmmmm
A set of genuine Enkei RPF1s as fitted to that Leggy are worth not far off the price of admission, everything else aside.

Icehanger

273 posts

161 months

Friday 8th March
quotequote all
Wansn’t the Mk4 2.0Gti the first badge engineered car as in Europe it was just badged 2.0?

rastapasta

477 posts

77 months

Friday 8th March
quotequote all
eskidavies said:
Elesmart said:
Good shed, but practically the same car as last week albeit a much nicer one.

There's a flat 6 and a V8 in shed budget in the classifieds this week....

https://www.pistonheads.com/classifieds/used-cars/...

https://www.pistonheads.com/classifieds/used-cars/...
That legacy is only about a 15. -20 min drive from me hmmmm
have you not bought it yet?? you posted the comment hours ago. Go buy it and send us the photos.



RemyMartin81D

4,480 posts

144 months

Friday 8th March
quotequote all
Oilchange said:
Shocked how well or shocked how badly?

Nice colour I suppose but for a GTi that interior looks enormously un special.
I'd imagine shocked at how well, I've had both albeit a MK1 TT (but still a MK4 chassis)

The MK4 chassis was incredibly flabby!

smithyithy

4,226 posts

57 months

Friday 8th March
quotequote all
Icehanger said:
Wansn’t the Mk4 2.0Gti the first badge engineered car as in Europe it was just badged 2.0?
That was my understanding, yes. It was just a regular Mk4 with the 2.0 8v leftover engine from the Mk3, badged up with all-silver (easy way of spotting) GTI badges in the UK market.

Drive Blind

2,955 posts

116 months

Friday 8th March
quotequote all
Icehanger said:
Wansn’t the Mk4 2.0Gti the first badge engineered car as in Europe it was just badged 2.0?
there was also a 1.8 20v na 'GTI' with 125bhp.

This was only badged as GTI in the UK, got widely slated iirc. Same suspension as the base models, didn't get under 10 secs 0-60.

AC43

6,706 posts

147 months

Friday 8th March
quotequote all
I think I've liked every single shed this year and here's another one.

Someone near me has one of them parked up in a very smart street. Rather than go and get some 2.0 TDI SUV like everyone else he's kept his immaculate tweaked Mk 4 GTI. It's slightly dropped and has some Recaros and looks fabulous. I've no idea what's does done to it mechanically but it looks timeless.

I'd have one of them any day.

cnut

57 posts

126 months

Friday 8th March
quotequote all
From what I remember the first two GTI engines at the start of the MK4 era were the non turbo 1.8 20V (125bhp) and the turbo'd 1.8 20V (150bhp) I remember at the time VW decided to drop the non turbo 20V as people were complaining at how sluggish it was. This was oddly replaced with the 2.0 8V (115bhp) from the MK3 GTI which despite had less hp was actually much nicer to drive due to the better low down torque. Although even this was not worthy enough to warrant the GTI badge!

s m

17,238 posts

142 months

Friday 8th March
quotequote all
That's going to be pretty quick having 200bhp in just under 1300kg !

Baileyk

17 posts

3 months

Friday 8th March
quotequote all
Always thought the MK4 was a chubster compared to the MK3 (which I think is the looker of the early Golf's) when it first came out.

However, compared to modern cars, the MK4 now looks skinny!

st4

1,359 posts

72 months

Friday 8th March
quotequote all
Not a bad shed either. Bodywork looks pretty tidy.