Remarkably, given how common they are, only five Golfs have appeared in Shed of the Week in the last five years, and none of them have been V6-powered. This 2003 specimen uses VW's narrow-angle 24-valve V6 to produce 204hp and 195lb ft. Offering a nice dose of flexibility and refinement and a properly whooshy third gear, this engine gives the game old Mk 4 a couple of new dimensions as a relaxing cruiser or a snarly A-road stalker.
Nor will they have the 4Mo's Haldex 4WD system, which provides excellent traction out of corners wet or dry. This is a full-time arrangement that defaults almost entirely to the front wheels, with the rears getting up to maybe 30 per cent of the power when conditions dictate. Upgrades are available to make the balance more 50/50-ish, or to keep the system engaged when you take your foot off the throttle (at which point standard setups usually disengage), giving a degree of back-end engine braking. 4WD or not, our Shed will still naturally handle like a Mk 4 Golf, but you can de-roll it a bit by fitting a set of ARBs from an R32.
To keep your Fo'Mo running hard and true it's really worth looking after its drivetrain. The engine is a pretty sturdy lump that will take big mileages, but our Shed is at the point where timing chains can start to make themselves heard. Sorting that wouldn't be a cheap job. You're also well advised to change the Haldex oil at 20k intervals and the filter every 40k. Our car is within tolerance.
The other issue is fuel consumption. You can get more than 30mpg if you drive in a stately fashion, but realistically you're looking at mid to high 20s even on a motorway cruise, low 20s on mixed roads, and figures in the mid or even low teens in town or when pressing on.
Springs break, and indeed already have done on this car, not once but twice. Both rears went back in 2009, and the vendor says that these replacements have themselves just been replaced for the recent MOT. Wishbone and anti-roll bar bushes are known to go too, along with all the usual VW suspects of MAFs, window operating systems, anything with the word 'sensor' in it, and coil packs. On post-2002 BDE engines like this one there are six individual coils that cost around £30 a pop, but the general view is that you're less likely to experience the dreaded misfire on a six than you are on a four.
At launch, this was an expensive car (£24,000 plus options). There's no getting away from the fact that it's now an old once-expensive car, with all the running cost pitfalls that suggests, but even with the odd bits of brown showing through on the bodywork this full service history example looks like a potentially nice beater for winter use. The road tax is £305 a year, but you've got no MOT bills to worry about until next November. Use that money to keep the tank topped up - and pray for an uninterrupted supply of 95RON going forward, as the politicos say.
FSH and last serviced on 15/11/17 @ 103645 miles. 2 previous owners. Haldex diff oil & filter change carried out in November 2016. MOT expires 22nd November 2018 and had 2 new rear springs and a rear ABS sensor replaced for recent MOT. It is in good condition, performs well and has the lovely V6 growl.
It does have some surface rust on the wheel arches and there is also some corrosion around the boot handle. It comes with 2 keys. A full set of Michelin cross climate tyres were fitted 4000 miles ago.