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Having owned a MK4 Golf 1.8T GTI for the last three years and driven the car on all sorts of roads and in all sorts of weather conditions i have experienced all the car has to offer. In its factory state the golf is an enjoyable car to drive, offering impressive power from a straight 4 1.8 litre engine. This is thanks to the 20 valve engine working with the K03 turbo to produce 150bhp. I have made many journeys from Brighton to Manchester and the golf never skips a beat even after covering over 100,000 miles. Winter: A few winters back when there was the awful snow covering most of england i had to drive to work everyday in the golf. Now being a front wheel drive car i thought it would be a nightmare in comparison to the R32 and the 4motion golfs. But the reality was it coped surprisingly well on the ice and snow if driven with due care. The ABS and Traction control definitely played their part very well. Summer: My GTI came equipped with the climatronic AC which i am aware not all GTI's have, it is a brilliant system which keeps you nice and cool on those increasingly rare summer days. My only criticism is that the controls are positioned too low on the centre console which make it difficult to alter when driving. Servicing: It is a very easy car to service yourself with the filters and oil being very simple to change. Relatively cheap and easy get the service part as this engine was used in a whole range of other VWs, Skodas and Audis. Tuning: With the modern Golf GTI's producing 200+bhp i was left wanting more power but i couldnt afford a new golf and didnt want to get rid of MK4 as it is better looking car than the newer MK5's and MK6's (in my opinion). A remap will set you back around £200 for a generic ECU map, which with the addition of exhaust system and air filter will see a power output of around 200bhp depending on the parts. My golf has had many performance parts fitted which leave it happily keeping up with any modern Golf GTI, Focus ST etc..
The Volkswagen Golf GTI, reliable, Quick and fun to drive. That’s the image VW would like you to have and indeed one most of us hold, all of us in fact everyone except owners of a MKIV Golf GTI 1.8 / 2.0. Please pay careful attention to the model as we are not talking about the Turbo 1.8T but the sheep in wolfs clothing that is the “GTI”. The golf GTI has a reputation that many manufacturers would kill for, but amongst its many variants and 4 revisions lies a terrible secret. The latest GTI is only badged GTI in the UK, on the continent it is badged 1.8 or 2.0 (depending on the engine), why is this you may ask? Consider the facts, a 0 – 60 time of over ten seconds, a thirst for fuel that makes you popular at petrol stations and suspension that takes longer to react than and plumber on a tea break! The golf feels like a well built car, sadly this is another myth given a few thousand miles the golf starts to loosen up and guess what it rattles! In fact I may have been unlucky but it rattled from every nook and cranny, flooded the passenger footwell and the electric windows seized up twice!!. However it was probably just my Golf that did this after all “if only everything in life was as reliable as a Volkswagen” but time after time my visits to the dealer acquainted me with an underclass of VW owner that tell a similar story. It was a strange sort of comradeship with owners joking, “What’s wrong with yours this time” or the chilling “back so soon!” However all these problems can be easily rectified under warranty by courteous efficient dealerships with VW trained mechanics, of course it can, but you try finding one. After seven different dealers I ended back at the first having discovered that poor service is a VW brand value. You can of course console yourself with the fact that you have a GTI and this still comm ands respect from the driver next to you while parked on the M25. That is as long as they haven’t driven one!!!!