The Rocky Road That Led Us To The Golf GTI Mk5



We don’t ever want to add to the Fake News conspiracy with our own sage words of opinion, but would confidently say everyone in America and Europe has heard of the Golf GTI. Everyone. We would even go as far as saying as 50% of people have owned one at some point in their lives. Sure, most of them may have done so for reasons that don’t go beyond getting from A to B, but for many their reasons for ownership went further, into the realms of car enthusiasm.


But while we may not be able to answer how this car became as famous as say Ferrari and Land Rover, we can quickly run through the history of each one and what its reign was like.


Golf GTI Mk1

Technically the Sport Golf that replaced the Beetle was the first Golf, but the 1983 Mk1 took it to a whole new level, bearing a 112bhp, 1.8-litre engine that had a pretty direct line to more torque. It also took things up a notch with its 5-speed gearbox. The result was phenomenal. The result was an Ali type punch allowing this hot hatch to hit 60mph in just over 8 seconds. As for the interior, it was understated and useable, with a chunky cassette player. It was a long drive dream.


Golf GTI Mk2

The Mk2 became so revered that it still remains the model that springs to mind when the term Golf GTI is floated around. It still had a lot of resemblance to its big brother, inheriting a lot of the style inside and out. But the main difference was the size. Its big brother may have been older but this one was bigger. It was wider and longer and heavier – about a passenger heavier, in fact. The problem was it had the same engine, which made it about a second slower on its way to 60. That said, just a quick look at the specs on should show why it is considered to be the better car to drive thanks to brakes that work, better steering and much easier to manage.


Golf GTI Mk3

Bringing out the next era was no easy feat because the Mk2 was adored. However, by the time the Mk3 was ready to come out, there were new criteria to meet. The first was safety, which saw the new edition become bigger and heavier in an attempt to stop the amount of calls being made to or whoever the equivalent was back then. They also wanted to make the car more refined, namely with its fuel efficiency and handling. The result, a less impressive performance. In fact, this is what led it to become a very complained about car.


Golf GTI Mk4

This model is the least popular model in the Golf GTIs forty-plus year history. Just looking at the exterior – the boring exterior – it is not hard to see why it was the public was not bothered. And neither are we. So, moving on…


Golf GTI Mk5

This is the car that pulled it all back. It is a truly tremendous time in Golf’s history, and a generation of GTI’s that is positively scorching. It produced almost 200bhp, had a top speed of 146mph and did 62 in 7.2 seconds. Basically, it brought the GTI badge back from the dead. This car feels like a track car, and yet it is ideal for the road.


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