Golf VI GTI "Edition 35" - Hip, Hip Hooray!

Weso – In the early 70's Volkswagen needed to replace what had become an influential vehicle in many a person’s life, the faithful Beetle, which still has a soft spot in my heart. The German company wanted to design a new car for their C segment market, so with the help of Gerhard R. Gumpert and some journalists they short-listed six cars that were most interesting to them at the 1969 Turin Motor Show. The designer that was chosen for having four out of the six most interesting designs was Giorgetto Giogiaro and through his creative mind the birth of the Volkswagen Golf Mk1 was pencilled. From ‘74 – ‘83 the Golf was a resounding global success story selling over 6 million units.

Original Golf MK1 GTI 1976
The original GTI daddy
Having owned two Mk1 Golf’s myself a 1984 1.6 and a 2006 1.6 velocity, I understand very well why they were popular for so many people, from first year varsity students to the wannabe street racers looking to add some mods and go to the drag races. In 1976 the popularity of the Golf inspired a sports version called GTI. The thinking behind the GTI was straightforward, take an economical car, give it some performance parts and presto, you have an affordable sports car. The 1.6 fuel injected GTI had 80kW and 140Nm of torque giving it a 0-100 in 9 seconds and a top speed of 180 Km/h. The models thereafter were very successful giving the GTI the apt name of “Hot hatch”. To celebrate this great heritage Volkswagen released the Golf 6 GTI Edition 35.

I was excited like a little boy in a candy shop knowing that I was about to share in this celebration. In true style and performance the GTI didn’t fail to deliver. However, I was hoping for more, especially since VW are celebrating. What I mean is, I would have liked something that stood out from the norm and shouted “this is 35 years of engineering excellence”. The small visual differences over the standard GTI include new body-colored side skirts, a slight front and rear bumper change and small ‘35’ badging finish off the exterior. Inside, the car comes with sports bucket seats with leather trim and "Edition 35" labels throughout. Under the hood they up the power a little by 18kW giving it an overall 173kW and 300Nm of torque. I must be honest as a GTI fan this did not inspire me as much as I hoped, especially after how excited I was to sample the party.
 The standard price for the GTI Edition 35 is R374,600 and the DSG R389,600. The tested vehicle we had came in at R405,000 with all the extras.  In my opinion I would rather get the standard GTI with DSG for less at R356,400.

In the end I still love the GTI: It’s fast, fun and fabulous. But don’t go to the party. Stick with the standard one instead.

AvonIt’s no secret that I like the GTI. If you’ve read my blog about the Golf VI GTI you’ll know why there are so many of these cars on our roads. Someone told me a very interesting bit of info about these which is: of all South African sales of the Golf VI; more than 50% of these are GTI models. This stat is uniquely South African.

The '35' is a fantastic car! The 173kW mill is properly fun and the balance of hot hatch performance with everyday driving comfort is so right. There is a definite difference in power between the standard GTI and this special edition so the work they’ve done to boost that turbo is not in vain. It’s fast for sure and even with the added grunt, the ride is well balanced and the torque steer is not intrusive.

On the performance front, the 0-100km/h sprint takes 6,6 seconds and it runs on to a top speed of 247km/h. What a love most about the upgrade in performance of this car is how it sounds. They've tuned the exhaust note to mimic something more raspy and throaty and it's a sweet sound to hear it swop. The Edition 35 also comes shod with Watkins Glen 18 inch wheels as well as all the extras Weso has mentioned.

I understand why Volkswagen has decided to celebrate this car especially in South Africa. We love our GTI’s so much and why wouldn’t we want a special edition Golf? What I like about this celebration is that it’s not a limited edition model. You can order them as stock is available which means VW are sticking to making ‘people’s cars’ and not trying the limited 1 out of 50 route that we see on other special edition cars.

Admittedly though, I get what Weso is saying. Yes the VW Golf VI GTI is an iconic all-round package worthy of all the love it gets and worthy of paying homage to its ancestors. But maybe VW could have done more with this car. It’s great for sure, but it’s just not special enough for me. It’s not a collector’s item for me and for that reason; I would also give it 2 cheers instead of 3.

AM -

VW Golf VI GTI Edition 35 pcitured next to Jayde Kruger's Formula Volkswagen championship winning racecar



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