What is it?
The Volkswagen Golf GTI may not be the most powerful hot hatch on sale, but it manages to offer compelling performance at a price that makes it attainable for most.
Add entertaining front-drive handling, low running costs and class-leading quality and the sixth-generation GTI is hard to pass up. And even more so now with the arrival of this Edition 35, celebrating the 35th birthday of the original Golf GTI.
What's it like?
The only elements distinguishing the Edition 35 from the standard Golf GTI are a lightly altered front bumper, chrome ‘35’ badges, black exterior mirror housings, lightly reprofiled side sills and a new wheel design.
But it’s what has taken place under the bonnet that sets this car apart. The Edition 35 forgoes the latest EA888 engine used in the standard Golf GTI for the older and more robust EA113 unit, which, in a higher state of tune, also powers the four-wheel-drive Golf R and the Scirocco R.
Turbocharger boost pressure has been reduced from 1.2 bar to 0.9 bar over the Golf R, but it is still enough to give the Edition 35 a full 25bhp more than the standard Golf GTI, at 232bhp. Torque also rises by 15lb ft to 221lb ft, although it appears 500rpm higher up the rev range, at 2200rpm.
The Edition 35 has an eager nature but it never feels quite as refined as the standard GTI. VW claims 0-62mph in 6.6sec with the optional, rifle-action six-speed DSG ’box. Top speed also increases by 6mph to 149mph.
The drawback is increased fuel consumption. With a combined figure of 34.9mpg, the Edition 35 gives away 3.3mpg to the standard Golf GTI, and CO2 rises by 16g/km to 189g/km.
Dynamically, the Edition 35 is as engaging as ever, with impressive response from the electro-mechanical steering and a nice progressive nature as you approach the limits. An electronic differential ensures there are no tyre-scrambling antics out of low-speed corners and torque steer is noticeable only by its absence. The ESP is also calibrated to allow a good deal of slip before it intervenes.
Should I buy one?
A word of warning, though. Ride quality on the optional 19-inch wheels and 225/35 tyres can be harsh. Stick with the standard 18s and 225/40 rubber and you get a more composed ride on secondary roads.
Volkswagen Golf GTI Edition 35
Price: £27,800 (est); Top speed: 154mph; 0-62mph: 6.6sec; Economy: 35.3mpg (combined); CO2: 185g/km; Kerb weight: 1401kg; Engine: 4 cyls in line, 1984cc, turbocharged, petrol; Power: 232bhp at 5500rpm; Torque: 221lb ft at 2200rpm; Gearbox: 6-spd dual-clutch auto