Quintessential hot hatch gets an old engine and a new lease of life for its 35th birthday

Our Verdict

Volkswagen Golf GTI Edition 35

If the standard car is a little too tame, the 35 does offer an attractive compromise between the GTI and the four-wheel drive Golf R

17 June 2011

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

Join the debate


21 June 2011

Despite the mechanical changes to this car it doesn't appear to offer anything significant over the standard car. The 0.3 second to 60 is off set by the inferior emissions and the increased top speed is nothing more than academic. It all seems like a lot of work for no real gain.

Personally, I would welcome the reduction in refinement as it would endow the GTi with a little more character but I can understand why many of the cars fans would not be so enamoured.

The biggest issue for this car from what I can see is how do you improve on an already complete package without treading on either the Golf R or Sirrocco R's boots, special edition or not?



It's all about the twisties........

21 June 2011

[quote TegTypeR]The biggest issue for this car from what I can see is how do you improve on an already complete package without treading on either the Golf R or Sirrocco R's boots, special edition or not?[/quote]

No special edition not at all, just a marketing one, though I find the new alloy wheels sensational.

21 June 2011

The major bonus of this car is that a standard remap takes you to 300Bhp as is a K04 turbo car rather than 240Bhp on the standard K03 Gti. Apart from that you get the wheels, front spoiler and shiny badges which don't really add up to the premium being asked.

21 June 2011

No one bothered with the sterile, unimaginative interior and bus- like rear end?

Wait the next Mark VII, it will come soon and it will be much better!

21 June 2011

I'd save up the extra couple of grand and get a Scirocco R if it were me!


21 June 2011

I thought, from what I've read in specialist VW mags that this version is for Germany ONLY, so LHD. The UK will get something similar in 2014. So plenty of time to save your pennies.


21 June 2011

That's when we should get the 35, as it wasn't until 1979 that a right hand drive GTI was built. I reckon we'll get these in a few months. Never let it be said that VW let a marketing opportunity go by!

21 June 2011

I do like the Golf GTI in its current form. Residuals are good and I suspect you'll lose less money with the special edition despite the limited advantages.

What is interesting is the engine changes. To me, VW don't seem to have much faith in the current GTI engine beyond 210bhp. Most other VAG cars, especially in a higher tune (as the article states) revert to the older engine of the MK VI Golf GTI. I think this is odd and wondered how long VW will stick with the newer engine?

The comments section needs a makeover... how about a forum??

21 June 2011


21 June 2011

[quote Rich_uk] I think this is odd and wondered how long VW will stick with the newer engine?[/quote] Maybe they had a batch load of the older engines they needed to use up lol


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