VW Golf GTI MK1 AND MK 2 Review1977 - 1992

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Models Covered: Golf GTi MkI 1 1977-1984 (1.6, 1.8-litre three-door hatch [GTi, GTi Campaign])Golf GTi Mk 2 - 1984-1992: ( 1.8 three and five-door [GTI, 16v GTI] 1.8 Convertible [GTI, GTI Sportline, GTI Rivage] )

VW Golf Review

Quick Summary of the VW Golf

OVERALLVW Golf Overall Rating

Many maintain the original is the best. Others think that Peugeot possibly inherited Volkswagen's mantle with the 205 GTi. What's not up for debate is the Golf GTi's place in history. Shop around, buy one that's been unmolested by the Max Power brigade and which comes with a fistful of receipts and a careful previous owner and you should have a useable modern classic on your hands.


Very few cars can lay claim to spawning an entire market sector, but the Volkswagen Golf GTi is one of them. Before we even started referring to cars of its ilk as 'hot hatches' they were simply called GTis. For a while in the early eighties it seemed that almost every mainstream manufacturer had a hatch badged GTi on their books, riding on the coat tails of the Golf's phenomenal success.As with any such iconic car, a cult following has grown up around the Volkswagen Golf GTi and whilst today's versions are supremely well built and laden with luxury and safety features the two versions we examine here, the Mk1 and Mk2 cars are what most purists would refer to as 'real' Golf GTis. The early Mk1 cars are the collectors items but the 16v version of the Mk2 is still the car most enthusiasts would point to as the car that marked the greatest GTi moment.
Used VW Golf for sale

History of the Golf

Few who attended Volkswagen's stand at the 1975 Frankfurt Motor Show would have any inkling of the significance that the Golf Sport study would eventually have. Sold in Germany as the GTi in 1976, Volkswagen UK began importing it in left hand drive guise in 1977. It was still a very basic car, with metal bumpers and an interior that was extremely stark. Volkswagen's idea of a refinement was a push button radio with one speaker. Nobody really caught on to the genius behind the car until 1979 when right hand drive versions became available. Within two years the GTi had spawned a host of imitators such as the Ford Escort XR3, the Talbot Sunbeam Ti and the Vauxhall Chevette 2300HS. These were in turn followed by cars like the Vauxhall Astra GTE and the Peugeot 205 GTi.A five-speed gearbox was introduced in 1979 and a revised interior made an appearance in 1981. The following year the GTi got alloy wheels and in 1983 came the major development of the Mk 1 car when the 1.6-litre engine was replaced by a 112bhp 1.8-litre engine. Although enthusiasts note that the old 1.6 was a sweeter and more driveable powerplant, the extra torque of the 1.8 (109 vs 85lb/ft) made it a swifter performer.While the 1979 Golf GTI was the original right hand drive hot hatch, the 1983 Golf GTI Campaign was the limited edition run-out model of the Mk1 GTI and to many has become the most desirable. Based on a standard 3-door Golf Mk1, but with 112bhp Bosch injected engines, there was 112-115mph top speed, acceleration and roadholding to match. The Campaign continued the no nonsense approach that had become taken for granted on all Mk1 Golf GTIs. There were no automatics, five doors, or wide wheels. There were only ever a thousand Campaigns delivered to the UK. The Golf MkII GTI arrived in February 1984, a bigger and heavier model and while it lost some of the original lines, it updated the model and took the Golf into the 1980s; indeed it is one of the cars that defines the 1980s. Who can forg