Yes, we have been loving the Golf GTi since its first ever model, the humble 1977 Mk1 GTi and we still have a unit in our garage. Over the last three decades we have owned 4 different Golf GTi’s. The MK2 GTi of course, the very best till today, the MK3 GTi which was a design mistake and also in our garage right now and the MK5 GTi, the over-engineered GTi.
When the MK6 GTi arrived, we were very tempted, but our MK5 GTi was still running very well and with its 6-speed manual gearbox (yes we have a manual 6-speed Golf GTi), we could not find a reason to move into a DSG GTi after hearing the many problems owners experienced worldwide.
So, we stuck to our MK5 with no regrets till today and now with prices of the MK6 dropping to below RM69k there are some Malaysians keen to upgrade their Japanese cars for some hot hatch German motoring.
The 6th generation Volkswagen Golf GTi or the MK6 was first introduced at the Paris Motor Show in October of 2008 and was proudly marketed as a ‘reengineered facelift’ to the popular MK5 Volkswagen Golf GTi. The MK6 GTi was actually an improved version of the MK5 GTi with all the cabin (plastic and panel fit issues) and engineering (auto gearbox, audio and turbo issues) complaints looked at.
Production of the MK6 GTi started in late 2008 and it continued until late 2013 in Europe with huge success. Under the hood, the MK6 GTi got the same 2.0 TSI engine as the MK5 but with a K03 BorgWarner turbocharger. With the MK6, VW product planners improved the cabin by leaps with better plastics and visual presentation, giving it the same quality look and feel as with an Audi A4 TFSI (which is more expensive). Exterior looks were ‘sharpened up’ with stronger defined lines and a more premium image to challenge the Mercedes A-Class and BMW 1 Series.
Today, after some 8 to 12 years later, there are dozens of used units for sale in our local classifieds and prices start from a sensible RM60k right up to RM120k for the last model. Launched in late 2009 by VW Malaysia for RM209,888 it sold very very well and even its direct rivals, the Ford Focus ST and the Mazda3 MPS could not match its sales popularity.
The VW Group’s light and compact EA888 engine delivered 207bhp and 280Nm of torque. Yes, it sounds so-so, but when you drive this GTi you would think there is at least 50bhp and 50Nm MORE under its bonnet. Response is instant, torque delivery impresses Porsche owners (that’s why many Porsche owners have a GTi in their garage) and it handles better than its rivals from Germany.
However, it is not all good news when buying a used MK6 GTi. The many problems plaguing the TSI engine and DSG gearbox continued for a few more years and first owners had to find private workshops to solve most problems.
Today, most used MK6’s and even the older MK5 GTi’s have had their many issues solved by previous owners and when you take ownership, all you need to be prepared for are a few issues:
Golf GTI Issues To Look Out For
1. Start with its air-conditioning system. The compressor is an unusual item that fails every 2-3 years. Getting a different brand will not work so you have to live with it. Keep aside RM3,500 or so for this replacement. We get ours done at an air-con sifu in PJ.
2. Then the DSG gearbox needs new lubricant and filter change every 40,000 to 45,000 kilometers due to our humid weather. Forget the recommended long suggested intervals. Do not try and save a few hundred ringgit, just get this done. Go to a trusted mechanic to make sure the lubricant actually gets changed.
3. Engine lubricant and filter change. Do not wait for the suggested 10,000km interval. Change the lubricant and filter before 7,000 kilometers. It’s going to save your engine in the long run.
4. Your power window and central locking might fail on you. Do not go back to the authorized service center and replace this. All you need is a smart mechanic to fix this. We have done it in PJ and it costs less than half of what the authorized service center will charge and will last another 5-6 years.
5. If the factory radio fails, don’t worry, it happened to us twice in 5 years and we made the mistake ONCE by buying our second unit from the service center (RM3,300). Get an aftermarket unit. They are much cheaper (less than RM1,900), last much longer and have more features.
6. There were a number of recalls on the MK6 over the early years like the timing chain tensioner failure and the failing water pump. Check the service record for these fixes.
7. The 2.0 direct fuel injection engine is famous for internal carbon buildup which needs periodic valve cleaning (from 60-80,000 kilometers) and this happens with other cars using the same engine. Audi Q5, A4, A6 and the early Passat and Tiguan.
Used Golf GTI Accessories to Avoid
When looking to buy a used MK6 or even a MK5 GTi start by getting a car that has NOT been tuned heavily. Most would have some form of tuning. Our MK5 is tuned to Stage 1, up to Stage 2 is acceptable. More power means a driver that enjoys chasing and scaring M3 and AMG drivers.
This also means over-worked engines and DSG’s. Best to get a standard or mild tuned GTi. Large wheels and sewer pipe sized exhausts should be avoided. Also, lowered cars means damaged underbody and worse, rattling interiors.
Used Golf GTI Asking Prices
Prices today in the used market varies from the year of manufacture to the accessories that have been added to the car by the current owners. There are some GTi’s with RM50k plus worth of aftermarket bits added. Do you need them? Well, it is your decision. We suggest clean, original, factory paint cars with full after warranty maintenance records to show all necessary work done.
This will provide you with an enjoyable motoring experience and a car that you might want to keep until Malaysia is back on its feet in 8-10 years time. Depreciation will be minimal and with the new MK8 GTi showing plenty of fancy electronics, a high tech cabin that could cost plenty to maintain and a power delivery that is not really all that much better when compared to the MK6 GTi.
The new MK8 GTi is powered by VW’s EA888 evo4 2.0-liter turbo engine which is claimed to provide 245bhp and 370Nm of torque which are very impressive figures. This will allow for a possible 0-100km/h run in about 6.4 seconds and a top speed of 250km/h will easily be reached.
The VW Golf MK7 GTi which remains a segment leader after all these years is powered by the EA888 2-litre turbocharged direct-injection petrol engine (TSI) with a revised cylinder head design. It produces 220PS (from 4,500 to 6,200 rpm) and takes also 6.4 seconds to sprint to 100km/h. Its maximum torque of 350 Nm is available from 1,500 to 4,600 rpm.
The Golf MK6 GTi uses the EA888 engine that delivers 208bhp and 280Nm of torque working with a 6-speed DSG that has been improved a little to give the driver a 6.8 seconds sprint to 100km/h and a top speed of 240km/h.
So, as you can see, the driving performance figures differ very little between the 208bhp MK6 and the all new 245bhp MK8 plus the 0-100km/h acceleration time is just a measly 0.4 seconds. In this economic climate, think quality ‘used’ over brand new might be a better option. Also, buying a used GTi with its warranty already finished, there are so many tuning options to whet your appetite.