Volkswagen Golf GTI 35 Review

By: Scott Newman , Photography by: Angelo Loupetis/Volkswagen

VW Golf GTI 35 VW Golf GTI 35 VW Golf GTI 35
VW Golf GTI 35 VW Golf GTI 35 VW Golf GTI 35
VW Golf GTI 35 VW Golf GTI 35 VW Golf GTI 35
VW Golf GTI 35 VW Golf GTI 35 VW Golf GTI 35

VW Golf GTI 35. Hot hatch's birthday celebrated with warmed up big brother.

Volkswagen Golf GTI 35 Review
VW Golf GTI 35


Volkswagen Golf GTI 35

There's a theory that athletes don't hit their prime until their mid-30s. Supposedly any reduction in physical ability is more than offset by the experience gained through years of tough competition. At 35, Michael Jordan won his sixth NBA championship, Michael Schumacher captured his seventh F1 crown, and while Kelly Slater didn't win the world surfing title in his 35th year, he has captured another three since.

So what the hell does all this have to do with Volkswagen's Golf GTI? Well, the clue is in the name. The Edition 35 celebrates 35 years since Volkswagen practically invented the hot hatch genre with the original GTI. Like its human counterparts, this automotive athlete may not be quite as agile as it once was (the current-gen car weighs 590kg more than the original for a start!), but three and a half decades of know-how have turned it into an incredibly accomplished car. Australian supplies are limited, with few left as we went to press.

Externally, the Edition 35 can be recognised by its unique 18-inch alloys, gloss black mirrors, different front bumper, smoked LED taillights from the Golf R and '35' badges on the front guards. It's available as a five-door only in white, red, grey and black. Inside, red stitching features on the steering wheel, handbrake and 'golf ball' gearknob - another nod to the Mk1 - and '35' logos adorn the door sills and headrests.

The biggest mechanical change for the Edition 35 is the adoption of a detuned version of the Golf R's direct-injection turbo four. The resultant 173kW/300Nm is 18kW and 20Nm up on a normal GTI, which uses a newer version of the 1984cc donk. The older engine also provides a welcome injection of character - power continues right to the redline accompanied by a rorty growl from the induction and exhaust. Transmission choice will be a matter of personal preference. The six-speed DSG 'box is probably a more attractive everyday proposition - and liberates VW's trademark 'blurt' on upshifts - but the six-speed manual is excellent for those that prefer to swap their own cogs.

The Edition 35 chassis is identical to the normal GTI. This means a grippy, composed and entertaining drive, albeit lacking the final dynamic edge of more hardcore hot-hatches like the Renaultsport Megane RS250. Adaptive Chassis Control is a $1500 box worth ticking - its three-way electronically-adjustable dampers offering better body control and a smoother, flatter ride than the stock set-up. 

But whatever the Golf lacks at 10-tenths, it more than makes up for with its superb day-to-day useability. Benchmark interior quality, a big boot and room for five makes it a hard-to-beat all-'round package. If I needed one car for every occasion, the GTI Edition 35 would be high on the list.



VW Golf GTI Edition 35

ENGINE: 1984cc 4cyl, DOHC, 16v, turbocharger

POWER: 173kW @ 5500-6300rpm

TORQUE: 300Nm @ 2400-5200rpm

WEIGHT: 1420kg

GEARBOX: 6-speed dual-clutch

0-100km/h: 6.6sec (claimed)

TOP SPEED: 246km/h (claimed)

PRICE $45,990 (DSG)


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