Over the last year or so I've found myself with less and less time for cars, more so driving them for pleasure. I've been busy with work, personal life and; due to having zero qualifications that mean anything, studying to get pieces of paper that let employers know I can actually do what I say I can.
I've always been very much into hot hatches since I started driving, my first being a Mk5 Fiesta Zetec-S but namely the RenaultSport Clio. I've had 2 of them now, the first being my monaco blue Clio 172 which I owned for around 2 years and managed to take to the 'Ring twice and have an absolute blast in.
The second being my deep black 197 which I recently sold. This car I never really fell in love with but none the less was a brilliant car.
Anyhow...Due to my lack of time to enjoy my car on a good drive out, I decided to look for something quick, comfy, fun but still capable of enjoying when I do occasionally get an evening to myself. This led me on to looking at Mk5 Golf GTis. After some man maths, I convinced myself that stretching the budget to get myself an Edition 30 would be the best way to go, as looking at other limited edition Golfs like the Mk4 Anniversary, they hold their value better. And this is how I ended up with my 2007, 3 door Golf Edition 30 DSG.
The car is running a stage 1 map (god I hate the whole stage modifying bollocks) which sees it running around 300bhp, although it does currently have a slight boost leak. Over the last few weeks since I bought it it's done some long motorway miles an a lot of commuting to and from work, nothing to really show me what the car was capable of other than spinning up the tyres at most speeds on demand, something which I wasn't too confidence inspiring if I'm honest, even after fitting a full set of Michelin PS4s all round.
This brings me to last night. Last night on my way home from the girlfriend's house, when I went to overtake some utter satchel on the M60 slip road doing 30 mph only to be greeted by skipping tyres and a flashing ESP light on the dash I realised two things.
1) I think I might be scared of my own car...
2) I have no idea what this car is really capable of.
I’m fortunate enough to live 20 minutes away from the Saddleworth Moors, one of my favourite local proving grounds for cars. The roads are everything you've come to expect from a British b road; unforgiving, fast and uneven. Tonight after the drivetribe launch on YouTube I decided to take the car for a blast to try and get to grips with it and figure out where the limits were.
My findings? The car is deceptively quick and covers ground extremely well, throw the 'box into "manual" mode and it's great fun and much less prone to spin the wheels up. I've not enjoyed a drive like that since selling the 172 that met its fate at the hands of a southern friend who needed the engine for another car. The steering feel is brilliant and gives you bags of confidence when chucking it into a bend and the standard suspension; as tired as it may be by now, really does eat up all the bumps and uneven surfaces. It doesn't try to throw you into the nearest field, it had tonnes of mechanical grip and the power band is much bigger than the Clios thanks to the K04 turbo that hides under the bonnet.
In short. I love it. I expected the car to be a lot less fun to drive than the clio was and the lack of a gearstick to really take a lot away from the driving experience but it just doesn't. This car really does live up to its reputation of being a return to form for VW after some very disappointing GTIs, I can only imagine the Mk6 and 7 are even better.
This definitely won't be my last fast golf.