The Golf GTI Edition 30 is special - here's why

Do you think it's as great as I say?

20w ago

My First Review

Hi, I'm Finlay and this article has sat in my drafts for a couple of months now and I've been putting off posting it. It got to a point where I just went 'why not give it a try?' and so here we are. I hope you enjoy.

I'm 15 and far too interested in cars. My age is obviously burdensome because I've never come further than a gaming steering wheel or a young driver's experience when it comes to actually driving a car. But rest assured, I will be creating the driving part of my review from the advisement of people who have been past 3rd gear. I've always been interested in all things automotive and in writing so please let me know your opinions about my articles and of the car itself in the comments.

The Story behind it

To set the scene; It's 2008, you're looking for a second car to partner your rather dreary Peugeot 208. You've had a Golf before in the form of a MK4 Diesel (I know - how exciting) What do you find and what do you buy? Answer: a Golf GTI, but not any GTI - an Edition 30 230.

This was the situation my Grandad found himself in when I was just 2. He bought this very well maintained vehicle when it was only a few months old; he would carry on to own and drive it up until the present. He housed it in his garage and drove it sparingly, the miles totted up over time to a little over 40,000 but when you climb in it still has that satisfying new car smell because of its extensive service history. ​

the car

So, why is it so special? The clue is in the name as it is the 30th Anniversary edition of the original GTI which released in 1976 in Germany and 1977 in the UK. This particular model is number 407 of the 1500 made for the UK and is one of the most rare examples of the highly coveted MK5 GTI. It was tweaked slightly from the normal model with new BBS 18 inch rims, smoked headlights, a subtle body kit and colour coded exterior trim on the outside with unique interior inlays, a dimpled golf ball gear knob, the wonderful tartan patterned trim, some red stitching around the inside and a small plaque when you open the passenger side door in the cabin. These changes might seem ostentatious to some but it actually comes off as very refined and a subtle nod to those that know what their looking at. The car very successfully emulates the feeling of the original GTI; a reasonably priced, practical boy racer car with the performance to match.

In terms of performance and driving; it was given the engine from its more powerful brethren in the Volkswagen Group family; the 227 bhp 2.0 litre engine from the Audi S3 of the same era. It was tuned down a bit from the S3's 265 bhp but sports a larger turbocharger and uprated internals which make it perform better and last for longer. When driving, it has a very sporty feel and will leave you grinning ear-to-ear round every bend. By today's standards its not very powerful or overly fast but as soon as you get in it feels like none of that matters. It is a car to be driven every week or so just for the sake of it; the steering is sporty but adaptable at speed, the throttle response is on point and the gearchange is notchy, swift and easy. The brakes always feel reliable and strong and the noise is wonderful. There is a throaty 2.0 Litre rumble and a large amount of turbo and induction noise especially with the windows open. The car will very easily put power down efficiently whenever required but it is relatively sedate otherwise. There is also the tiniest bit of turbo lag before throttle pick up which makes it ever more exciting.

No this car isn't the fastest, the most powerful, the most well equipped, the most expensive and I'm sure many would argue its not anything nearly as special as I say it is. But, quite simply, I don't care. This car is just pure driving pleasure as any GTI should be. It's analogue motoring; there's no excessive touch sensitive features or large screens, no buttons on the wheel or driving modes. Just get in and go.

It was produced just as the market changed from gated manual supercars to Dual-Clutch Semi-Automatic 700BHP+ monsters. Cars endured this change in their ethos, going from a fun and engaging feel to more effective and useable - chasing a 0-60 time more than a driver's pleasure. Though, I'm not one to complain in terms of performance of new cars I just think this is perfect the way it is: the last of the analogue motor cars and perfect for on-road driving.

As much as I would like the haptic feedback buttons and Apple CarPlay of the new MK8 GTI for day-to-day driving. In my opinion, to have a car which you care for and take out on the weekends, this is a very good option. Another benefit is if you find one in good condition such as this one it will only appreciate in value as it (hopefully) achieves modern classic status.

If I was to note its foibles, I would cite the seats which are not as bolstered as much as I'd like, the dial cluster which is dark and difficult to read and a rather annoying rattle which is unique to this vehicle and still eludes me and everybody in my family. But other than that it is perfect for a car of it's era. Every detail works (including the flushed window sills for better mirror visibility - yes I actually find that interesting).

the verdict

This car provides a perfect blend of performance and practicality and is a perfect time capsule into a time not so long ago. Even if it isn't to today's standards the fact remains that the Volkswagen Golf Mk5 is a brilliant car, the GTI is even better than that and the Edition 30 is just the pinnacle of the front wheel drive VWs. I love it, plain and simple.

I thought this would be a good way of starting writing on DriveTribe so thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed. Please give this a like and leave a comment. Tell me what you thought of the review or talk about your own car and why it's so special to you. Also, look out for more articles coming very soon.

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Comments (5)

  • Yep you pretty much nailed it. I've one and have kept it completely standard apart from a simple Revo stage 1 upgrade which gives her 311 bhp...😊 It's a great car and so much fun!

      29 days ago
  • That interior! 😍 Any Golf not sporting plaid is under-dressed. πŸ˜€

      4 months ago
  • Great review πŸ‘πŸΌ

    My favourite Golf to choice is the mk5, I prefer the chunky/curved body era of the cars even the mk6 carried some shape onwards.

    Thats definitely going to be a future classic

    Your post was a pleasure to read

      2 months ago