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Old 5th February 2014, 01:00   #1
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Default Beginning of a GTI era: My VW Golf GTI Mk4

Quote:
If you don’t look back after parking your car, you probably didn’t buy the right one
– courtesy to makeameme.org


In that sense, I consider myself very lucky as I not only look back at it, but make excuses to come back and be around the car.
Hello everyone, I would like to share ownership experiences of my new (old) car. It was bought second hand.

My car is a VW Golf GTI Mk4. It was manufactured in 2004 and had a fair 136100 kms on its odometer when I bought it. The technical details go as below for quick reference,
Engine – 2.3 L, Vr5
Power – 170 hp (125kw) at 6200rpm
Torque – 220 NM at 3300 rpm
Transmission – 5 Speed Manual


Beginning of a GTI era: My VW Golf GTI Mk4-tn_dsc_0045.jpg


Beginning of a GTI era: My VW Golf GTI Mk4-tn_dsc_0046.jpg




Things to fancy about this car:
  • The raw and plenty power available under the hood.
  • Butter smooth gear shifts
  • Top notch handling
  • Rock solid build quality
  • Breath-taking sound of the engine
  • Umpteen number of gizmo that would leave you amazed.
  • The brand name GTI
Things that could cause worry:
  • The low Ground Clearance.
  • Expensive German service.
  • Gizmo’s going wrong.
  • Fuel efficiency
  • Reliability issues of A/C and other stuff.
(Have I missed out something )



Basically I would call myself a biker more than a car enthusiast. This is my first car and I have never fancied buying a car till I reached here in Middle East.




Buying the Golf:
The same old story of searching for months together applied here also in my case. Fortunately, my pains were equally divided as my fellow bhpians of Cochin also took up the task. The search went on 3 odd months before I could actually finalize on this car. I owe a major share of gratitude to the bhpians, especially SpeedDemon who helped me a lot here.
In between I also had a chance to drive a couple of Automatic cars like Mitsubishi Galant and Nissan Tiida for a short duration. But being a less experienced driver, I chose to go for Manual transmission to know the car better and also I never fancied the idea of auto gearboxes.
Before this golf, I actually had TD ed a 2.8 L, V6 4 motion golf and also was in touch with many other owners of golf. But this was the best I found till date both in terms of price and quality. I was unable to check out all the cars as there were barriers of distance, asking price etc.
So after I checked out this car and TD ed it. I came the next day with a colleague who owns a GTI same as my current car, to hear about the car from him. When he sounded positive, I struck the deal and registration, transfer was done in 2-3days time.

(To be contd..)

Last edited by GTO : 14th February 2014 at 15:44. Reason: As requested
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Old 7th February 2014, 14:47   #2
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Default re: Beginning of a GTI era: My VW Golf GTI Mk4

Looks, Build Quality and Design:

As we can see, the car looks beautiful. I like this gti more than the ones that roll out now. Sour Grapes I guess. The old golf according to me looked the best in blue and black (I like the red too a bit) and I am happy to own the VW blue. I had earlier quoted for a black golf just because of its looks but TD ing made me realise that its not worth.

Talking about this car, it has an added spoiler at the back by one of the previous owners which adds to the look. Its sleek and a fun car from its look itself.

Build quality is super strong. VW has always made reliable cars. When you open the door, you know that this car is safe. The panels are so heavy. Reciting one of the incident of my colleague (who owns the same car as mine), he was rammed from the back by a Daihatsu. Golf was left with a mere scratch while the other car had all kinds of leak from the front with some damages.

Beginning of a GTI era: My VW Golf GTI Mk4-tn_dsc_0043.jpg

Design is sleek and VW designers need to applauded on this feat. They have kept it simple but I still liked the design of the car. Its eye catching, alloys look beautiful and overall people do take a note of this car. I now can't imagine having a polo, because golf just sets the standard really high.

Beginning of a GTI era: My VW Golf GTI Mk4-tn_dsc_0047.jpg

The alloy is something that appeals

Beginning of a GTI era: My VW Golf GTI Mk4-tn_img_20140204_192301.jpg

Beginning of a GTI era: My VW Golf GTI Mk4-tn_img_20140205_094239.jpg

Beginning of a GTI era: My VW Golf GTI Mk4-tn_img_20140206_172211.jpg

Last edited by GTO : 12th February 2014 at 12:44. Reason: Taking Live
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Old 7th February 2014, 15:12   #3
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Default re: Beginning of a GTI era: My VW Golf GTI Mk4

Ride, Handling and Stability:

This is the section where the golf really excels. Ride is out of the world. Handling is mind blowing and stability of the car is awesome.

Key the ignition and the Vr5 Engine comes to life with a sweet roar.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/V5_engine

small reference to Vr5 engines.

The sound just gives immense pleasure. I turn on the music now a days so that I don't hear the engine sound. Hearing the engine sound makes me go faster and faster. The ride is involving. Right from the gear one the car makes you feel that it has got some serious horses under the hood. The way the car picks up from the low end with a grunt is just worth mentioning.

It can take corners at 100-110 kmph with out scaring the driver. Such is the handling and stability of the car. This is more than enough for a normal car I guess. TCS and ESP are switched on by default when the car is in motion. It can be switched off with the help of a push button on the dash. The ABS has helped me in every possible way in tricky situations.

The suspensions are old and not at its best. I think golf comes with a stiff suspension. That is one thing that bothers me right now but still they are not bad,doing its job. The clutch is a bit heavier than the normal car. The steering feedback is also good. The steering weighs average, not too light or not too heavy which is to my liking. Brakes are confidence inspiring. The gear shifts are slick and positive and the gearbox is bombproof reliable, so is the engine.


Overall, this car is 4.5 stars in this department. I would reserve the 0.5 stars for the supercar's I would drive someday.

Beginning of a GTI era: My VW Golf GTI Mk4-tn_dsc_0050.jpg

PS I have removed this cover already. Now it has a fine black stitched leather on (shown below)

Beginning of a GTI era: My VW Golf GTI Mk4-tn_dsc_0048.jpg

Engine Bay

Beginning of a GTI era: My VW Golf GTI Mk4-tn_dsc_0040.jpg


Beginning of a GTI era: My VW Golf GTI Mk4-tn_dsc_0041.jpg

Last edited by voyageur : 8th February 2014 at 01:09.
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Old 7th February 2014, 16:05   #4
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Default re: Beginning of a GTI era: My VW Golf GTI Mk4

Interiors, Comfort and Ergonomics:

This car is more driver focused. The driver can sit in adjust his seats and steering and drive away. I am afraid it doesn't do much justice to rear passengers.

The driver seats gets backrest adjustments, seat lowering levers and all needed adjustments. There is also 3 memory buttons which can help remember 3 seat and mirror adjustments.

The rear legroom is just enough and this car is just suitable for 2 passengers in the rear. The ergonomics is a bit weird I feel because even after adjusting the seat I could feel my thigh close to the steering wheel. I adjusted a bit more but still I feel that is all it can offer. I haven't had a chance to go more than a 100km stretch so I can't be judging much on the ergonomics part now.

Boot space is adequate I feel. Plenty of space to fill my stuff in.
Beginning of a GTI era: My VW Golf GTI Mk4-tn_img_20140203_132003.jpg

Beginning of a GTI era: My VW Golf GTI Mk4-tn_img_20140203_132024.jpg
Attached Thumbnails
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Beginning of a GTI era: My VW Golf GTI Mk4-tn_dsc_0049.jpg  

Beginning of a GTI era: My VW Golf GTI Mk4-tn_dsc_0039.jpg  


Last edited by voyageur : 8th February 2014 at 02:17.
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Old 8th February 2014, 01:40   #5
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Default re: Beginning of a GTI era: My VW Golf GTI Mk4

Gizmos and Features :

In the first section, I had mentioned that there are umpteen number of gizmos and toggle switches to play around with. But today's car might them all. I was impressed by the fact that they had them all on around early 2000's. The ESP and TCS combined with ABS is one of the main features. Climatronics, Cruise control, Front Airbags, Rain sensor etc are some other noteworthy features.

To be really frank, I am still researching on them. I wonder what it would be like to drive a modern German car.

Beginning of a GTI era: My VW Golf GTI Mk4-tn_dsc_0047.jpg

(look at those bookmarks. I wonder when I am getting done with the user manual)


Beginning of a GTI era: My VW Golf GTI Mk4-tn_dsc_0044.jpg

Service and other mods:

As we all know about VAG group, the service is no cheap. As far as I have known from my sources, they don't do a great job. I would never want to go to them for that. Like others I am planning to get the job done by some local garage.

The attachment shows a service bill for 5 yrs / 100,000 kms. I had the worst scare of my life seeing it. Mind you that 1 Aed = 17 Inr. That makes the below bill more than 1,70,000 Inr.

Beginning of a GTI era: My VW Golf GTI Mk4-tn_dsc_0051.jpg

This car needs good suspension. Also a racing chip can get the power to 225 hp. But to speak about mods, I am not planning anything for time being. Maintaining a legend comes with its price. The brakes give kind of sound, so I might need to replace the brake liners or disc plates. The clutch also is weak I feel. So does the starter motor shaft makes weird noise while starting. In short it has fair amount of problems to trouble me. Getting all these sorted shall be my next priority.

Last edited by voyageur : 8th February 2014 at 02:15.
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Old 8th February 2014, 02:11   #6
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Default re: Beginning of a GTI era: My VW Golf GTI Mk4

Before I end, a couple of words from my side
  • This no way qualifies for a review or an ownership thread I guess, but I wanted to pay tribute to the GTI which I am a great fan of. (so is Speed Demon who was my car buddy in the whole process)
  • I would have obviously gone for a Japanese car which is cheap ( I doubt the reliability factor of old japs as they may require more frequent attention than a German car), but I always wanted my first car to be something that I would proudly remember in the future and boast around to others.
  • Buying a Manual Transmission car is a suicide in Middle East, neither do they find easy buyers nor are they any easy to use in the huge traffic. I don't know whether that will be a curse.
  • The GTI is really forgiving, I have at times being harsh on it (unknowing mostly) but still it treated me well.
  • I loved the way Germans take note of the minute details. There is a small light in the boot which enables us to see, even if the car is off. There are many other small things that would make us appreciate their precision in building cars.

Some parting shots

The beautiful dials with blue back lights, Really a treat for the eyes.
Beginning of a GTI era: My VW Golf GTI Mk4-tn_img_20140201_193314.jpg

Name:  tn_DSC_0051.jpg
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Size:  63.9 KB

Beginning of a GTI era: My VW Golf GTI Mk4-tn_dsc_0037.jpg

And I saved the best for last

Beginning of a GTI era: My VW Golf GTI Mk4-tn_dsc_0042.jpg

Hope everyone enjoyed the write up. Thanks for being patient.

Last edited by voyageur : 9th February 2014 at 01:19.
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Old 12th February 2014, 12:48   #7
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Default re: Beginning of a GTI era: My VW Golf GTI Mk4

Thread moved from the Assembly Line (The "Assembly Line" Forum section) to the Initial Ownership Section. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 12th February 2014, 16:11   #8
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Default re: Beginning of a GTI era: My VW Golf GTI Mk4

A nice little no frills write up there. Very nice pics too. Finally u made some some good use of your camera. The pain you took finally paid off didnt it ? Wonderful hatch, the Golf. Hope it serves you for many more miles. Keep revving and drive safe.
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Old 12th February 2014, 16:18   #9
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Default re: Beginning of a GTI era: My VW Golf GTI Mk4

Congrats buddy on getting your hands on which is undoubtedly one of the best hot hatches of all time!

I'm so happy you finally got the car you wanted, that too with a manual tranny!

That engine is a beast, I'm sure you must be revving the nuts off it just to listen to the noise!

The UAE may not have any Alpine style mountain roads, but the open highways can really show you what this monster is capable of!

Wish you millions of happy miles ahead!!
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Old 12th February 2014, 17:44   #10
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Default re: Beginning of a GTI era: My VW Golf GTI Mk4

Quote:
Originally Posted by aswin ajith View Post
A nice little no frills write up there. Very nice pics too. Finally u made some some good use of your camera. The pain you took finally paid off didnt it ? Wonderful hatch, the Golf. Hope it serves you for many more miles. Keep revving and drive safe.
Glad that you liked the write up. It's seriously a great car, hence decided to dedicate a thread for it. Once again thanks

Cheers

Quote:
Originally Posted by Speed.Demon View Post
Congrats buddy on getting your hands on which is undoubtedly one of the best hot hatches of all time!

I'm so happy you finally got the car you wanted, that too with a manual tranny!

That engine is a beast, I'm sure you must be revving the nuts off it just to listen to the noise!

The UAE may not have any Alpine style mountain roads, but the open highways can really show you what this monster is capable of!

Wish you millions of happy miles ahead!!
Thanks mate. I am happy to have Golf as my first car and I'm afraid I already know what it is capable This would remain to be one of my favorite car till the end.

Cheers
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Old 12th February 2014, 19:20   #11
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Default re: Beginning of a GTI era: My VW Golf GTI Mk4

Man, awesome review of an awesome car. You must be proud to show off this beast as your first car. I'm glad the looong car hunt finally came to its end.

The pics have come out well too.

As you said, work on the immediate issues and then think of mods. I would suggest one more thing here. Get a thorough cleanup of the interiors. It looks a bit dusty and soiled.

Drive safe.
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Old 12th February 2014, 23:26   #12
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Very well conceived review voyageur.
And beautiful pics too.
As someone has already said, you have atlast put some good use to your camera. Else it was clicking pics of snooker tables only.

Speed.Demon particularly would be very happy to see you driving around this beast, all of 170 hp.
And as of what I know, he is yet to forgive you for buying a camera before you bought the car.

Wishing you many many happy miles ahead.
Cheers
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Old 12th February 2014, 23:48   #13
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Default re: Beginning of a GTI era: My VW Golf GTI Mk4

Thats an Mk4 Sir. Mk5 came out in 2005.

But still great buy. Mind sharing how much you paid?

And be sure to take it up UAE's twisty roads like Jebel Hafeet and now Jabal Jais.

Wish you millions of happy miles with it.
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Old 12th February 2014, 23:54   #14
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Default re: Beginning of a GTI era: My VW Golf GTI Mk4

Congrats buddy. Finally, after endless searching and discussion you found. Happy for you mate.

Nice review btw. Nice pics too. Would love to see more though.

Drive safe bro. Keep her well maintained.

Note: If my ship comes there you can expect me on your doorstep, for a drive
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Old 13th February 2014, 00:41   #15
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Default re: Beginning of a GTI era: My VW Golf GTI Mk4

Quote:
Originally Posted by BigBrad View Post
Man, awesome review of an awesome car. You must be proud to show off this beast as your first car. I'm glad the looong car hunt finally came to its end.

The pics have come out well too.

As you said, work on the immediate issues and then think of mods. I would suggest one more thing here. Get a thorough cleanup of the interiors. It looks a bit dusty and soiled.

Drive safe.
Thanks mate !!! I am glad you liked my car. Got to take it to the garage soon. So I have kept the clean up pending.

Hope your white punto is doing great. Still remember reading its ownership thread.

Cheers.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dhanushmenon View Post
Very well conceived review voyageur.
And beautiful pics too.
As someone has already said, you have atlast put some good use to your camera. Else it was clicking pics of snooker tables only.

Speed.Demon particularly would be very happy to see you driving around this beast, all of 170 hp.
And as of what I know, he is yet to forgive you for buying a camera before you bought the car.

Wishing you many many happy miles ahead.
Cheers
Thanks Dhanush. Finally I had to clean the cobwebs and take out the camera.

Now all that Speed.Demon wants is to be the stig and rip my car around the corners. I wonder if the car will be able to withstand his aggression

Thanks again buddy, Cheers.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Aditya666 View Post
Thats an Mk4 Sir. Mk5 came out in 2005.

But still great buy. Mind sharing how much you paid?

And be sure to take it up UAE's twisty roads like Jebel Hafeet and now Jabal Jais.

Wish you millions of happy miles with it.
Thanks Aditya for the kind words. I am yet to visit Jebel Hafeet and Jabal jais and other places. Need to do it soon.

I was in touch with the owner for a week and the initial asking price was 16,000 Aed. I got it down finally to 13,500 Aed. He was a really nice guy. Since manual tranny cars find really less buyers here, he must have also found relief that he is able to sell it off.

Regarding Mk4 and Mk5, I am still in doubt regarding that. I know that Mk5 golf had got a visual upgrade and this looks Mk4-ish. The thing is that, Mk5 went in Europe for sale in 2003. And the internet states Mk5 was in production from 2004-2009. I am not sure about Gulf though. My colleague has a carbon copy of this car which is Mk4 (2002 make) so I believe you are right. But I just went by the facts in Internet.

Thanks again buddy, Cheers.

Quote:
Originally Posted by vaisakhr View Post
Congrats buddy. Finally, after endless searching and discussion you found. Happy for you mate.

Nice review btw. Nice pics too. Would love to see more though.

Drive safe bro. Keep her well maintained.

Note: If my ship comes there you can expect me on your doorstep, for a drive
Thanks Vaisakh. I will be happy to have you here. Just let me know if you are passing by. Glad that you liked my pics. Great to hear that from you mate.

Cheers.
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