Hot hatches have long been a favourite of the car enthusiast community, with arguably no car having as much influence over this segment as the Volkswagen Golf GTI.
It has been roughly 46 years since the launch of the original Mk1 GTI, and I decided to go out – online – and find the best-priced second-hand Golf GTI that I would want to buy.
What I found is none other than the 2011 GTI Mk6.
This well-received 6th-generation strikes a good balance between looks, comfort, and modernity – and has a price tag that you will appreciate.
How the Mk6 has aged
From the outside, the Mk6 remains attractive – even after nine years.
With the aggressive styling of the front, smooth lines and corners, and a sporty stance, the Mk6 does not show its age quite as much as its competitors from the era.
I would go so far as to say it rivals some of the newer vehicles on the market today.
The interior, however, has more signs of a bygone era.
The infotainment system offers few features compared to the standards of today – for example, there is no option for Bluetooth connectivity.
The steering wheel looks outdated with its plastic middle also used in cheaper models of some Volkswagens at the time, and the materials used do not have the same premium feeling you get with the newer generations.
All these issues are minor, though, and you will find well-specced models out there with some comforts included, such as heated leather seats, a multi-function steering wheel, and a sunroof for those spirited weekend drives.
The Mk6 boasts a 2-litre turbocharged inline 4-cylinder engine, coupled with a 6-speed automatic gearbox, that offered 155kW at launch and propelled the GTI from 0-100km/h in 6.9 seconds.
It went on to reach a top speed of 238km/h when the car was new.
Inevitably over time it has lost some power, but this will be barely noticeable, as it still offers an exciting driving experience that is both capable around corners and in straight lines.
As long-term owners and a large source of online forums will tell you, the Mk6 has been reliable over the years, too, with only minor issues experienced.
The most common issues being the replacement of the water pump, and a replacement of an unreliable engine timing chain tensioner in the older models – according to the Klipnik Golf Mk6 buying guide.
Neither of these fixes are extremely expensive within themselves – however, it is worth noting that they can cause expensive problems if not tended to.
Finding a well-maintained model is not too difficult, and for around R300,000 you can become a GTI owner.
One model I found on AutoTrader is a great example of a not-too-bad-mileage – 94,000km – Mk6 Golf GTI, priced at R239,995 and sporting upgrades such as xenon headlights, a sunroof, heated leather seats, and a full franchise service history, according to the advert.
Comparing that to what you will get for the same amount of money in the new car market today is not a tough exercise, thanks to the exciting overall package and barely noticeable aging.
If you happen to be in the market for a Mk6 GTi, or any car for that matter, you can avoid plenty of pitfalls by following these steps before making a decision:
- Make sure that you only deal with a trusted dealership or individual that you know.
- Look for newer models if possible
- Perform a multi-point inspection of the car and the main problem areas of the model.
- Retrieve as much history about the car as possible.
The Volkswagen Mk6 GTI is a great package that offers exciting driving dynamics as well as comfort and practicality, making it a worthy contender for the best second-hand VW Golf GTI on offer today.
If you are looking for an affordable way to have a lot of fun while still being able to carry a family and luggage, then look no further than this beauty.