It has received more plaudits than many will care to remember, and there’s perhaps more heritage attached to the Golf GTI than any other hot hatch.
But now that 30 years have passed since the launch of the iconic original, the hottest Golf GTI of them all is set to add exclusivity to the deal as well.
Just 1,500 Edition 30s will be available in the UK, and there’s enough to set it apart from the standard GTI: a power jump to 230bhp from the standard car’s 200, bespoke 18-inch alloys, a deeper front spoiler, retro-style cloth trim, a golf ball-style gearknob and Edition 30 badging.
The snag is there’s a £1,715 price hike to go with it – Edition 30 models start from £22,295 for the three-door – but at first glance the added cachet, extra power, tweaked interior and bigger wheels would seem to offer good value.
So how does it all add up? A top speed of 152mph and 0-62mph in 6.8 seconds are countered by combined fuel economy of 34.0mpg, CO2 emissions of 194g/km and a rock-solid residual value prediction of 46% after three years/60,000 miles according to CAP – figures that would appear to enable you to have your cake and eat it.
Couple that with everyday practicality and a stellar entertainment factor and you find yourself searching for any real downsides – apart from its limited availability.
Behind the wheel
It’s well-known that the standard Golf GTI offers a stunning drive, but the added 30bhp punch delivered by the Edition 30 version adds a satisfying extra dimension to the performance.
In any gear, acceleration is impressive, delivered with just the right balance of engine and exhaust noise, and there’s a precision to the dynamics that brings a real smile to your face.
Nor is it achieved at the expense of ride quality: the Edition 30 blends tremendous surface feedback with a smooth ride that belies the sportiness of the suspension set-up and the larger 18-inch alloy wheels.
Yet despite all the performance you could realistically want, there’s no nervousness round town and progressive, powerful brakes that inspire real confidence.
What’s more, it’s all achieved without the need for complex electronic aids, air suspension or adaptive ride – just good old engineering and chassis set-up know-how.
Model: Golf GTI Edition 30
Max power (bhp/rpm): 230/5,200
Max torque (lb-ft/rpm): 221/2,200
Max speed (mph): 152
0-62mph (secs): 6.8
Fuel consumption (mpg): 34.0
CO2 emissions (g/km): 194
On sale: Now
Prices (OTR): £22,295–£24,125