Volkswagen GTI MK5

The Mk 4 GTI made a huge impression in the early 2000s. However, I was time for an all-new model. The enthusiast community was eager to see it when it finally arrived on our shores.

There was quite a leap in design and engineering in the Mk 5 GTI. The shape was rounder and softer than before. It was part of a new design language Volkswagen came up with globally. The new rounder shape helped in creating a more aerodynamic body with the lowest drag coefficient in its history. The interior was completely revamped to reflect the same design language. It was ergonomically superior than any GTI before it. Still, the same elements that make it a GTI remain – standard tartan cloth, red stitching and trim and supportive seats.

The VR6 was eliminated. The only engine available was a 2.0 liter turbocharged TFSI four-cylinder – now with 197 horsepower. A six-speed manual became standard with the option of a dual-clutch DSG gearbox. It would be the first GTI with this new transmission.

There was an interesting twist to the Mk 5’s story. When it arrived for 2006, the Golf was renamed the Rabbit, therefore the GTI was sold by itself. The separate identity also lead to a distinctive grille, new larger alloy wheels and other key trim pieces, including the red badges that plainly say GTI. Initially the GTI was offered as a three-door hatchback. A five-door hatchback became available for the first time in North America.

Special editions would also become part of the Mk 5 GTI, as it did in the previous generation. The Fahrenheit edition arrived for 2007 with a Magma Orange paint job, 18-inch Charleston wheels, a nice body kit and specific badges. Only 1200 of these cars made it to dealers, each one equipped with the DSG transmission. The lucky 1200 owners ponied up $27,665 for the privilege of owning one of the coolest GTIs ever created.

Mk 5 GTIs made their presence known for enthusiasts. Its short run certainly made for quite an impact on our market. The last Mk 5 was sold in 2009. No need to shed a tear as there are many examples still on the road. Some have been tuned for more speed and coolness.