Owner Review: From touge monster to highway cruiser - My Volkswagen Golf GTI MK6

Owner Review · Aug 3, 2020 08:00 PM

** This article is the personal experience of a 2012 Volkswagen Golf GTI MK6 SE  owner and does not necessarily reflect the views of WapCar.

Facebook: Han Eujin


Owner Review: From touge monster to highway cruiser  - My Volkswagen Golf GTI MK6 01

Owner Review: From touge monster to highway cruiser  - My Volkswagen Golf GTI MK6 02

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About my Volkswagen Golf GTI

This is my 2012 Volkswagen Golf GTI MK6 SE which I purchased back in 2018 from a second-hand dealer in Ipoh. This Volkswagen Golf GTI is the SE version, the last batch of facelifted MK6 arrived to Malaysia. Facelift include front DRL, sunroof, full-colour touch- screen infotainment system and standard 18” Detroit rims wrap with 225/40/R18. Engine department still outputs same 207bhp and 280NM torque as standard from EA888 engine pair with Volkswagen infamous super quick DSG DQ250 Wet Clutch Gearbox. Handling side we get DCC (Dynamic Chassis Control) as standard where we can choose from Sports, Normal and Comfort which stiffen or soften the suspension whichever you feel like it. The Volkswagen Golf GTI MK6 came standard as well is the Adaptive front headlight (AFS) which the headlight move base on your steering input.

Why I choose this MK6 Volkswagen GTI

Volkswagen Golf GTI front

I love the subtle not so shouty looks which don’t attract a lot attention with surprising performance.

Rewind back in 2009, I remembered vividly before Malaysia officially launched the MK6 Volkswagen GTI, Volkswagen Sales Center at Jalan Ampang brought in a preview car from Singapore. Only close customers were invited to test drive it and without hesitating, I grabbed the key and test drove it. OMG!! Handling and power come with practicality is a perfect combo. I love hatchback cars as they are perfect city cars as I came from a 2007 MYVI EZ spec. I do love occasional touge and highway runs (safely) any given time yet able to perform daily drive to work without compromise.  But during that time RM210k is a hefty price to pay for a small hatchback and I can’t afford the Volkswagen GTI. So I patiently wait till the price drop within my radar.

Volkswagen Golf GTI 45

18” Detroit does look good. Remind me of alfa’s rims design.

Fast Forward 2018, second hand for 2012 Golf GTI MK6 SE price fell below 100k which in my pocket range. My search began for bargain 2012 Volkswagen Golf GTI MK6 SE. Why 2012 model?? It is because there are many revised parts in the engine department and 2012 get all the latest revisions especially the infamous timing chain tensioner issue which fails could cause a catastrophic result piston kiss valve on earlier versions. 2012 Volkswagen Golf GTI SE gets the entire bell and whistle before it was discontinued replaced by the MK7 GTI. I did a lot of research, joined VWOC and interviewed friends that owned an MK6 GTI rather than listening rumours (Aiya!! Volkwagen a lot problem lah!!).  Well, I’m an “experience” second-hand hunter as all my car I purchased are second hand (BMW E46, Mitsubishi Grandis, Perodua Myvi, Kia K5 Optima just to name a few). Second hand cars always come with a risk take it or leave it is there just like betting on 4D. Luck plays an important row in second hand cars as you do not know how the previous owner treats the car.  Inspect the car thoroughly and make the decision. That is what I did and I took the plunge for it. Once I got the car, I always bring my car to my reputable workshop specialise in VW to get it health checked and I would normally change the engine oil, spark plugs, DSG oil, cabin filter and air filter on the 1st day of ownership same time check for engine faulty code, oil leaks or coolant leaks. Cosmetic side, I’ve only changed Golf R LED tail light to keep it updated looks. (stock tail light is bulb looks very classic)

My Experience with the Volkswagen Golf GTI MK6

Volkswagen Golf GTI back

Volkswagen Golf GTI rear

Stock exhaust does give you deep bassy sound but not too loud to annoy your neighbours or wake up your kids.

Volkswagen Golf GTI boot space

Boot space is enough to carry 3 mid size luggage and stroller for weekend getaway.

My Golf GTI is able to perform from touge monster to comfort high cruiser just pushes of a button on the DCC. Power wise I think it is adequate for a FWD (maybe can eek abit more from stage 1 would be perfect IMHO =).  The Golf GTI never fails to amaze me with his handling character. It is so predictable even ESP is off as you can feel and predict the behaviour of the car during hard touge corners and trust me, this car love corners. This Golf GTI gave me confidence to push around the corner and warn me if it hits the limit.  My jobs requires me to travel north and south for sales coverage and I always find the best route off the highway for driving pleasure. It always rewards you with a smile after an awesome drive.

Volkswagen Golf GTI interior

All the button and function lay out just the right place.  Flat button steering is the best.

instrument cluster Volkswagen Golf GTI

I prefer analogue over digital meter cluster. Simple yet functional.

rear air condition vent of Volkswagen Golf GTI

Rear aircon vent is a must for our Malaysia weather. Yeah mine is broken on one side. Blame it on my kid. Oh well!!

Fuel consumption is around 450km 100% city on 50L (occasional traffic light pull to listen the DSG fart. Trust me this is addictive.) Highway drive normally I clocked in at 650km on 50L fuel ( very hard but it can be achieved if you discipline right foot). Not bad for such a car with this much performance. Is an all rounder car which is why GTI deserve the name of hot hatch.

Maintenance

Front bucket seats Volkswagen Golf GTI

Nice and comfy bucket seats. Showing some sign of wear and tear

Volkswagen Golf GTI rear legroom

Yes is roomy at the back don’t be so surprise

So far, after clocking 45k on the odo and almost 2 years of my ownership I would say it served me well. I do drive it daily to work and occasionally outstation. Oil leak and Coolant is normal for any car above 5 years as the rubber or casket become harden so do take extra awareness to check the engine oil level and coolant level if owned any German brand car. Not forgetting, check the floor whether oil stain or water stain if you park overnight.  Below is the list that broke down during my ownership and the symptom. Mostly is wear and tear. (Come on, 8 years old car la)

  1. Charcoal canister (engine check light)
  2. Evap valve (engine check light)
  3. Ignition coil (engine misfire)
  4. Brake pad (front and rear time is up)
  5. Wheel speed sensor (ABS, Traction Light, handbrake or VW calls it The Christmas)
  6. Oil Seal (Oil Leak)
  7. Water hose (coolant Leak)
  8. Valve cover  (Oil Leak)

Cost of parts is not expensive (subjective topic) comparing to BMW and Merc. I would say is within the range of civic and accord. As we can see, there are many VW parts available regardless OEM or Orignal in the market. There are many workshops are specialist maintaining and fixing VW/Audi brand vehicle whether major or minor. So price competition is there so not to worry about which state you are, there will be a VW specialist in your area.

Note: don’t lah go kedai bawah pokok service VW. *facepalm*

Price of Normal Maintenance

Volkswagen Golf GTI engine EA888

EA 888 engine which I have not fully unleash.

Engine oil change every 10k km (normally I will go in at 8-9k km) would cost around rm350 include oil, filter and labour.

 DSG gearbox is robust in stock form able to with stand 400NM where my car now is 280NM. Proper maintenance is needed like DSG oil replacement every 30k which cost around rm700 per change.

Air filter OEM is around rm100.

Spark plugs NGK Laser Iridium around RM250 for 4

Ignition Coil Borch around RM135 per piece

Not that bad if you compare to other German brands would have cost easily double the amount up there.

Tyre size 225/40/18 Michelin Pilot Sport 4 is the best all rounder tyre but you do get pretty bad road noise doing above 80km/h. For Malaysian road, 18” is way to go as you know how good it is.

Tyre size 225/40/18 Michelin Pilot Sport 4 is the best all rounder tyre but you do get pretty bad road noise doing above 80km/h. For Malaysian road, 18” is way to go as you know how good it is.

Pros & Cons

Pros

  1. Great handling
  2. Comfortable and relax cruiser.
  3. Car feel solid in everything
  4. Practicality with ample boot space and rear leg/head room is good for 175cm like me.
  5. Comfy bucket seat hold you during hard corners
  6. Adequate amount of Torque to give you the kick back feeling
  7. Good FC 
  8. One of the best  4 cylinder Engine sound
  9. DSG fart sound is addictive
  10. Great  front view visibility
  11. Front and Rear sensor for parking
  12. DCC give you the option to go wild or stay comfy
  13. Rear aircon vent available for small hatch.
  14. Smooth gearbox even manual mode

Cons

  1. No reverse camera for 200k car at that time
  2. Wind noise at 110kph (maybe my rubber strip)
  3. Tyre noise quite intrusive
  4. Door handle material tend to melt and sticky after age

Owner Review: From touge monster to highway cruiser  - My Volkswagen Golf GTI MK6 13

All German cars have aging problem. As typical person would say, blame it on our weather.

 

  1. No keyless entry
  2. No push start button
  3. Roof lining peeling off.
  4. No cup holder for front passenger
  5. Very small arm rest storage.
  6. DSG don’t like uphill jams
  7. Need to adapt DSG driving style
  8. Need to check engine oil and water coolant every now and than.
  9. No Electric seat for passenger
  10. Rear seating position a bit up right and can’t be adjusted

Rating

Total score : 8/10

Performance : 8/10 (if have 250bhp and 380NM) it will be 10/10

Quality : 5/10 (sticky plastic and peel plastic when it age)

Space : 8/10 (MK7 have the best boot for hatchback)

Ride comfort : 8/10 ( DCC helps)

Fuel Economy : 7/10 (not good with my foot)

Price and cost : 7/10 (ok la, if it doesn’t come one shot)

Conclusion

If you ask me, just buy as long is a Volkswagen GTI or if you like hardcore get the Golf R. Driving DSG is different compare driving a normal torque converter so do your own research and get the best reliability and lifespan of your clutch. Lastly, enjoy your journey. Thanks!!

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