Owner Review: The heritage hot hatch - My Volkswagen Golf GTI Mk. 7

Owner Review · Sep 4, 2020 05:59 PM

** This article is the personal experience of a 2013 Volkswagen Golf GTI Mark 7 owner and does not necessarily reflect the views of WapCar.

Facebook: Suhanesh Chandra

Owner Review: The heritage hot hatch - My Volkswagen Golf GTI Mk. 7 01

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The term GTI has always carried a strong heritage with it. Ever since the first Volkswagen Golf Mark 1 GTI launched in 1976 till the latest Golf GTI Mark 8 that was unveiled recently, this model from Volkswagen has always been the benchmark for the hot hatches and other automakers have always been trying to surpass that benchmark.

This is a 2013 Golf Gti Mark 7. It has a power output of 220PS and 350Nm on wheel. It’s also mated to a 6 speed wet DSG gearbox. It came from the factory with Carbon Steel Grey body colour and a Tech Pack as an add on. What the Tech Pack essentially adds is that there are Bi-Xenon front lights as opposed to the halogens and there is also Dynamic Chassis Control where the suspension stiffness and dampening is electronically controlled with different driving modes. It was retailing at around RM220k at that time.

Reason for Purchase

I was initially driving a Toyota Camry 2.0 XV30 back in 2015. The car was 12 years old at that time which was handed down to me by my father. It was a great car, had ample space, made decent power and never had any issues. My hometown was in Penang but I was studying in Kelantan at that time. The Camry had one major problem though, which was excessive body rolls. One day, on my way back to Penang, the car overheated and I blew the head gasket.

I decided it was time for a new car. With a budget of around RM130k, a few choices came into my mind, which was a used Subaru WRX, a used Toyota 86, a used VW Golf Mk6 Gti or a brand-new Honda Civic 1.5T. My parents strongly objected to the Subaru as it had a “ricer” look and the Toyota 86 as it had only 2 doors. I also did not want a manual as the car would be my daily driver.

So, I was basically was left with either the Mk6 Gti or the Civic. I knew the Civic couldn’t even come close to the Gti in terms of performance so my parents and I were trying our best to find a used Mk6 but most of the cars in 2015 had mileages north of 100k.

One day, we found a used 2013 Mk7 Gti with a mileage of only 35k. It had full-service records and the car was in good condition as it was only 2 years old. Long story short, a businessman needed the cash desperately as he could not continue financing the loan and sold the car below the market value. I was sold when I test drove the car. Coming from a Camry, I have never experienced this sort of power and handling before and it totally blew me away.

Owner Review: The heritage hot hatch - My Volkswagen Golf GTI Mk. 7 01

The Volkswagen Golf GTI in its stock form

We immediately paid the deposit and snagged the car. The reasons why I bought this car are because it has good handling, makes incredible torque, easy to manoeuvre and has good fuel economy. The only trade-off was the trunk space which I did not really care, but still, it was reasonably big for a car in its category.

User Experience

A couple of months into ownership, I was extremely pleased with the Volkswagen Golf GTI. It checked all the right boxes. It shortened my trip from Kelantan – Penang from 6 hours in my Camry to just 4-4.5 hours in the Gti. The single-piston brakes at the front were more than sufficient to get the job done even.

This is where things got interesting. I was invited by a friend to join the VWClubMalaysia group. There I met many fellow VW owners, especially the Mk7 GTI ones. I was immediately thrown into the world of tuning and modding.

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My first mod: BBS SR wheels

It was extremely hard to resist the urge to modify my car as every day there’ll be somebody posting a new mod they did to their car in our Whatsapp group.

I fell to the temptation of the modding scene whilst gaining new knowledge everyday. I started with the exterior as I did not want to void my warranty initially.

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Rear Carbon Fibre Spoiler and Diffuser, Custom Catback with black 4 inch tips.

The moment my warranty ended, I immediately jumped to Stage 2 with Revo and Stage 2+ with TVS Engineering for my DSG. Their customer service has been excellent and I never any driveability issues with their tunes.

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The “cockpit” view. Looks even better at night

The interior looks great. In fact, I’d dare say that the interior design was definitely ahead of its time for a 2013 car. It came with footwell lighting, red LED strips on the door panels and a sweeping speedometer. Even until today, the interior does not seem old fashioned at all. The sound system in this Volkswagen Golf GTI is fantastic. I get good bass and clarity with no audio clipping on high volumes. They’re just a tad shy in sound quality compared to premium systems like Harmon Kardon / Burmester / Bangs & Olufsen. These are the small things that make my driving experience incredible.

Mod list :

  • BMC drop in air filter with snow grate removal from the stock airbox
  • Supercircuit downpipe
  • Custom catback
  • Majesty intercooler
  • Bilstein B8 paired with VWR springs
  • Rear mk7.5 LED tail lights
  • Carbon fibre Oettinger style spoiler
  • Carbon fibre Oettinger style rear diffuser
  • Oettinger style front lip
  • Brembo brake pads all around
  • Original ASGA Racing 681 wheels, powder coated to Rays bronze wrapped in 235/40/18 Hankook Ventus V12 all around.
  • DEFI 2 bar boost meter
  • VW door lights
  • Soundproofed the spare tyre compartment

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Engine bay shot

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In a nutshell, this Volkswagen Golf GTI is really tame in its stock form but it has PLENTY of potential under the hood. If you’re willing to invest some money, it can really transform your car into a daily driven beast. It is also extremely comfortable for a hot hatch and versatile. My Volkswagen Golf GTI has currently clocked 138k km and still counting. It still keeps me smiling despite all these years whenever I plant my foot on the gas pedal.


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