Icon Buyer: change your life with a fast VW | CAR Magazine

Icon Buyer: change your life with a fast VW

Published: 08 September 2016

► We take a look at three great fast used Volkswagens
► VW’s finest hot hatches, estates and coupes
 Andrew Chapple, owner of VolksWizard, acts as our guide 

2006-2007 Mk5 VW GTI Edition 30: £12k-£18k

Quick facts: 1984cc 4-cyl, 232bhp, 6.8sec 0-62mph, 152mph

> Is this a good idea? ‘Oh yeah. The Mk5 Golf GTI Edition 30 was the first Anniversary model to use an engine that wasn’t shared with the standard GTI – a detuned 232bhp version of the strengthened 266bhp lump used in the Golf R and Audi S3. Coupled with the standard Mk5 Golf GTI chassis this produced a genuinely rapid and agile hot hatch with all the refinement and quality expected of the VW brand.’ 

> How much? ‘A decade ago the Edition 30, limited to 1500 in the UK, weighed in at £22,795. Today a meticulously maintained low-mileage model will nudge £18,000. That’s depreciation with a ‘d’ tiny enough to make a Leon Cupra driver cry.’

>What’s going to break? ‘The TFSI engine has a good reputation for reliability but coil packs can fail and the cam follower that drives the high-pressure DFI fuel pump can wear and needs periodic replacement. Oil consumption is not unusual but shouldn’t be confused with the dipsomaniac chain-driven 2.0 TFSI Audi engine used in the A4/A5. All Mk5s are prone to front-wing rust, DSG automatic models can suffer mechatronic module and clutch pack failures, and always check the air-conditioning.’

> Crippling running costs? ‘Edition 30 owners may be immune from depreciation, but money will need to be spent on cambelt changes which are due every five years or 60,000 miles – budget £400 when the recommended water pump change is included. Servicing is barely any different from more mundane Golfs although tyre life is understandably shorter.’

2008-2010 Passat R36 Estate: £10k-£14k

A real Q-car: VW Passat R36 Estate

Quick facts: 3597cc V6, 295bhp, 5.6sec 0-62mph, 155mph

> Is this a good idea? ‘If you like the Golf R32 with its charismatic narrow-angle V6 but need more space and can’t stretch to a B7 RS4 then the R36 is for you.’ 

> How much? ‘Rarity then didn’t save the R36 from the depreciation blues – £33k in 2008, £12k now. But rarity now means rock solid residuals.’

> What’s going to break? ‘Check the condition of the timing chain; the DSG ’box should be smooth whether hot or cold. Dash switches and calipers for the electric handbrake can fail.’ 

> Crippling running costs? ‘Depends on your right foot – 30mpg is as good as you’ll get, plus there’s £500 annual tax. But what price rarity?’

2009-2014 Scirocco R: £14k-£25k

Scirocco R: fast as the wind!

Quick facts: 1984cc 4-cyl, 261bhp, 6.4sec 0-62mph, 155mph

> Is this a good idea? ‘Sure – with 261bhp and no awd system to haul, it’s quick, with an adept ride and scalpel-sharp handling.’

> How much? ‘Early well-maintained models come in at £14k – small money for big performance – through to £25k for two-year-old low-mileage minters.’

> What’s going to break? ‘The drivetrain is much the same as the Edition 30 (left) so the same cautions apply. Check the drop-on-open windows work correctly, the ACC adaptive suspension is fault-free and the optional 19in alloys aren’t cracked.’

> Crippling running costs? ‘Tyres and fuel will eat into your savings, but this is an R for GTI servicing costs.’

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By Ben Whitworth

Contributing editor, sartorial over-achiever, HANS device shirt collars