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10 Top Volkswagen GTI Features

The hottest Mk3 through Mk6 hatches to hit our pages

Annette Carrion
Aug 6, 2013
Photographer: eurotuner staff

It all started when Volkswagen created a souped-up version of its front-wheel drive Golf - in 1976. That Mk1 GTI became the high-performance Golf variant. It is then that the “hot hatch” was born. Since then, the GTI has survived seven generations and it just keeps getting better as seen with the 2014 VW model lineup and 2015 Mk7 GTI. Its popularity stems from its relatively affordable price tag, practicality, performance and fun factor. Not to mention its large aftermarket following.

Tuners have taken the GTI as far as setting a 208mph top speed at the dragstrip, as featured below. Other Dubheads simply love the style of the hatch, opting to make it even more unique with mods as extravagant as the OEM Lamborghini wheels and brakes – see below. In a eurotuner Mk6 First Drive, it was said that, "the Mk6 Golf GTI remains at the top of the pile, king of its castle. It's still incredibly satisfying to drive and should be just as affordable to own."

Whatever the project may be, the following GTI owners have all put a lot of hard work into their cars and it shows. In order to highlight their accomplishments, we’ve included them in the following list of web-popular Volkswagen GTIs previously featured in eurotuner magazine.

2008 volkswagen gti tsi mk5 front right Photo 2/41   |   10 Top Volkswagen GTI Features

2008 Volkswagen GTI - Don Santora

Article excerpt: “The 2.0T has a K04 big-turbo upgrade controlled by GIAC software. There's also the Forge wastegate actuator and a matching custom diverter valve. The inlet is further fortified with a BSH throttle-body pipe, AWE turbo-outlet pipe, S3 intercooler along with more Forge go-fast parts like their Twintake, Twintercooler and coolant hoses.”

Why we love it: “It doesn't take much to ruin a good thing. But for Don Santora from of Tuning Works in Copiague, NY, it only took two swings at the magical piñata of VAG-success for the New-York native to put himself on the map.”

Full article: Don Santora’s 2008 Volkswagen GTI

1997 volkswagen GTI front wheels Photo 6/41   |   Volkswagen GTI front wheels

1997 Volkswagen GTI – World’s Fastest GTI

Article excerpt: “Then the crowd erupted into applause as they witnessed Jeremy in his beat-up GTI becoming the world's fastest GTI, setting a top speed of 208mph.”

Why we love it: “Failing to make it into the 200mph club at a Texas Mile event the first go around only made Jeremy Freedman more determined for the next attempt. He made six passes and finally broke the 200mph mark on his fourth run, hitting 204.8mph. This was followed up by a best of 208.1mph.”

Full article: Jeremy Freedman’s 1997 Volkswagen GTI

2006 volkswagen GTI Photo 10/41   |   2006 Volkswagen GTI

2006 VW GTI – Liver Little

Article excerpt: “With more than 200hp to the front wheels, the GTI has plenty of poke to require some intelligent chassis enhancements such as the FK Silverline X coilovers combined with Neuspeed’s anti-roll bars and upper rear stress bar.”

Why we love it: “Tronset’s love of VW started with an ’89 Golf. His passion for modification proved to be therapeutic when health faltered. The end result was a first class track-ready Mk5 inside and out.”

Full article: Peter Tronset’s 2006 Volkswagen GTI

Volkswagen GTI front view Photo 14/41   |   Volkswagen GTI

2001 VW GTI – The Mullet

Article excerpt: “We have a good following for our 2.7T tuning program, where we can easily get 600-700whp but felt it had the potential for 1000whp.”

Why we love it: “This isn't a show queen that will disappear in a year's time. It's going to compete in etGP and will then graduate to time attack events.”

Full article: 034Motorsport’s 2001 Volkswagen GTI

2010 volkswagen GTI Photo 18/41   |   Volkswagen GTI


Article excerpt: “With a factory-juiced 270hp 2.0T FSI, the Golf R can leave a stock Mk6 GTI in its dust. And while ECS could have produced far more than 270hp, they preferred to be as close as possible to the R.”

Why we love it: “The Golf R is more than just a pretty face. In fact, it’s received universal acclaim for its balance of looks, handling and performance.”

Full article: ECS Tuning’s 2010 Volkswagen GTI

Eurp_1004_03_o+1995_volkswagen_gti+full_view Photo 22/41   |   1995 Volkswagen GTI - Lost And Found

1995 Volkswagen GTI – Lost and Found

Article excerpt: “The five-speed manual received a stronger ACT six-puck clutch along with a lightened flywheel. For more traction, a Peloquin limited-slip diff was added at the same time.”

Why we love it: “This classic Mk3 represents where the VW tuning scene was several years ago and its refined Euro styling has stood the test of time. It's not too low, too wide or too loud - it's just right and will never get old.”

Full article: Ben Toskey’s 1995 Volkswagen GTI

Eurp 1111 01+2006 vw gti+cover Photo 26/41   |   10 Top Volkswagen GTI Features

2006 VW GTI – Jail Bait

Article excerpt: “With all the bugs sorted out, the car has been reinstated as a daily driver with more than 500whp at its disposal.”

Why we love it: It was designed to be the ultimate street car and the manifold was involved in a land speed record for the fastest 2.0T at the Bonneville Salt Flats – 600whp and 227mph!”

Full article: BSH Speedshop’s 2006 Volkswagen GTI

Eurp 1206 01+2009 vw gti+cover Photo 30/41   |   10 Top Volkswagen GTI Features

2009 VW GTI – Drinking the Kool-Aid

Article excerpt: “The 2.0L TSI motor has basic upgrades, including Revo stage 2 software to accompany the ATP downpipe and GReddy exhaust upgrade. It also has an ABD intake, with plans for a FMIC and eventually a bigger turbo in the pipeline.”

Why we love it: “This is the result of an owner who is proud to claim he did all of the work on his GTI with the exception of the major bodywork and painting.”

Full article: Alex Villacres’ 2009 Volkswagen GTI

Eurp_0708_06_z+2001_vw_gti+front_view Photo 34/41   |   10 Top Volkswagen GTI Features

2001 VW GTI – Green Party

Article excerpt: “The car was dynoed and put down a very respectable 348hp and 315 lb-/ft at the wheels on 24psi.”

Why we love it: Gibney mapped out a precise build plan and stuck to it. That plan included an ATP stage 4 kit with GT30 turbo. He also purchased the front-mount and RMR intake at Waterfest prior to fitting the turbo kit.”

Full article: Mike Gibney’s 2001 Volkswagen GTI

Eurp 1301 01 o+2010 volkswagen golf GTI+carbon fiber front lip Photo 38/41   |   10 Top Volkswagen GTI Features

2010 Volkswagen Golf GTI – Huygen Stefan

Article excerpt: “He'd been planning a set of 19" Lamborghini Callisto wheels taken directly from the vaunted '05 Gallardo SE. As if genuine Lambo wheels weren't special enough, he decided to hunt down one of just a few sets produced for the special SE model.”

Why we love it: Many unlikely sources including Lamborghini were sourced for this show-stopping build.”

Full article: Huygen Stefan’s 2010 Volkswagen Golf GTI

By Annette Carrion
124 Articles



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