The Volkswagen Golf has a longer and richer history than most. With 33 million sold (and counting), it comfortably sits on the podium of the world’s best-selling cars, and it’s one of a tiny handful that are still going strong in their seventh generation.
But it’s not the meagrely-specced best-sellers that get car geeks going. It’s the high-performance versions. And there are few badges in the industry with a better claim of the word ‘iconic’ than GTI.
The Mk1 Golf GTI is credited with starting the hot hatchback genre, while the latest, Mk7 version has taken the name into unchartered, 300bhp, sports car-slaying territory. But arguably the finest GTI of them all is the one you see here, the Mk5. Launched in 2005, it returned the fast Golf to greatness after a slightly duff period in the early 2000s.
If its combination of 197bhp (plenty back then) and a sub-£20k price tag made it appealing, then a brilliantly subtle makeover outside and some fine tartan seats inside made it practically irresistible. Now, just £5,000 can buy you a good one.
Pictures: Simon Thompson