Volkswagen Golf GTI mk2: una youngtimer per tutti i giorni – Davide Cironi Drive Experience (SUBS)

Today’s test will be different from our usual tests: we’ll try to see if it’s possible to use a youngtimer as a daily driver Choosing the MkII Golf as a daily driver was easy: it’s a sports car, but it’s above all an exploitable car, that’s the Golf’s main task since it was born. We chose this particular one because it has 4 doors, so it’s even more comfortable. It has 4 fixed sports Bilstein dampers, but it’s a compromise between sports and comfortable driving people opted for even at the time. The car has 4 winter tires because it’s required by law and because we are in L’Aquila where snow is not that rare: if you need to daily a car, winter tires win over summer tires and snow chains on board. We’ll try to find some snowy roads and see how it drives but I don’t know if we’ll find some. Today is a sunny day, we are driving around the city center… let’s see if you can daily this 30-years-old car by checking how the clutch feels, how the gearbox is and see if every control works fine. The first thing you notice is that the clutch pedal feels better than a modern car: it’s so soft (something uncommon for a petrol 1.8-liter engine) you don’t struggle in traffic at all. It’s as comfortable as a modern car, there’s nothing difficult regarding the clutch, steering and gearbox. The steering is not excessively direct, it’s typically Golf. It’s even relaxing in the traffic and I don’t see many problems in driving a 90s Golf as a first car. The medium-displacement petrol engine provides good elasticity from low rpm and behaves well even when it’s cold, as soon as you start it: nowadays we are used to diesel engines that are rough when cold, while petrol engines even at the time could be started and after 5 minutes they warmed up and the car behaved nice in the traffic. Petrol engines warms up more quickly and the MKII Golf engine is no exception, so if you need to go to work early in the morning, the engine will warm up soon… A good and useful thing Ok, coffee time… We moved away from the city and we are now looking for some corners to see what she thinks about my favorite roads. The Golf I’m driving is suitable for daily use, it’s a compromise between sporty and daily driving: as I said, we have got some Bilstein fixed shock absorbers, nothing extreme, but we also have 4 mandatory winter tires fitted for safety too… On these mountains it’s easy to leave without knowing how roads conditions will be when you’ll come back While the steering was a great device against the city traffic, here on fast mountain roads, it’s not the best… but it’s not bad either. Again, it’s a suitable compromise. Pedals, steering wheel, gear lever: everything is efficient and quality-made, it feels solid. The only solidity that lacks here is torsional rigidity that is obviously worse than the 2-door model, surely better for sports driving. But for a real daily use 4 doors are essential. This car allowed a family man to own a sports car without excessively arguing with his wife and still have space for luggage, dog, kids… Something a poor man has to consider sooner or later in his life. The perfect daily driver has to tolerate some miles on the highway too and there the German DNA of the MKII Golf shows up: German car manufacturers are always concerned about highway use because speed limits are different there and the car behavior at highway speeds is something very important for them, more than here. Even on the Golf, one of the smallest German sports cars, it’s clear how they cared about highways: in fact, the 16v 1.8-liter engine is designed to be “long” and gives the best of itself at high rpm, after 4000-4500 rpm. This particular car is also fitted with a complete exhaust kit that probably helps it a bit, but you understand the engine is designed as it is for that reason: low-end torque is in fact not much. The gearbox is a bit slow changing from 1st to 2nd and from 2nd to 3rd, but it’s fine. The gear change feeling is good… what is truly odd on this car, something everyone would notice if you drive a Golf GTI for the first time, is changing to 5th gear: the gear change is nonexistent, it seems like you downshifted into 3rd gear, the first time is a bit unsettling… what is missing is the feeling of “changing into 5th” (up and right), shifting up to 5th gear is actually quite smooth and you realize you were in 5th when you downshift into 4th and the lever goes down and left. On the way up is not much evident… 6000 rpm… 6500… Upshifting from 2nd to 3rd when you are at high rpm is great. For a 30-years-old 1.8 engine it’s doing well. It’s also very light Like similar models and German cars at the time (except for BMWs and Porsches), the steering angle is wider than we were used to, with our cars in Italy. It’s a matter of taste too: some people like a wide steering center, while I would like it to be a bit more direct, not much. For my liking, this angle is very wide. For instance, if I have to mention a steering I like is the one fitted on the 1.8 Clio/Clio Williams: that one is a direct steering, but not too much. I also like the Alfa 156’s, BMW M3’s, Sierra’s… I like those kinds of steering. This reminds me more of the 106 Rallyes and Saxos, when they are stock and fitted with bad tires… The steering center is a bit too wide So the question I asked myself this morning “Can the MKII Golf be used as a daily driver as well as a sports weekend car?” The answer is yes, without a doubt. It suits perfectly the intent and manages to be a great all-rounder. In my opinion, MKI and MKII Golf are the most beautiful Golfs… I would say the only beautiful Golfs, because I didn’t like the MKIII much, I preferred the MKIV, and then they became too similar, too fat and big. I don’t think it should be called Golf anymore: if you compare the MKI with the last one, I can’t see many similarities… Anyway, beyond my personal taste that is obviously subjective, I understand those who like the new Golfs because it’s a car that can be truly liked. I don’t like it, but I respect those who love them. I find common ground on these ones, MKI and MKII, that in my opinion had a clearer reason for being. I thought the engine was a bit lazy when I drove in the traffic, but it’s not bad when it starts to rev up. I won’t talk about understeer because it wouldn’t make sense with these tires on. Probably the car is normally understeering, winter tires just makes it worse. Today’s intent was not performance though: it was a funny test we did just to see if it was possible to use these “youngtimers” every day, even though she’s already a full-fledged classic car. Another thing I like are the seats, they are sporty but comfortable… not that flashy too. The problem with them is getting in and out because there’s not much room, but it’s normal: cars at the time were low and I actually prefer to struggle getting in, but then find an interior as I like, with no frills, like this one. The late 80s-early 90s style was the best one in my opinion: there was an adequate level of technology, but we didn’t need to overdo and make thousands of aids that in the end aid no one… Progress is sacrosanct but many times we went over it just to brag, to show, to win the “most comfortable and autonomous car” award… Things I don’t conceive and I’m sure many of you don’t as well. Today’s objective was to find out if a late 80s-early 90s car could be used as a daily driver without lacking comfort and exploitability, and the answer is yes. Some of these cars at the time were great for everyday life, but when you found the right roads ahead, the fun you could have had a different taste that I still prefer. Few people make them, but it would be great to purchase cars with modern materials and technology without being forced to buy many things we don’t want or need that make our cars heavier: it’s sad that we are no longer able to “not choose” something when we are at the dealership… everything is standard and most people love this, but I don’t… So again, the answer is yes, but we have to deal with the antipollution laws: so, dear friends, if you want to buy these cars to daily them, you won’t be able to do so if you live in certain cities because remember that the global warming problem is our fault, blame the supercar owners or those who buy these noisy petrol cars if the world falls apart… So buy an electric car and go on a cruise this summer: after a couple of days, you’ll end up damaging the environment more than all the sports cars in Italy do in a year. It’s enough to go to sleep with a clear conscience. Let’s go back to the city: I have to say I prefer driving it around in the traffic, at slow speeds, because you feel it’s made for that purpose rather than sporty mountain driving. Toll booth: “Insert cash or card” Davide: Yes, yes yes yes… right away Davide: Goodbye! Tool booth: “Goodbye!” Our day with the Golf GTI is ending, it behaved well. It passed the city test with flying colors, it was good around the mountains too, clearly the cold tarmac, the winter tires… these things alter the test. I had fun though and since the entire video was focused on the daily use of classic cars, I will also tell you that we used just one notch of gas, which is not that bad considering the mountain drive and the traffic. Written and directed by Davide Cironi Filmed by Francesco Colantoni Let’s go down Translated by Elia Pozzani Ok… For more contents and photos feel free to check out our website WWW.DRIVEEXPERIENCE.IT

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