The humble VW Golf has carved itself out a place in the history of the automobile; the first mainstream hatchback (yea, we know there were a few less successful offerings beforehand), the first successful hot hatch (cheers Gti), and the car that transformed VW from the slightly left field manufacturer of ‘that weird Beetle thing,’ to the maker of precision engineered, aspirational products that are loved across the globe. Quite something for a single model range, but then the Golf has always been a fairly wide umbrella encompassing everything from base spec ‘cooking’ models, to estates, small saloons and cabriolets and many, many others.
This means that the Golf is now more than just a model, it’s a brand, an icon and the very foundation that all VW’s success has been built on. The Golf has legions of passionate followers and it’s no exaggeration to say that the tuning scene attached to this specific model dwarfs that enjoyed by most other manufacturers, hence the number that appear in the pages of this very publication.
The example you see here is owned by Bram Depraitere and, as you’ve almost certainly spotted, it’s a Mk6 Golf estate. Now we’re not going to pretend that it’s the most hardcore of Golfs (that award probably goes to Forge Motorsport’s Berg Cup Mk1) but it is a brilliant example of how easy it is to build a tuned, fairly highly modified car and still wind up with something that’s perfectly useable as a daily driver. Wind back twenty or so years ago and this simply wouldn’t have been possible. Want a powerful, chipped and tuned Mk3 Golf? Sure, though you’d best have something a little less temperamental to use to haul yourself to and from work!
“I had a Mk5 Gti before this and it was a brilliant car, I loved how it drove and how it looked,” Bram recalls. “It became clear that I needed more space though, hence the decision to swap for a Golf estate.”
Bram admits that he didn’t really intend to tweak or tune the car when he first bought it just over three years ago, it was simply intended to be a reliable and economical daily driver. Thankfully any notions of the Golf retaining its Wolfsberg-set ride height were dispelled almost right away, and within eight weeks Brant had splashed out on an air suspension kit and a set of 19in RH two-piece splits.
These relatively subtle changes set the tone for the rest of the project, particularly as Bram is something of a wheel collector, with number of high end rims having graced the Golf over the last few years including, some genuine Merc Alphards and a set of Bentley Continental GT alloys. “Wheels make or break a car, they’re the defining thing and picking the right set for the right car is crucial. I’ve had loads of different styles on the Golf over the years but RH splits are probably my favourite and I reckon they’ll stay on for a while yet.”
At the heart of this latest purchase was one of VW’s well liked (well, until relatively recently at any rate) 2.0 Tdi motors, a range of engines that’s done more than most to convince the world that performance and diesel economy don’t have to be mutually exclusive. These engines are hardly stressed in standard guise and actually have a lot left to give so treating them to a remap is always a worthwhile way of spending cold hard cash. A stage 2 remap from DVX Performance (plus the necessary deletion of the DPF and addition of aftermarket induction kit) has left Bram’s Golf with a very handy 200bhp, plus buckets of torque.
“The car was never intended to be massively powerful and uncompromising, it’s a daily driver at the end of the day, but the remap has certainly made a big difference, it’s a lot more responsive and the torque is just brilliant.” VW have always had a knack for flogging a bewildering array of models and specifications, to the extend that there’s guaranteed to be a Golf to suit your specific niche and need.
The upside to all this is that there’s no shortage of OEM+ upgrades up for grabs for anyone in the market for them, and it didn’t take all that long for Bram to start pillaging the upper reaches of the Golf range, starting out with that Gti Edition 35 front bumper and R20 skirts. He’s also sourced and fitted a Gti front grille, pulled the front wheel arches out by a few millimeters to give the beefy 9.5x18in wheels that bit of extra clearance.
Jump inside and you won’t be surprised to see that the OEM+ theme has continued apace, Bram evidently deciding that the standard kit wasn’t quite up to scratch and opting to do something about it. OK so the latest generation of Golfs come fully fitted with fairly plush, well designed interior fixtures and fittings, but the gear offered in the Gti is definitely a cut above and of a higher quality.
“There’s a lot of stuff to choose from interior-wise and it took me a while to decide what I wanted, but in the end I went for Highline Alcantara seats, had the interior re-trimmed in Alcantara, found and fitted a Gti wheel and pedals and replaced the stock bulbs with white LEDs.”
So there we have it, one of the best diesel Golf around. Like we said at the start of this feature, Bram’s car isn’t the most extreme, powerful or hardcore but it was never intended to be. What it is a brilliant all rounder, a car that Bram can jump in at anytime and be confident it’ll fire first time and get him to his destination, all while looking subtly aggressive and unique.
OWNER: BRAN DEPRAITERE
TECH SPEC: MODIFIED VW MK6 GOLF ESTATE
2.0TDIi DOHC 16v with DPF delete, performance induction kit, Stage 2 DVX remap
GAS V1 air suspension setup with bags and control unit, OEM brake setup, 9.5x18in RF split rims with 2.25in (front) and 2.75in (rear) dishes, 215/35×18 tyres
Golf Mk6 wagon with OE paintwork and Gti xenon headlights, GTI Edition 35 shaved front bumper, GTI grille with GTD badge, grilles, Bumper lip, VW emblems all painted gloss black, R20 side skirts, rear wiper delete, OEM chrome roof rails, Inpro smoked mirror indicators, pulled and rolled front wheel arches (15mm)
Highline Alcantara seats, Golf 6 R-Schalensitze retrimmed in full Alcantara with white covers on the back of the seats, Golf 6 GTI steering wheel and pedals, stock halogen interior bulbs replaced by white LEDs, RNS510 VW sound system
Jochen Tack from T&S for offering a perfect service for my airride over the past few years. My good friends from Dub Fiction. We are having great times doing european shows together. They also support me and keep me motivated, even when bad luck strikes or when things are not going too well…