Let’s start with the bad news, as it can sometimes make the good news so much sweeter. If you happen to decide that you really like the 2016 Volkswagen Golf GTI 40th Edition and want to get one, there were only 40 produced and they are all sold out.

So now we have the bad new is out of the way, we can get on to the good news. The 2016 Volkswagen Golf GTI 40th Edition is a pretty amazing car, a guaranteed future classic and probably the best value hot hatch for the money on the market. And here is why!!


First Impressions

This is a nice looking car, and I even like the decals VW NZ have put on it to promote the 40th year of the GTi. Compared to the standard mark VII GTi, the 40th edition comes with a lot of changes. Its got a new honeycomb front grille, all new front and rear bumpers with very aggressive styling, bespoke side skirts, rear diffuser, 2-piece rear roof spoiler and black side mirrors. And it’s all topped of with new 19” Brescia alloy wheels, giving it a perfect stance.


The Inside

The inside of the 40th Edition Golf is almost the same as the standard GTi model. But VW have made an effort to make the 40th Edition feel that bit special. The honeycomb design flows though the cabin, echoed in the trim inlays across the dash and doors. The steering wheel is Alcantara, which on its own feels sporty, however when you mix it with the stitched in red wheel direction guide, It seems too softly whisper to you, “because racecar”.


The seats are also a bit different, with a mixture of Alcantara and fabric with the honeycomb design again running throughout. I quite liked them,but had to wonder would there be some purists who ask the question, where is the traditional GTi tartan gone? But regardless of where it has gone, these were really nice seats. Very comfy to be in for a few hours, easy to setup and adjust. And had the right level of everyday practical, while being a bit fun and sporty.

And as far as the inside goes, that’s really the extend of the changes. It’s a really comfy, good quality well featured and spec’d models, with every option the GTi can have.


The Drive

We have all at one point had a car, that just puts a silly grin on your face as you get into it. It does not have to be a supercar or high end sports car at all, it’s just a car that you have always had a great satisfied feeling when driving it. This is not something you can quantify either, it just hits so many of the right buttons, and you can’t do anything but enjoy it. And this is how the 40th Edition GTI made me feel.


For some sporty cars, driving around the city can be a painful experience. While others – and the list is short – can still enjoy themselves. Around town, the 195kw/350Nm engine has a quick response time, and great low-end torque. The light construction of the vehicle mixed with this engine gives it an almost go-kart like experience. This side of its characteristics are not so different to the standard model GTI.

The sound of the exhaust is different. So different, that it tops off the car’s overall experience very nicely. Compared to the normal GTI, the exhaust sounds more beefy, and the gears changes are much louder. This additional noise over the normal model leave your naughty conscience sitting on your shoulder, whispers in your ear. “Go on.., put it in sport mode again.., do it.., sport mode..”, you know you want too. And when you do, you’re just left with a silly grin on your face as you drive it, even around the city.


But you can only do so much in the city. Where you will really enjoy this car is the back country roads. This is where you can take your good conscience, wrap him in bubble wrap and stick him in the centre console for a while. The back country roads are where you can push it a little further, carving up the corners, with such confident control over the vehicle’s steering. The brakes are a bit easier to control compared to the normal GTI, due mainly to the size. This left me feeling like I could feather and control the level of braking to a finer degree. The only place I regret not being able to test this car was on the track. I do hope some of the new owners will take them out, and experience the complete package the 40th Edition Golf has to offer.

car-review-volkswagen-golf-gti-40th-edition-16And as a result of all of this experience, the 40th Edition stands out from the crowd. Do you remember that childhood story about Goldilocks and the three bears, specifically the section about trying the different beds to see which one was just right? Well, many cars fall into these brackets too. Some are powerful, some handle really well but under perform, and every now and then you come across a vehicle that has it all, in just the right amount. The Golf GTI 40th Edition hits that Goldilocks Zone for me. With the right mixture of performance, handling, spec, look, practicality, quality and price. We always try to avoid the stereotypical journalistic hunt for some feature I can degrade a good car with. Mainly because this results in the article being about cup holders or something totally pointless. But this time I tried, as after a week, I had found nothing. And the only thing I could even remotely complain about was that the promotional decal package was not an option, as I quite liked it.


What it’s up against

This is where it might sting a little, as you can’t buy one. But you can buy what else is available on the market.

Mid Range Hot Hatch

Brand / Model Engine Power 0-100 km Time Fuel L/100km Boot Capacity Price Highest to Lowest
Audi S3 2.0L i4 TFSI 221kw / 380Nm 4.9 Seconds 6.9L / 100km 280 Litres $81,900
Mercedes-Benz A 250 Sport 2.0L i4 Turbo 160 kw / 350Nm 6.3 Seconds 6.7 L / 100km 341 Litres $68,800
VW Golf GTi 40th Edition 2.0L i4 Turbo 195kw / 350Nm 6.3 Seconds 6.9L / 100km 343 Litres $63,900
BMW M125i 2.0L 160kw /310Nm 5.7 Seconds 6.5L / 100km 360 Litres $58,600
Renault Megane RS 265 2.0L i4 Turbo 195kw / 360Nm 6 Seconds 7.5L /100km 344 Litres $58,490
VW Golf GTi 2.0L i4 Turbo 162kw / 350Nm 6.5 Seconds 6.4L / 100km 343 Litres $56,990
Mini John Cooper Works 2.0L i4 Twin Turbo 170kw / 350Nm 6.3 Seconds 6.7L / 100km 211 Litres $53,500


Pros Cons
  • Looks great and aggressive
  • Great Spec
  • Great Price
  • Perfect performance package for an enjoyable driving experience
  • Only 40 of them in NZ
  • Great VW quality and build
  • All sold out 🙁
  • And only 40 of them in NZ
  • Didn’t get to drive it on the Track 😛



What do we think?

It has been quite some time since I have really enjoyed every aspect of driving a car. That has been a great all rounder, looks good, comfy, practical, sporty and value for money. VW have hit the nail on the head with this one, as the Golf GTI 40th Edition is a lot fun. And if you were on of the 40 lucky owners, you don’t just have an awesome car, but you have a great future classic investment too.



Rating – Chevron rating 5 out of 5

Volkswagen Golf GTI 40th Edition – Spotlight Review – 40 Years of Fun

Vehicle Type FWD Performance Hatchback
Starting Price $63,900 NZD
Tested Price $63,900 NZD
Engine 2.0L inline 4 turbocharged
Transmission 6 speed DSG
0 – 100 kph 6.3 seconds
Kerb Weight 1370 kg
Length x Width x Height 4268 x 1790 x 1442 mm
Cargo Capacity 343 Litres
Fuel Tank (range extender) 50 litres
Fuel Efficiency Advertised Spec – Combined – 6.9 L / 100km

Real World Test – Combined – 7.4 L / 100km

ANCAP Safety Ratings 5 Star


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John Galvin (JSG)
It started at a young age with bedroom posters, the Countach of course. This slowly grew into a super car die-cast model collection, fifty five 1:18 models at the last count. At which point it had almost taken full control, the incurable Mad Car Disease ran deep though my veins all the way to the bone. And things for my loved ones just got worse as the cars where now being bought at 1:1 scale, after a BMW, HSV, and couple of Audi's, the disease reached my brain, pushing me over the edge and down the rabbits hole into the world of the bedroom poster.


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