GOLF GTI 2008+ help advice from actual owners

I've been doing research on the golf GTi models and my budget would be around 2008+ model

I would like to know exactly how good these cars are in regards to power and response in real world use.

I enjoy power but also would like some kind of everyday fuel economy.

Is it worth spending the extra $$$ on the GTi model or should I just stick with the diesel model 125kw 2.0L turbo diesel rather than paying the premium for the GTi version?

I've been looking at the turbo diesel models I'm just not sure if I need the GTi or not

Or should I go for the POLO Vs golf or even look at the Passat 125 TDI?

I've been reading alot and the fuel economy from the turbo diesel seems to be AMAZING.

So it's raw power of the GTi Vs the fuel economy??

I'm hoping actual owners can give me their personal feedback on these various models.

Thank you.


  • Fuel economy is great, even better when remapped.

    Get the Gti.

    PS: I've had both and still do have petrol and diesel VAG cars.

    PS: Gti's are priced now where they were 3 years ago due to P-Platers.

    Get a Jetta and chuck a Gti interior in it and save yourself thousands.

    • I've always wondered if remapping the ECU will provide better fuel consumption.

      Got worst for my MkV GTI and my other turbocharged Euro car

      • Mine improved after a proper ECU remap.

  • +1

    Really depends what you value more. The diesels get insane economy. GTI is obviously quicker. Both are very easily modified if that floats your boat.

  • Get a manual GTI. Get the brakes from an R (a lot of owners of the R32 upgraded to big brakes. Ask in forums.)

    Replace the steering wheel and shifter.

    You'll now have a very decent car to drive without spending much on mods.

  • +1

    I still own a mk5 Pirelli (ko4 turbo) and used to own a mk6 tdi (upgraded to another diesel car (bi turbo) for daily use.
    0-40km/h - tdi > gti in terms of pickup, after 40km/h the gti just pulls ahead.

    With the gti, I have to be real careful of the throttle as it's only a front wheel drive car and there is too much power being sent to the front wheel (It could be Mines a k04 (golf R turbo)?). If you are at the lights and put your foot down to the the floor, both the tdi and gti would experience torque steer both wearing pirelli dragon sports. Not so much of the tdi as the front is heavier due to the diesel engine which gives it the grip it needs.

    Diesels just brings a smile to my face when I drive with a heavy foot. Why? All the torque that doesn't burn through your wallet 😄
    Petrol does capture my heart with the pops and crackles but if I only had 1 car… Diesel forever 😂

    Real world fuel consumption
    GTI Pirelli
    City 12-15l per 100km (depends on how heavy you drive)
    Highway 7-8l per 100km

    TDI (103tdi)
    City 7-8l per 100km
    Highway 4.5-6l per 100km (I have gotten as low to 4.2l driving to thredbo on cruise)

    1) If this is your first car, I recommend a tdi. You will be surprised but TDI are zippy around town with great fuel efficiency.
    2) If you drive 15,000km a year. You will be saving at least $1,600-$2,000 a year and no a TDI does not cost more to service.
    3) Highly recommend 👍 Get a MK6 TDI 103kw and mod it to look like a GTI + a tune to 125kw.
    My old TDI car below when I was on my P's
    Mods were cheap, most were from wreckers except for my stuts/headlights.

    • Diesel is more expensive than petrol now :(

      And your GTI fuel consumption isn't normal unless you're seriously lead footed. 15l/100km is roughly what I got from the R32.

      • Mine is the PIRELLI edition, bigger turbo R turbo.
        Better tuning prospects.
        It's a range of 12l to 15l for city.

        GTIs take ron98 (95 if you have no choice), not E10/95.
        Petrol prices do experience more fluctuations as compared to diesel prices which stay around the $1.10-$1.30 mark (covid times)

        • Hmm. I guess it is getting along in years now and I'm comparing the more recent cars.

          Heck, the current RS3 is more fuel efficient.

    • You should DEFINITELY be getting better than 15L/100km city.
      I get 17 in my Aristo, which is a boat with a lazy 2JZ and a big turbo, through an auto, that runs pretty rich.

  • I could get low 5 even 4's on the highway in a fully loaded 5 people and jam packed with luggage in a k04 DSG Gti.
    I could get 800km out of a tank on highway..

    9.9 in an mk4 r32 manual

    1000kms highway in a mapped a6 3.0tdi and also same in a fully loaded t6 Transporter with BiTurbo 530nm map.

    Fuel consumption will be great regardless Petrol or Diesel.

    Sitting in my driveway: quickest stock r32 in the country. Mk3 golf with an r36 engine swap, 700nm+ a6, 530nm T6 so i like both Petrol and Diesel.

    But a Diesel DSG around town is the best.

    • Which year model GTI? Have not heard of low 4s on a GTI esep K04, what is the KW output?
      OP is looking for MK5 versions and or possibly MK6.

      • Mk5.
        It was a custom tuned. I had an eco/fun/ race maps on it. The highway was on eco tune to QLD from Sydney.

      • Not a chance 4s on a k04 GTI with a tune. Even a true low 5 (time taken from capture, not onboard), would be impressive with more mods than a tune.

        There is not enough traction on the FWD to do 4s without drag wheels set up on a fully modded GTI.

        (Currently driving a stage 3 mk7r in partial track set up. Bolt in half cage currently not in. ~400hp at wheels and I am doing low 4s, albeit very low 4s, if not launching from LC).

        • Not sure we are on the same page. This is fuel economy. 4's as in L/100km.

          • @askme69: Lol. Defo not. 4s came of as seconds.

            I thought that was kebab shop talk.

            Fair enough. Still, 4.x/100km is also impressive economy. Not quite as unbelievable as 4s to 100kmph.

            • @tshow: Well 4.9 from memory. I assume it was an extemely lean map.

              I get high 6's in a fully laden t6 with 500+nm on the highway.

  • Thanks I'm really looking the diesel TDIs and right now diesel and petrol prices are the same anyway.

    Are the engines much different between a GTi or a TDI or is it more about the different running gear on a GTi being better like suspension & brakes wise?

    I guess I could easily put GTi brakes on a regular TDI? Also is there much difference between GOLF/JETTA / POLO ?

    I've seen that some can get up to 1000ks on the highway?

    • With facts and data

      This was my mk6 tdi (103kw) on real highway driving 1150km on a full tank and @ 4.4l/100km.

      I will take a picture of my mk5 gti pirelli (169kw - stock) fuel consumption gauge later on.
      I really doubt gti's can achieve low 4's

      Even my current w204&w205 2.1l 150kw 500torque diesels can barely get low 4's consistently and I still own them.

      Hmmms if low 4's are attainable with some data/statistics, I really need to look into an eco tune for my mk5.
      Consumption also really depends on the speed you are maintaining.
      Am really analytical on consumption as I do travel about 20-30,000km yearly and fuel can be a significant cost at that sort of travel.

      • So that's a standard TDI 103 wow that's amazing economy 4.4L but is it also a fast car at all or responsive? And how's the handling/steering

        • Yes it is a standard 103kw tdi.
          Did mods to it like suspension (struts/springs - lowered), 18" wheels, headlights.
          Mechanically is it stock.

          Honestly speaking, the 103kw is capable esep when you shift it into "S" holds the gear longer.
          It's fast enough for city driving 0-60km, due to the torque pulling feeling.
          Suggest - Go test drive both to find out.

          Will take some photos of my mk5 gti Pirelli consumption later and give you the data.

          • @markgab: So you own both cars, is there a major difference in like the power or torque?

            Does the S mode use more fuel in the city?

            I do a combination of city and highway driving.

            • +1

              @Willco88: Yes I used to, sold the TDI to get my w205 c250d 150kw 500nm with a city consumption of 8-9l/100km and still own the GTI for the weekend which I average 12-15l/100km.
              Answered the question below.
              With the TDI, I don't normally drive on S - Just to overtake.
              Fuel on S, I do not notice much of a change in consumption as it was only used to overtake in the city.
              Logically speaking, if you drive constantly on S, I assume and am sure consumption will increase as you are dragging/holding the gears longer and it is not designed to be efficient that way.

    • +1

      It really depends on your preference.
      1) Engines
      TDI = Low end torque, mostly used to city driving. The sudden inertia is where most diesels are efficient due to the combustion ratio.
      GTI = Gets to 100++km/hr quicker. Perks? Highway acceleration? Pops and crackles esep when down shifting.

      2) Brakes
      MK6 both TDI and GTI brakes are the same.

      3) Suspension
      TDI would be the comfort option.
      If you want the car lowered and stiffer suspension?
      You could always upgrade them, like what I did to mine Bilstein's B8s with GTD springs

      4) Model differences
      Jettas and Golfs are pretty much the same internals, just body shape.
      Polo have usually a smaller engine capacity and smaller frame.

      • This of the kind of information I need.

        Would you say there's a huge difference in like power or response between the 2 cars?

        I like a bit of power to overtake or going up hills where we need to be over 100kms/HR

        • +1

          From a stop to pedal on the floor.
          0-40km/h - The TDI will pull slightly ahead.
          40km/h onwards the GTIs turbo will spool at peak and will pull ahead.
          If I recall
          TDI 0-100km/h = 8.9s?
          GTI 0-100km/h = 6.6s
          2seconds isn't really a big difference if you were to count.

          100km/hr onwards the GTI will keep pulling ahead with might, the TDI will continue to pull but not as noticeable.
          It'll be faster than any NA 2.0l petal japanese car going uphill :D

          If you do alot of highway driving 80-90%, there wont be much of a difference between the two variants interms of consumption $300-$800+ more yearly? Then you can say the GTI is a fun choice :D

          If its more of the city 60-70% city and a weekly/fortnightly 15-20minute highway drive (burn the dpf), the diesel seems like a more sensible choice.

          My TDI vs GTI - Oh and I also changed the TDI exhaust to the stock GTI =X Total cost bumper $200 (wrecker) whole exhaust $50 (forum).

          • @markgab: Well I'm definitely leaving towards a diesel car for the fuel economy alone. To get 1000kms on 1 tank seems unbelievable.

            I just have to decide between the GTi or the TDI and if it's worth paying the premium for the GTi.

            I've never owned or driven a GOLF before but am hearing alot of positive feedback.

            I'm doing alot of city driving but maybe an hour or 2 a week up the hills and freeway just to open it up above 100km/HR 😋

            Handling is important as well we have alot of hills here in SA.

          • @markgab: Love what you've done with the TDI lowered big wheels

  • +1

    OP.. are you looking at the last of the MkVs or the MkVI?

    Changover happened in 2009.

    If you're already thinking about modding it, then get the GTI

  • Well it will depend on my budget at the time. Obviously I think the newer the better??

    • Not necessarily. At that age and mileage, it is case by case.

  • Well thank you guys for your responses I'll have to test both cars and decide when the time comes.

    • Get the GTI and get a mk6 over a mk5. then get supernova tail lights

  • I have a Mk5 GTI stock DSG with stock turbo. Bought it 2nd hand in 2012 leather interior and sunroof with 92K km on odo. To this day, have 244K km and have to admit, for a car like this, you really need to be careful with high mileage models. Replaced starter motor, radiator, coolant piping last 5yrs. Just recently replaced Oil filter housing assembly, AC pipe system with seals and gas, vacuum pump, charcoal canister and purge valve, high pressure fuel pump bucket+seal for a grand total of 2700aud.

    This car runs great, but mechanic told me time to sell the car, next to go will be turbo and DSG. one way to check if engine is fully worn out, put finger inside exhaust and rub some exhaust on finger. If it has a black oily texture to it, run away, cos the piston rings are worn, and the car is burning excessive oil that u have to keep refilling oil every couple of thousand Km.

    VW is good until these issues come up, but you know, I've been lucky with just general wear on car, and not some catastrophic failure like DSG and cracked pistons on other VWs i've heard of. General rule of thumb, any car with turbo on it will wear out faster vs a N/A engine car, generally less stress = longer life, even applies in humans too :)

    Top 3 car brands for customer satisfaction and reliability, 3. Toyota 2. Lexus 1. Honda. Japanese really know how to make a car engine last almost forever, and easier on the wallet compared to Euro brands for some some time now.

    • Well my other car is subaru liberty turbo so I might just put money into that

      • +1

        Ah, I used to have a Subaru impreza, AWD is really good in the car industry. Liberty is awesome too, especially if u have a spec b GT version. Subaru is owned by Fuji Heavy Industries, who Toyota happens to own a percentage of, so you got no problems getting replacement parts. Only thing i didn't like about my impreza, not so fuel efficient cos of its AWD system and it was equal to my GTI lol, but damn it handled so well.

        • +1

          Oh yea the AWD is the best part to me as I do alot of driving through the hills. It is amazing.