- Hot-Hatch Heaven
- Clean And Steady
- Performance? Yes, please.
- Away In The Night
1. Hot-Hatch Heaven
Starting off with a generic piece of information, for the audience that isn’t involved in the hot-hatch phenomenon, I’ll try and make it simple, because this info is vital for fully understanding the following feature: the Golf GTI was the first hot-hatch and its legacy sparked a worldwide movement in terms of car culture. It’s because of this specific car that we now have and enjoy a full-on automotive class, where all the other brands have put their responses on the market. Easy as that, no one can or should deny it. Onwards, then.
Enter the GTI Edition 35, an anniversary edition of the model launched in 1975, powered by a 232-bhp updated power unit from the Mk5 (also used on the Mk6 R model, where it had 266-bhp). Simple as that, nothing out of the ordinary, just as a true hot-hatch should be: non-pretentious and ready to rumble.
The rightful heir to the Golf GTI Edition 30 (my all-time personal favorite GTI, actually), the Edition 35 followed the same recipe as before. Small exterior tweaks to separate itself from the normal GTI bunch, that well-known red color, and that amazing 2-litre engine that keeps improving with every generation. For any hot-hatch aficionado out there, this car must surely mean something. And so it did for me, until I got a little closer...
2. Clean And Steady
The car we were invited to cover has little to none of the elements fitted on the stock Edition 35, as the attention to detail and the modifications begin right away, upon gazing at it closely for a few seconds.
At the back, we have Rocket Fabrication exhausts for a louder sound and some additional power, while the springs have been replaced with a custom air suspension, made by AFS from a BC suspension, combining the airride with some stock elements.
The already gorgeous GTI wheels were replaced with 19” BBS CK, 8.5 ET35, and for the tires, the owner went with some Michelin Pilot 4S. All these changes needed new brakes, too, so a 350 mm 6-piston Brembo ZR18 set was chosen, to be able to manage that huge amount of pressure.
Other mods include a stability bar under the front axle, so the car lost some of its nimbleness but gained rigidity, and a custom carbon rear wing, to enhance the corner-grip, which is much needed, for any hot-hatch.
3. Performance? Yes, please.
All sounds good and looks extremely well-done, with care and good taste. However, we’re not done yet, not by a mile. The engine mods, the under-the-bonnet stuff, that’s what we were here for.
The motorized heart of the GTI was pumped up, first to a Stage 2 - 310 bhp, then to a Stage 2 - 330 bhp, and finally, to a Stage 2+, delivering a whopping 350 bhp and 550 Nm. The intake is an oversized AMR and some fiddling has been done to bring the performance to a maximum, such as the ECS tuning that canceled the PCV exhaust, the cancelation of the intake valves, the cancelation of the RGR, the electronic cut-off for the exhaust sound. Additionally, the car benefited from a DOP motorsport engine remap and a gearbox re-soft to increase the shift changes to a higher rpm, for that perfect sporty feel.
But wait, there’s even more. What about the Mishimoto intercooler or the injectors that came straight out of an Audi RS4? What about the Autotech gas pump and the Powerflex nuts? Also, for the media side of this vehicle, a Digital Designs subwoofer, on top of everything else. Talk about a carefully built project car, and there you have it.
4. Away In The Night
I’ve could have spent hours discussing the number of details that were put into this build, and still, the article wouldn’t have been enough. Because with every single part that needed to be mentioned, two more came up, and so the story could have gone on forever. I’ll let the photo gallery below tell the rest of it, as this was a truly amazing car to feature.
Oh, and one last thing, that was actually pretty nice to hear. Upon crafting a majestic GTI, while still preserving its core roots, this little red beast is used as a daily driver, to and from work. And that, in my opinion, is the greatest gain of all, since hot-hatches are meant to be enjoyed and one of their main purposes is to be used for creating sublime driving memories.
Written by Mihai Dumitrescu / Instagram
Photographed by Anna Dumitrescu / Instagram