Golf Mark 2

Arguably the best all-round hot hatch built during the 1980s, the Volkswagen Golf GTI commands respect and adoration from a serious number of fans and now petrol heads.

Although the world-beating Beetle was still a strong seller for Volkswagen in the early 1970s, the German giant knew that wouldn’t be the case forever. A fresh, completely new offering was required, and the Golf was just that. The Mk1 GTI was like nothing that had come before it – it benefitted from light weight and direct steering, combined with innovative suspension treatment (featuring MacPherson struts and offset coil springs) that resulted in masses of driving enjoyment. The Mk2 came along and built on that reputation with a far more solid car.

Mk2 Golf GTIs have been long renowned for their sharp handling and superb agility out on the road. Which engine fitted will certainly have an impact on out-and-out performance, however. The Golf GTI 16V was long seen as the one to go for – and in terms of outright horsepower it’s certainly the market leader – but don’t discount the eight-valver out of hand; it has more low-down torque and as such will likely be easier to drive on a day-to-day bas