The sad but true reality is that the history of automobiles is littered with unhappy stories of great cars being replaced by lemons, the result of ‘consensus’ and ‘committees’, all approved by truly ‘boneheaded’ executives. When a beloved car is replaced by an even more beloved new version of itself, there is cause to rejoice, and it’s exactly what happened to the 1983 Volkswagen Golf GTI Mk2. It had a tall order to replace the much-loved Mk1, but it did so with aplomb. The Mk2 distinguished itself by its exceptional build quality and attention to detail, its handling and its excellent styling. The GTI benefited from special Pirelli wheels and subtle detailing.
The original GTI Mk2 was powered by a smooth, if not exactly inspired1.8-liter inline four-cylinder engine, which developed 112 horsepower. Although not breath-taking, it was still fast enough to take this little car to a top speed of 114 miles per hour; it accelerated to 60 mph in just under 10 seconds. Two years after its introduction, a 16-valve version of the same engine was introduced, with 136 horsepower, which gave the GTI higher performance.
The 1983 Volkswagen Golf GTI Mk2 was a worthy successor to the Mk1, and a great example of things that work out well. The Mk3, which followed in 1992, was a great example of the exact opposite, with the notable exception of the VR6 models.