Project GTI: Taking Stock

Have no fear, the GTI is still very much alive and kicking.

I hadn’t realised that it has been over a month since the last update, but truth be told, there hasn’t been a whole lot happening with the car. In saying that, time spent not doing anything to it has been replaced with time spent planning the next steps.

There has been some activity, specifically a full service including oil (Mobil 1 5W30, although I’ve been reading a lot lately about tuned GTIs running on 5W40), oil filter (OE) and four fresh spark plugs to mark the occasion of the car passing the 100,000 kms (62,000 miles) mark. Other small things have been addressed too, like finally allowing Flip to finish the bodywork by tidying up some gaps around the new wide front wings and polishing the car to the shine its now enjoying. I don’t think he was very happy with me floating around and going to car shows with a 95 per cent finished car, having taken the car away before he could properly finish it.

Sorry, buddy.

2016 Project GTI Taking Stock-2

The car has been an absolute dream though the last while. The difference the Wavetrac differential makes is just plain silly, to put it mildly. The forward traction that the car now has is barely believable, even in wet or cold conditions, and I still struggle with how accelerating is now the cure when the front wants to push. Roundabouts are my new favourite thing.

2016 Project GTI Taking Stock-4

It’s just been nice to enjoy the car for what it is the last while. I think there was a point where I was preventing myself from enjoying it because I had convinced myself that it wouldn’t be perfect until the next upgrade, and the next one etc…

As it sits right now though, I have a GTI on dialled-in Air Lift Performance 3H suspension, huge Tarox brakes, lightweight RAYS wheels in a custom colour, subtle wide arches with tasteful exterior additions, and 275hp with REVO stage II software and a Scorpion turbo-back exhaust. It’s 100 per cent liveable with everyday, even with the upgraded 034 Motorsport engine and gearbox mounts, and can just about squeeze out 40mpg on a long drive. Lean into the power a little and the car absolutely annihilates the road. You just don’t expect a car which can be so docile one moment, to transform so violently in the next.

My happiness has been short lived, though.

2016 Project GTI Taking Stock-16
2016 Project GTI Taking Stock-17

On a recent assignment for Volkswagen Ireland, I found myself in possession of what I think is the best performance Golf that you can buy today: the GTI Clubsport. Yes, I include the Golf R in that statement.

This was the non-S model, which means it had back seats and less power than its Nürburgring lap record-setting sibling, but I was perfectly okay with that. For me, it remains what a GTI should be without sacrificing what it means to be a GTI. It’s also the perfect response to critics who say VW Group cars are boring.

Of course, I’m tremendously biased on these matters, but I really do think that this is one of the best hot hatches you can buy today, if not the best. Maximum power is around 284hp on overboost, the brakes are bigger than the standard GTI fare and the differential is a further evolved version of the one found in the Performance Pack. First and second gears are quick, but third gear and beyond are surprisingly fast. It’s a great car.

What really made the car for me though wasn’t the performance – my Mk6 could hang with it all day – but the subtle touches inside the car which made it feel that little bit more special. The Alcantara-wrapped steering wheel with the stitched red ‘apex’ stripe, the frankly superb Recaro seats and the much more modern infotainment system. I’m a sucker for gadgets, so there was a lot that appealed to me.

The thing is, I really like the interior on the Mk6. It’s one of the main reasons I went for a Mk6 over a Mk5 and I even prefer the materials and style of it over a standard Mk7. It has inspired me to re-evaluate my own interior and to see how I can implement some of the Clubsport touches. Research is well underway…

2016 Project GTI Taking Stock-8

I couldn’t miss out on an opportunity to bring the two cars together before the Clubsport needed to go back. It wasn’t as hard handing back the keys for it when I knew I was going to be getting back into my own car, so I think that says a lot.

2016 Project GTI Taking Stock-12

We’re heading deep into the winter here in Ireland, which isn’t as harsh as what some of you have to go through, but it’s not exactly pleasant either. Freezing fog, short, cold days with little sunshine – but surprisingly little rain so far – leave our roads in a pretty woeful state at the best of times. There’s currently a thick layer of grit coating the back of the car and the wheels have changed to a much darker colour.

It’s not pretty.

2016 Project GTI Taking Stock-14

Still, the months of darkness ahead will eventually lead into the sunshine of a new season. While the car is the best it has ever been, I still feel that there’s a lot more to come from it. I want to start putting some of the long term plans into action, like making the most of the wide front fenders and fitting a wider wheel and tyre combination. I should be able to go from an 8.5-inch wheel with 225/40R18 tyre to a 9.5-inch wheel with 255/35R18 tyre, with little fuss, although I’m a touch concerned about over-rotation.

With that much tyre on the front, I think we should release the remaining potential from the engine. 400hp is considered a safe number on an EA888, and I’m curious as to just how fast that is in a Golf. All in the name of science, obviously. It’ll need a turbocharger, an intercooler and new software at a minimum to get somewhere towards that maximum safe number.

Just when you think you’re on top of things, eh? I don’t think I’d have it any other way, to be honest.

Paddy McGrath
Instagram: pmcgphotos
Twitter: pmcgphotos



Comments are closed.


by Oldest
by Best by Newest by Oldest

Still think one of the best mods you've done is the arch widening. It's so subtle but gives it so much menace. Look forward to the next update!


Colouryum Appreciate that, often forget how much it has changed the front of the car. Need to start making the most of all that extra room though.


Car is looking good Paddy, everything your doing works very well, the wheels, arches, the subtle spoiler & splitter just adds aggression where its needed.

I spent a a very short amount of time sat in a Clubsport S at a recent Golf celebration meet and it got me thinking about how I can update the interior of my Edition 30, alcantara wheel refurb being the first thing on the list. Im also looking at an apple play ready touch screen head unit to bring an even more modern feel to it. Like yourself I love my "older" Golf. I love the new Mk7 but I can't bring myself to part with the ED30.

This is my first VW and I'm sure as hell it wont be the last.


Jay_TrackAddict You've pretty much nailed the exact path I'm currently undertaking. I've found a company who will re-trim my wheel with alcantara, red stitching, the lot, but just waiting to hear back from them with a price. I also have my eye on a - horrendously expensive - DSG shift knob and boot, along with GT3 RS style door pulls.

Just fitted a new head unit, which I'll be sharing shortly.


it's looking really good, i would take that car in a heartbeat but the wheel is on the wrong side :( heh.

how is the fuel consumption in normal traffic with such an engine? does it have any oil consumption?

what will be your winter wheels? factory alloys?


40mpg really?  I have a MkV Jetta GLi and I'm averaging 27-28 mpg.  I didn't think there was that big a difference between the Golfs and Jettas and between a DSG and manual tranny.


rag_nb It's an effort, but it is possible. Also, worth bearing in mind that a US & UK gallon are slightly different.


Paddy McGrath rag_nb US gallon is just under 3.8-litres, whereas the imperial UK gallon is just over 4.5-litres.


abezzegh87 Over the course of a year, I think I averaged 33mpg. I gave up tracking it because it was getting tedious!


Paddy McGrath Oh yeah I hadn't thought about that.  Probably also has something to do with the weird idle and misfire issues I've been having.  Changed the coils to R8 coils and NGK plugs but nothing helped.  I'm gonna try Iridiums soon as it gets warm enough.


The last photo is probably the best Golf photo ever taken.
Correct me if I'm wrong!


Paddy you should win an award for being able to park that close to a kerb without touching it


DelaneyE90   I am amazed that you can make $9120 

in  weeks .................


Paddy McGrath I like the sound of the GT3 door pulls, they could look very smart. Be interested to know who is doing the dsg knob for you, mine is starting to look a little bit sorry for itself and I'd want it to match the re-trimmed wheel its done.


my neigbour recently purchased Infiniti FX SUV
 try this site....


sooo you guys dont need front numberplates in ireland? curse you...


If a 9 inch wide rim fits under the stock arches of my Scenic without any issues, you should be fine with a 9.5 inch one under those meaty front fenders :D I have to admit that airride is not my suspension of choice usually, but your car just works so well! Definitely looking forward to future upgrades :)


DelaneyE90 I've it down to a fine art, courtesy of the almost unbelievable narrow street parking spaces here.


TurboSteve We do, mine is just on a quick release.


gazserm Thanks! I mean, I could fit a 9J under the stock arch but I'd be restricted with tyre size and ride height. I don't want a car that rubs, too old for that shit now.


Now that you compare to the clubsport..
Had a short drive in one, the steering really surprised me!
There's like a turn and a half from full lock to full lock.
Another thing, I'm a French Car guy, but shy of maybe the clubsport, your gti is the only one I wouldn't mind looking at daily...


damn shots are fantastic!


like Gary replied I am dazzled that a mother can get paid $4160 in a few weeks on the 
computer . Read Full Report..............


Paddy McGrath Yeah, definitely not my stlye either! I currently have 235/40s on, which don't rub at all, even though I have stock dampers with lowering springs, which isn't quite stiff (and yes, I've taken it to the the name of science, of course). I'd love to get 255s, though.... When can we expect the next update? I do check your insta regularly, but a SH update is always even better.




like Dawn replied I'm shocked that someone able to profit 
$8730 in a few weeks on the internet --------------------
see more.................................


Serious progress is serious. I love the methodical approach you've taken with this build mate. Looking forward to seeing what spec it is in come Wörthersee next year. It's going to be a fun few months!


I am inspired that anyone can earn $7391

in 3 weeks ................


gazserm Paddy McGrath Should be an update in the next two weeks, working on fitting a new - awesome - multimedia system this week, along with upgrading the car's sound system. Don't worry, there's no fibreglass subwoofer installs to be seen anywhere!


Ben Chandler It feels too close already.


alex_efk24 Thanks! Most were taken on a new Fuji X70 compact camera I picked up to bring everywhere with me, really impressed with its performance.




like Irene answered I'm in shock that a mom can make $5437 in 
a few weeks on the internet )))))))))))(((((((((((((((((((()))))))(((((((((((
see more....................................


Love this man, excellent progress. 
As for the Clubsport, I can't say I'm surprised - second in this years Evo Car Of The Year, to the 911 R; beating far more "exotic" machinery in the process.


Paddy McGrath Sounds great - and good to know! Being subtle is what sets the car apart!


Absolutely love the progress and approach you've taken to the GTI.  I recently picked up one as well and have quickly fallen in love with it.

Just a quick question, and forgive me if it's already been addressed, but what have you done with the fog lights?  Are they just bulbs?

I love the photographs!  Everything on the car looks excellent.  Looking forward to the coming installments!


GabrielDR Yes, they're just 2500K halogen bulbs.


I'm taken by surprise that some one can earn $8126

                         in 4 weeks ...................


my bf's  just got black Kia Rio Hatchback 

just by .................


I was actually interested to see how the diff in the performance pack Mk7s compared with your Wavetrac install, as the "I still struggle with how accelerating is now the cure when the front wants to push" comment is something that rings true with me and my GTI-P. Did you find the Clubsport (I know the diff is slightly different) was similar in cornering grip to your own, or where there shortcomings?


ChrisDuffin I felt the diff in the Leon Cupra ST280, GTI Performance Pack & GTI Clubsport were all inferior to the Wavetrac. They were very good in the dry, but came undone too easily in damp and wet conditions. You can certainly feel a lot more strength in the Wavetrac, if that makes sense.


Paddy McGrath makes sense. I suppose there's only so aggressive VW are willing to make their road going cars so I can understand why, thanks.


like Dawn replied I'm shocked that someone able to profit $8730 
 see more...............................................


What do you mean by 'over-rotation' if you don't mind me asking?


my Aunty Eliana just got a fantastic white Volkswagen CC only from working part time off a 
home pc...
     official website.............