Motorsports Monday: 2006 Volkswagen Rabbit

This is a $18,000 11 year old Volkswagen Golf. And, by Volkswagen Golf, I mean Rabbit, because for a short time VW North America apparently decided to resurrect the small fuzzy bunny name which dated back to the first generation. Hey, it had worked with the Beetle, right? Except that most people had negative associations with the Rabbit which outweighed the negative associations with the Mk.4 Golf. It was a strange choice that was pretty quickly abandoned. Whatever, it’s the same car with a bunny symbol on it so you’ll make Playboy fans all excited to see a kindred spirit driving. Yes, that’s why they’re giving you a thumbs up.

Okay, back to the price. It won’t take anyone long to see that you can pop over to Volkswagen and buy a brand new Golf for under $20,000. This one is 11 years old and has nearly a quarter million miles on the chassis. I know Golfs retain silly residual value, but this is a bit ridiculous – or, is it?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2006 Volkswagen Rabbit on eBay

2013 Volkswagen Scirocco 1.4 TSI

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We don’t feature a lot of new cars on this site and one reason for this is that Germany is holding back when it comes to some of its newest and most interesting products. It was just announced that VW is pulling the plug on the two-door GTI. Never has there been a better time for Volkswagen to bring back over the Scirocco than now. While the company claimed the Portuguese-built coupe would be too expensive for the market here, another big reason was fear of cannibalizing GTI sales. A sports coupe is what Volkswagen could use right now to rejuvenate its lineup in the wake of the diesel emissions scandal. Will they listen to the enthusiasts cries? Probably not. So in the meantime, have a gander at what we can’t have in the US, this 2013 Scirocco 1.4 TSI 6-speed manual. It might not be the fastest version of the Scirocco, but it’s certainly capable and a good choice for those looking to spice up their daily drive.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2014 Volkswagen Scirocco 1.4 TSI on Mobile.de

2001 Audi TT Coupe 180 quattro

We don’t spend a lot of time on these pages talking about the Audi TT, and that’s a disservice to what is a great car. It’s often called a pretend sports car, but dismiss for a moment that it’s not a Porsche 911 and consider what it is. Starting as a show car in 1995 (hard to believe!), most thought it would never come to market like the futuristic look of the concept. But surprisingly the look was almost identical; the slinky exterior and modern looking interior managing to well mask the Golf underpinnings. The turbocharged motor packed 180 horsepower to start, but the promise of more in the future sounded great because of the Haldex-differential “quattro” drivetrain. In many ways, it was always the promise of more power and special editions that somewhat overshadowed the 180 horsepower model, but today we have a lovely example of the lower power Coupe:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2001 Audi TT Coupe 180 quattro on eBay

Motorsports Monday: 2007 Volkswagen GTi

There are some (quite a large number, in fact) who claim you can’t have fun on a race track in a front wheel drive car. I know quite a few of them. And in the wrong front driver, they’re likely right. Take a 1976 Cadillac Eldorado with its 8.2 liter V8 channeled through one front tire at any time and enough body roll to mimic a rowboat during Katrina and the recipe might be humorous, but doubtfully fun. However, 1976 also saw the introduction of a revolution in front drive platforms – the very first Golf GTi. Consider, for a moment, that GM’s replacement in 1977 for the thirsty 8.2 V8 was a every-so-slightly less thirsty 7.0 liter V8 (it was, after all, fuel crisis time….). That cast iron monster produced a heady 180 horsepower. Volkswagen engineers took a inline-4 with only 1.6 liters and twisted 110 horsepower out of it in a car that weighed about the same as the motor in the Cadillac. That was the magic of the GTi and it’s why it started the trend of hot front wheel drive cars that still is running arguably stronger than ever today. With clever transmissions, electronics and differentials, perceived weaknesses in the design have been nearly eliminated and most of the really trick nose FWD cars are as quick – if not quicker in some cases – than their rear-drive counterparts around a track. Therefore racing FWD cars is still a popular past time as today’s quite successful GTi is a testament to:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2007 Volkswagen GTi on Racer Connect

10K Friday: 2008 Volkswagen GTi

Normally, the 10K Friday posts that I’ve done have been comparos of multiple different cars that are usually a stretch of the budget. Each one has highlights such as being more desirable, better looking, more functional or luxurious, or faster. But today I’m going to do something a little different – a comparo of only one car. That’s because the GTi is one of the best all-arounders ever made and I think we do our readership a disservice by not looking at the newer models more often. By the time that Volkswagen got to the Mk.4 chassis, many automotive journalists and enthusiasts alike began to dismiss the GTi as fat, tired and played out. Quality was poor, pricing was really high, and performance relative to some other models wasn’t as impressive as it once had been. The GTi was, in many ways, a victim of its own success. Every subsequent generation was compared to the original, a car which had such a mystique that it was effectively impossible to match. Mk.2 models had the stellar 2.0 16V and great looks; Mk.3 models sprouted the wonderful VR6. The Mk.4 models introduced turbocharging, more luxury and much improved interior quality, all-wheel drive, 6-speed transmissions and more technology than was probably recommendable. And while the Mk.4 was a success from a sales standpoint, the GTi was still a fringe car that was arguably too expensive for what you got.

Volkswagen took a huge step forward, though, when it progressed to the new Mk.5 chassis. Unlike the previous generations that had mostly been enjoyed strictly by the Volkswagen faithful, suddenly journalists were talking about how great the new GTi was. Interior quality was leagues better than it ever had been, with a slick design and high quality materials. The new 2.0T motor was great too – with more power than even some versions of the VR6 had previously offered.…

Motorsports Monday: 2009 Volkswagen GTi

To call the TireRack sponsored “One Lap of America” anything other than a grueling competition would be a disservice to the event. On par with some of the greatest endurance races in the world, the 7-day, 3,200 mile trek around the United States has an added twist – you have to drive your race car between stages. Now, that’s something that occurs in the World Rally Championship – but they cover far fewer miles and have pro teams, pit crews and major automotive manufacturers backing them up. To say that the One Lap is a amateur-only event would also be misleading, but it is far from a strictly professional series – and where else would you see a Honda Odyssey win at anything? Combining several different classes of cars, you get the spectrum from classic performance muscle cars through modern super GTs. The winner of class “SSGT2 SB” in 2014 was a Volkswagen GTi – one of a trio of cars prepared to dominate the event. When you consider that the cars that ranked above them were super GT royalty – Corvette ZR-1s, Viper SRT-10s, Boss 302s and a plethora of Nissan GT-Rs – the level of performance from the GTis is drawn into perspective. Now the builders are moving on, leaving these seriously potent track weapons available at a fraction of their build cost:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2009 Volkswagen GTi on eBay

10K Friday Practical Performance Edition: R32 v. S4 v. 330xi v. E500 Estate v. Cayenne Turbo

Edit: Thanks to several readers for pointing out several details that prove this Cayenne is a Turbo, but not a Turbo S. Only 450 horsepower, then!

It’s been a few weeks since my last 10K Friday entry, and I wanted to get something together for the impending snow New England is once again expecting. To remind us of the terms of the comparison, I’m looking for themed cars around $10,000 (give or take, we’ll see later). I try to generally find the newest cars possible, figuring that for many these will be a daily driver. In this case, I was looking for performance all-wheel drive cars that offered year round practicality with a touch of sport. So lining up the best I could find from Volkswagen, Audi, Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Porsche gives us an interesting amount of diversity for your hard-earned dollars. Today we have two sedans, a hatchback, a wagon and a S.U.V. to contemplated; which is the winner?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2008 Volkswagen R32 on eBay

Motorsport Mondays: 2010 Volkswagen Jetta TDi Cup

Not that long ago, if you were at a gathering of automobile enthusiasts and said you had a diesel race car, you would likely have been laughed out of the group. And if I’m completely honest, I probably would have been one of those laughing. The term “diesel” coupled with “performance” just were two words at opposite ends of the spectrum to me even as recently as the mid 1990s. I recall that I had a friend who was very excited about the then relatively new TDi Golf and Jetta, reciting from carefully memorized brochures the fuel economy figures in any given situation. But then, something strange happened. I grew up and got a job where I had to drive – a lot – and was footing my own gas bill. Suddenly, the concept of 50 m.p.g. and having something a little different than the typical performance cars made sense to me. I was contemplating all sorts of weird permutations, generally into the cars I owned. For example, I thought the concept of swapping a diesel motor into the V8 quattro chassis was an interesting one, or for that matter an Audi S6 – the look of performance, but the mileage and run-for-eternity longevity of a diesel motor. Then Volkswagen did us all a favor and started bringing over performance versions of their TDi cars, starting with the Jetta TDi Cup Edition. An effective homologation of their one-make race series, the TDi Cups were essentially a GLi with the TDi powerplant – and offer performance in corners to make things fun coupled to fuel economy that makes life more practical:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2010 Volkswagen Jetta TDi Cup on eBay

10K Friday Performance Edition: M3 v. 944 Turbo v. CLK500 v. S4 v. GTi

Well, I hope this will stir some interest, as I think this is a bit of an interesting comparison. What level of performance can you buy for $10,000 (give or take) these days? Surprisingly, there are a lot of options – and those options vary pretty seriously in their execution and packages; there’s a wagon and a sports car, two sedan-based coupes and a hatchback. Engines range from a 2 liter turbo to a V8, with a bit of everything in between. Yet, what appears to be a very strange comparison linked only by price is revealed to be much closer when you look at performance figures:

E36 M3: 240 hp, 0-60 6.0 seconds, 3,200 lbs
944 Turbo: 220 hp, 0-60 5.9 seconds, 2,900 lbs
CLK500: 302 hp, 0-60 5.7 seconds, 3,800 lbs
S4 Avant: 250 hp, 0-60 5.6 seconds, 3,700 lbs
GTi: 200 hp, 0-60 6.6 seconds, 3,200 lbs

The range is much closer than you’d expect – especially when you consider that these figures could easily be equaled in margin of error, driver skill and reaction time. In the twisties, the lower powered cars like the GTi catch up to the higher power CLK and S4. All are, in one way or another, practical choices. Some are destined (or already) classics, while others will likely fade away. So what would be your choice? Let’s start with an M3 we’ve already seen:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1999 BMW M3 on eBay

2010 Volkswagen Jetta TDi Cup Edition

2014 will reportedly introduce to the U.S. a car that many Volkswagen fans have been eagerly awaiting – the Golf “GTD” TDi. Basically a GTi with the turbo diesel in place of the 2.0T, the GTD looks great, drives wonderfully and gets some fantastic mileage. But go back a few years and we basically already had the prototype here; the short lived 2010 Jetta TDi Cup Edition. What you got for your hard earned bucks was a basically a Jetta GLi with it’s heart yanked out and replaced by the thrifty and torque-laden turbo diesel. But this wasn’t just a styling exercise for Volkswagen – they had actively engaged in racing the Jetta TDi in the “TDi Cup” to help promote the TDi brand, so this car has some racing heritage as well. Only 1,500 were produced in black, white, blue, or today’s Salsa Red:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2010 Volkswagen Jetta TDi Cup Edition on eBay