Okay so that title in itself is a handful but I have no dealt with not one MK6 GTI but three and one of them has been my daily driver since October 2018.
If you’re looking for a car that’s decently good on gas (Don’t think you can run around with the pedal to the floor all of the time though), has comfortable interior, and has enough cargo room then this is a great choice of car for you. The MK6 GTI can stay in it’s purely stock form and be the fun little car that it’s advertised as and always has been or you can modify it to be a beast that you’ve always dreamed of.
I haven’t sat in a leather seated MK6 for long but I know that they’re still comfortable but every leather interior has the same issues, getting sticky in the heat. The cloth MK6 seats are normally cloth with a plaid pattern (Heritage as people like to call it) that can be a little funky to the eye at first but it grows on you the longer you’re around it. Trust me on that, please. Its a fun quirk that I enjoy.
Here is the kicker though, it is a Volkswagen, so that means it can be riddled with things that go wrong from time to time. The intake manifold needs to be replaced about the same time the timing chain should be done.
But wait there’s more!
-The MK6 era (2009-2014) is during the time of when Volkswagen was in full swing of using their 2.0t TSI engine Which was riddled with issues in Volkswagen and Audi applications at the beginning. They burn oil as part of regular operation, after 2012 the tensioner failure issue was fixed on production engines. The TSI came about during the MK5 generation in 2008.5 models. Many of the earlier ones were even more unreliable than thought to be. The same engine in the Audi’s experienced an oil consumption issue in the B8 A4’s that was usually due to bad piston rings. Another common issue is water pump failure. Thankfully if your car is pre-fix the tensioner is easily fixed with an aftermarket stronger replacement. In 2011 they updated the engine which fixed the piston ring problem in the GTI’s. (I’ve got a 2011 so that is a huge plus for me)
Back when I used to run around in my MK4 I realized that I was wasting too much gas going back and forth between college and home. I sold it to a friend and looked for cars, a 2011 carbon grey steel metallic five door fell right into my lap, it was already APR stage 2, had coilovers, a nice set of wheels, and this translates to that it was built for me. Oh and the clutch was a heavy stage two which I love. Little did I know know, this would create some drama with my friend that owns a red three door.
So with me owning my Grey GTI that made three in the friend group, a red three door, and a black five door.
We’ll start with the red GTI: My friend bought it with about 60 thousand miles for around 12k. The car had a clinking noise in the back from a broken spring which wasn’t really an issue for drive-ability. The car lived about an hour west for its earlier life on a dirt road, wasn’t driven in the winter, and was mostly highway driven. It held up exceptionally well. Rock chips riddled the front end though and left the headlights cracked. For the cars age it was in great condition. I drove the car while I didn’t know how to drive stick very well but I still complained about how feathery it felt.
MK6 clutches are weird, they release about halfway and they feel almost like a toy when pushing them down. My friends Black MK6 has a stage two clutch and that actually made the feel better for the most part. I still stalled it once but that happens.
The next time I drove the red GTI is after I had gotten used to my MK4 and after my friend put Race land coil-overs into it. My GTI was made in 2002 so his is 10 years newer than mine. It actually makes more noise inside the cabin creaking wise than my MK4. The ride was bumpy and it actually felt less responsive.
Have you ever ridden in the back of an older jeep wrangler? The felt akin to that, just not as back breaking.
The red GTI is basically still stock engine wise, exhaust wise it has some things done but its still quiet. If anything it’s a bit more bearable.
Now to the Black GTI: I kind of understand why some people are brand “purists” now. (Still not enough though) I’ve seen it most in BMW owners honestly. This is a bad comparison because what I’m looking at is between the stock suspension Volkswagen produced versus the badly handling very cheap race land coil-overs. The Black GTI handled quite well. But let me tell you. All GTI’s are kind of slow to begin with. Their fun comes from the handling, they’re almost like glorified go karts. (That goes to the Mazda Miata 100% though.)
Slow isn’t the case for my friends Black GTI, the car is deafeningly loud with a straight pipe, and it’s quite fast. It sits at about 300hp, which is 100 more than it came with stock. I didn’t beat on the car but it was fast and fun. The car made me smile when I pressed the pedal down. The pull was obviously more than my MK4 which is actually even from the factory with the stock MK6. The MK6’s come with a turbo (Thank you MK5 for being the test dummy of the 2.0 engine) rather than my old naturally aspirated VR6.
Slow isn’t the case for my MK6 either, Apr stage 2 puts it at 250Whp and 320Wtq. The Black forest industries stage two clutch has a stiff push feel that I easily acclimated to, the coilovers are my main gripe and how easy it is to spin the tires. (250 to the wheels on 225’s is quite spin happy.) I have a short throw shifter, a weighted shift knob and a polyurethane dogbone mount insert, they greatly improve the overall drive-ability. I let my mother drive it and she asked me where neutral was because the throw is so short and with the weighted knob it likes to pass into a gear. (Not for me though, I know where neutral is very well.) I bought the car with 142k and its currently at 146k on January 24th 2019. It’s a good highway cruiser and this winter it has averaged 27 MPG. Probably due for an intake cleaning but it’s still pretty decent for a tuned car.
MK6’s are good off the production line but they’re fantastic when you throw a bit more horse power and torque at them. The missing torque down low when they’re stock is an issue easily remedied by a tune. Just spend your money wisely and on legit parts.