In 1995 when Audi and Porsche got together to make the RS2 I'd not long passed my driving test but I still clearly remember seeing an RS Blue example in St Johns Wood near Lords cricket ground probably due to VW Audi Car magazine having had one on their front cover. Road tests suggest it was quite flawed due to turbo lag but it was the first of the uber Avants from the Audi stable and was significantly better to drive than the S2 which it was based on, not least because of the Porsche spec brakes. As a result it's become a very collectable and desirable car.
In 2000 Audi finally produced a successor to the RS2. Quattro GmbH, an Audi subsidiary were responsible for turning the 265 bhp S4 into the 380 bhp RS4 which at the time had the highest bhp per litre of any production car. Part of this work involved the then Audi owned Cosworth Technologies forging their own cylinder heads and strengthened internals with the engine hand-built in Wellingborough, Northants before being shipped to Neckarsulm for final assembly. It can be hard to justify spending double the price of a good S4 on an RS4 but once you've driven an RS4 you realise that's actually money well spent. Evo described the engine as "a masterpiece" and it really is a special lump because unlike most turbo cars its peak power is right at the top of the rev range.

In late 1995 VW launched the Golf VR6 Highline, a limited edition based on the standard car but only available in two colours, the normal Diamond Black Metallic and the very unusual Purple Violet which has never been used on any other UK VW. Both came with air conditioning as standard and matching leather interiors. Yes that does mean purple leather but thankfully it was very dark and not that garish. The carpets were also a dark purple and came with matching overmats - thankfully the dash was black though. A wooden gear knob was standard and other little tweaks were the body coloured tailgate spoiler, the smooth rear VW badge, smaller 'VR6' badges, the higher rear section of the centre console (also used on the Vento VR6) and extra door seals. An oddity of the Highline is that it doesn't come with the plastic sill covers fitted to all other VR6's. All VR6's lost the wheel arch trims in October 1995 when the side repeaters were changed to an oval clear lense but some early Highlines pre-dated this and have the rectangular orange lenses.

Also in late 1995 VW introduced the Mk3 Golf GTI 8v 'Colour Concept' which combined a limited range of body colours with matching leather Recaro interiors, all based on the 8v Mk3 Golf GTI. The Salsa Green and Yellow cars proved very difficult to sell when new as a car with just a body colour like this has a limited market let alone when the interior is equally as 'exuberant'. Flash Red and Jazz Blue (very different to the MkIV Golf shade) were reasonably popular and Diamond Black, which in a way made a mockery of the whole idea was the pick of the bunch as a black Golf GTI with a heated black leather Recaro interior is the essence of desirability and good taste. Silver instruments dials were common to all the colours and are were an acquired taste. This model carried on to the end of Mk3 Golf production and was never available with the 16v engine which in a way was a pity. The Colour Concept returned with the Mk4 Golf but this time in both Cabrio and hatchback versions.
This is the 1990 model year brochure for the classic Mk1 Golf Cabriolet. Unlike the hardtop, the Cabrio gained its extended sills and bumpers in 1988 so as to soften what was by then a 14 year old design. This brochure offers a rare opportunity to see the carburettor alternative to the GTI, the Clipper Cabriolet, still sporting its original 13" steel wheels, a very rare sight these days! For 1991, the Clipper gained the later style 14" steels wheels from the Mk2 Golf GTI which offered a noticeable improvement in handling and looks. As the Sportline and Rivage models were launched in 1991, unfortunately they are not covered here. Even though it does feel dated today demand is still high with values stronger than for the Mk3. Out of all the 80's convertibles, this is the only one that does not look sad - well as long as it hasn't been excessively modified!

This is the 1991 model year Mk2 Golf Driver and GTD brochure. Unlike the GTI, these models never got the 1990 makeover and retained the small bumpers right to the end. Everybody knows about the Driver, a 1.6 in 1991 it became a 1.8 for the 1992 model year and proved a very popular car for those who couldn't justify GTI insurance premiums - though if your troublesome Pierburg 2E2 carburtettor started playing up, your fuel costs would negate any savings when compared to the hyper-efficient fuel injected GTI. The GTD is and always was a rare beast not helped by the fact most were used as workhorses and covered huge mileages with service intervals often neglected. Still it's interesting to look back at the GTD which at the time did a reasonably convincing job of starting the process of educating VW fans that a diesel could be good to drive. Thanks to Malcolm Boyd of Redditch for lending me this brochure (for far too long).

This is the 1990 model year Mk2 Golf GTI/16v original sales brochure. As it was the first year of big bumper production it does have some historical significance. The 8v still wears the 'Sportcheck' upholstery first seen in 1988 but the 16v had reached its optimum specification with big bumpers, BBS alloy wheels and horizontal coloured stripe 'rainbow' seat fabric officially called 'Colour-stripe). Curiously however it now lacked electric windows which, only for the 1990 model year, were consigned to the options list costing around £500. Another curious point is the unavailability of a 16v in Tornado Red, a decision reversed in 1991 due to public demand.
This is the 1989 model year Golf GTI/16v original sales brochure, the last year of production before the introduction of the milestone (or unneccesary?) 'big bumpers'. The 8v remains on the earlier style, 14 hole 14" steel wheels, while the 16v continues to be factory fitted with the 14" 'Coke bottle top' Montreal alloy wheels. Power steering is still not standard on either of them though a fair number of 16v's had it fitted as an extra cost option. Also at some point in 1989, the 16v front brake discs were uprated from 239mm to 256mm but don't expect to find this in a brochure!
The Corrado Storm was the ultimate incarnation of VW's yet to be replaced couthy coupe. Launch in late 1995 as a run-out limited edition, it came in a choice of just two colours, Mystic Blue and Classic Green complemented by leather interiors and that silky smooth 2.9 litre 190 bhp VR6 power-plant under its bulging bonnet. Even when freshly launched used values had crept above the list price and today the cars still fetch a weighty premium over the still sought after standard VR6. Is it worth it? Well if you can find a nice VR6 regardless of whether it is a Storm or not then you have found a great car which, unlike the Golf VR6, combines that fantastic engine with a chassis capable of exploiting it. Definitely one for my 'ultimate garage'.
This is the brochure of the German version of the Mk3 Golf GTI Anniversary which was known over there as '20 Jahre GTI'. Translated this means '20 Year GTI' and refers to the reason for the model's existence, to celebrate 20 years of Golf GTI production. The brochure has much more content than the 4 side UK version. Unfortunately this limited edition was just a series of cosmetic changes unlike the 25th Anniversary Mk4 1.8T version which featured similar tweaks coupled with a power hike and a 6 speed gearbox. They are still desirable and the launch of the Mk4 Anniversary saw an increase in market awareness for the Mk3 model. The unfortunate link between the two is that they were both fitted with special BBS wheels, which even though they were different styles, were both prone to premature corrosion. I owned one of this from Dec 1999 to Jan 2001 driving to Spain when a French port blockade meant no sailings and it was a great car if not the ultimate GTI. Thanks to Glyn Walley for sending it to me.

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