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VW Golf II GTI 16V (1986 to 1991): purchase advice, prices

In the USA, a Golf II GTI 16V was sold for over 80,000 euros, on the German market the value has doubled in ten years. What's the point?

A red VW Golf II GTI 16V was auctioned for 87,000 US dollars at the end of January 2023 via the US auction portal bringatrailer.com . That's the equivalent of around 81,000 euros. A new record price for a Golf 2 GTI on this portal. Until then, the record was $42,560, achieved in spring 2022 for a red 16V. On the German market, Classic Analytics has been observing rising prices for the sport of golf for years: between 2013 and 2023, the value of a well-maintained GTI 16V doubled. But the successor to the original GTI was not always so popular. On the contrary: In the beginning he had to put up with criticism.

After VW presented the Golf II in 1983, the GTI got its fat off shortly thereafter: It had become sluggish. The larger and more solid body faced the proven 1800 with 112 hp. The Golf II was 70 kg heavier, 15 kg of which was due to the petrol tank, which was enlarged from 40 to 55 litres. The 17 centimeters longer and five and a half wider bodywork made the two-seater GTI no longer look as well-trained as the Golf I GTI . Today that has been put into perspective – compared to modern cars, a Golf II looks wiry and compact.

Golf II GTI in test

In the first test of a Golf II GTI, auto motor und sport measured three tenths of a second longer for the prestige sprint from zero to 100 km/h. Despite the better drag coefficient (0.35 instead of 0.40), the top speed was practically the same. The strength of the eight-valve was in the torque, which was two Newton meters higher thanks to a new exhaust system and was available at 3,100 instead of 3,500 rpm: "Thanks to the pronounced engine elasticity, the GTI can be driven almost as lazily as an automatic car," wrote Thomas Fischer in Edition 3/1984. The editor also praised the torque of the engine.

The sixteen valve could and can do all this better. The 16V engine, presented at the IAA 1983, was a long time coming, but then even in a comparative test with a BMW 320i in auto motor und sport 1/1986, it was convincing with its powerful and smooth-running engine. The lighter and cheaper Golf was superior to the Bavarian six-cylinder in terms of acceleration, elasticity and fuel consumption. The E30 remained better running culture, more balanced suspension comfort and a smoother, more precise circuit as arguments - as well as the more discreet appearance. Unequally large twin headlights and a red stripe around the frame of the radiator grille were just as much a part of the insignia of a GTI in the mid-1980s as the wheel arch extensions and the front spoiler made of black plastic, as well as the slanted roof aerial.

Facelift and special models

In January 1987, the cat version of the GTI 8V came onto the market.The power drops by five to 107 hp. The 16V loses ten hp with the catalytic converter (from February 1987) and is now rated at 129 hp. From model year 1988 fog lights and power steering are added. With the facelift, new steering wheels, seats and thicker steering column switches are moving into the Golf. At the same time, there are no triangular windows in the front doors. After the factory holidays in 1989, the compact gets bigger bumpers and new front seats.

The special model GTI Edition One is coming onto the market: Buyers can choose between the special paint finishes quartzite metallic or dark burgundy pearl effect as well as brilliant black and pearl gray metallic. The exterior mirrors are painted in body color and the Golf stands on 15-inch BBS-RM 012. The seat and door panels are upholstered in Mauritius blue fabric. From 1990 there is more power: The GTI G60 with G-Lader makes 160 hp and costs 37,125 marks. In the last model year, VW launched the Edition Blue special model, which was limited to 2,100 units. It is only available in Germany with 107 hp, in Switzerland and Austria there is the G60 as Edition Blue. 15-inch BBS wheels, heated leather seats in Mauritius blue and paintwork in moonlight blue pearl effect are standard.

That's what the GTI 16V cost as a new car

The better driving performance and the relatively low price of 25,595 marks meant that two thirds of the GTI customers ordered a 16V. The two-valve engine with 112 hp cost 22,760 marks. Ford demanded 28,750 marks for the Escort Turbo RS. It didn't stop there. The Kat version with 129 hp already cost 28,070 marks in 1987. In the last year of construction, 1991, buyers had to shell out 32,000 marks on the dealer's counter for a GTI 16V with four doors. In Germany, two percent of the Golf II were GTIs, in Great Britain the GTI share was 16 percent.


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