The countdown to the unveiling of the eighth-generation Golf continues and today we’re looking at the fifth-generation model which debuted in 2003.
Building on the success of its predecessor, the Golf Mk5 featured an evolutionary design which incorporated several new features including bi-xenon headlights, rain sensing wipers and a tilting / sliding panoramic sunroof. The lineup also grew in the fifth-generation as the Golf Plus was introduced in 2006, while the CrossGolf debuted a year later.
Inside, the Mk5 had an upgraded interior with higher quality materials and a more modern design. It still looks good nearly two decades later and that’s a testament to Volkswagen’s design team.
Of course, the changes weren’t just skin deep as Volkswagen made a host of updates to the Mk5. One of the most important was a laser-welded body which helped to increase torsional rigidity by 35 percent.
The upgrades didn’t stop there as the Golf was also equipped with a new four-link rear suspension, an electromechanical power steering system and a new seven-speed DSG gearbox.
The Golf GTI, which debuted in 2004, also became the first to feature a turbocharged direct injection petrol engine. The 2.0-liter four-cylinder produced 197 hp (147 kW / 200 PS), but fans could also opt for R32 which had 247 hp (184 kW / 250 PS).
By the time the Golf Mk6 was introduced in 2008, Volkswagen had built 3.4 million units of the Mk5. One of these was particularly special as the 25 millionth Golf was produced in March of 2007.
VW Golf Mk5 Timeline
2003 Laser-welded doors, underbody, roof seam, side panels
2003 Multi-link rear axle
2003 Electromechanical power steering
2004 Comeback of the GTI with turbocharged engine (147 kW/200 PS)
2006 GT, direct petrol injection engine with twincharging (turbocharger and compressor)
2006 Debut of the Golf Plus
2007 Introduction of CrossGolf and new Golf Estate
2007 Production milestone: 25 million Golfs since 1974
2008 Phase-out of the fifth generation after 3.4 million vehicles produced.