VW Golf Countdown: 2003-2008 Mk5 Climbed Up The Premium Ladder

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.

Also Read: VW Golf Countdown: 1997-2003 Mk4 Gave Us A Higher Quality Interior, ESC And DSG

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 2007 VW Golf GTI Pirelli Edition

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).

The Golf R32 came with an updated 3.2-litre VR6 engine allowing for a 0-100km/h (62mph) in 6.2 sec with the DSG

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.

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  • brilliantradience

    I drive a Mk5 R32 with 87k miles and the chassis still feels solid, no rattles or major problems. The clear coat still shines (carnuba wax twice a year) and the car looks brand new, so does the interior except the leather seat. The thing I love most about my car is the engine sound, so far haven’t gotten in trouble gassing it. Too bad the VR6 is only available in the large vehicles, hoping VW will bring it back eventually.

    • Matt

      It’s extremely unlikely that VW is going to bring back a large displacement petrol motor to the Golf range. Unfortunately that ship has sailed.

      • brilliantradience

        Yeah but maybe for the 50th or 75th anniversary they’ll pull the VR6 from the Atlas and build a limited edition model, one that wont be priced like the Golf A59.

  • DaruniaG

    That GTI W12 650 looked sick

  • Karter Harmon-Wilkening

    Wasn’t this generation called “Rabbit” again in the US?

  • Finkployd

    the one I liked the less

  • Nowan

    exterior and interior still looks good, my favorite golf

  • alexxx

    One of the best designs for me,still looking fresh…

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