Volkswagen Golf GTI

It's the jubilee year - and Volkswagen is celebrating in style! But rather than mark the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II, the German firm is marking a much higher octane anniversary. The legendary Golf GTI is having its 25th birthday - but is the original still the best?

The Golf GTI is a motoring legend, and Volkswagen's new Anniversary model is a fitting tribute to a quarter of a century of hot hatches. It's not cheap, but is superbly well equipped. However, you'll have to get in quick as numbers are limited.

It's the jubilee year - and Volkswagen is celebrating in style! But rather than mark the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II, the German firm is marking a much higher octane anniversary. The legendary Golf GTI is having its 25th birthday - but is the original still the best?

There's no arguing that the car has matured - once an agile, lightweight hot hatch, it has morphed into a bulkier, refined and less involving package, beloved of image-conscious buyers.

However, VW has an ace up its sleeve to mark the motor's quarter-century. The Golf GTI Anniversary costs £18,660 - a premium of £2,075 over the standard model - and has the Audi TT's 180bhp turbo engine, making it the most powerful version ever.

It drives much the same as its hot siblings - and with more mid-range grunt - but the dynamics can't match those of rivals such as the Honda Civic Type R or the Clio Renaultsport 172.

Inside, the car shares the quality and refinement of the rest of the range, but has extra features which hark back to the GTI's early days. Most striking are the pinstripe Recaro seats which echo the colour scheme of the MkI, while a golf ball gearknob is also fitted. Other Anniversary add-ons include 18-inch alloy wheels, drilled foot pedals, red-trimmed seatbelts, widened sills and deeper bumpers, plus special floor mats. Only 1,800 cars are destined for the UK, and each one is individually numbered, so this special edition will appeal to collectors. It might lack the purity of the original, but the Anniversary still deserves to be celebrated.

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