VW Golf Mk7 GTI – Essential Buyer’s Guide

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kingr
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VW Golf Mk7 GTI – Essential Buyer’s Guide

Post by kingr » Fri Nov 29, 2019 9:27 am

Mk7 GTI Model Years: 2013-Current

Fast Facts
- Price: Base price R568 000
- Engines: Turbocharged 2.0 L four-cylinder petrol
- Transmission: 6-speed DSG
- Fuel Consumption: 6.4L/100km (Claimed)
- Power/Torque: 169kW/ 350 Nm
- Drivetrain: Front-wheel drive
- Warranty: 3-year/120 000km
- Maintenance Plan: 5-year/90 000 km

Vehicles fitted with the 2.0tsi engine from the Mk7 Golf GTI:
· Audi A3

The Golf GTI is a motoring legend, combining everyday practicality with high performance in an incredibly well-balanced package. South Africans, in particular, seem to have an affinity with it and over half the Golfs sold in the country bear the famous GTI badge. Now in its seventh generation, it remains the logical choice for drivers looking for one of the best all-round cars that money can buy.

The original Golf GTI Mk1 started the hot hatch revolution back in the eighties by being quick and agile at a fraction of the cost of the competitors. From its humble origins, it is still the definitive hot hatch, although it has become much larger and more sophisticated. Over the years the competition in the hot hatch segment is hotter than ever with even luxury manufacturers like Mercedes and BMW getting in on the action. With such stiff competition, VW has upped their game, and the Golf 7 GTI can easily match the build quality, features, and performance of its rivals.

The Golf 7 was released internationally in 2012 and made it to South African shores in 2013 to much acclaim. Mechanically, it is much more reliable than the old Golf Mk6 GTI. The shape is more evolutionary than revolutionary, and it kept many of the styling cues of the previous Mk6 GTI, which was in turn based on the Golf Mk5 GTI ’s PQ35 platform. The Golf Mk7 is based on VW’s MQB platform, which is used by a number of vehicles including the forthcoming Golf Mk8, due to be released next year.

The early model Golf Mk7 GTI’s featured a 162kW 2.0 litre, four-cylinder TSI engine with newer models getting upgraded to 169kW and 350Nm of torque. Both models feature the six-speed DSG transmission. While it isn’t the fastest hatch on the market, it is one of the most balanced and can still reach the 100km/h mark in 6.4 seconds with a top speed of 249 km/h.

If you are looking for a performance hatchback that's classy and sophisticated instead of being loud and garish, there are many Golf Mk7 GTI is a superb choice. At a starting price of R 568 600, it is a bit pricey, but at the end of the day, you get what you pay for. One of the only drawbacks of the Golf Mk7 GTI is the high cost of optional features that can bump up the price significantly. There are also many competitive deals to be found in the used car market, but buyers need to keep in mind that it is a performance car that requires maintenance and servicing for it to run correctly.

Golfs, and in particular GTIs are known to suffer from component failure if they have not been regularly maintained and serviced. When buying one used, it's critical to verify the service history and ensure that everything is up to scratch. GTI's are often driven hard, and it's also worthwhile to check for signs of abuse.

As with any car, the way it's been driven, as well as the way it's been maintained are huge factors to consider when buying used and could be the difference between years of driving pleasure, and a costly nightmare. We take a look at the most common problems experienced by the Golf Mk7 so potential buyers can know what to look for and make an informed decision.

List of common issues with the Golf 7 GTI
1. Water pump / Thermostat leak
2. Timing chain wear
3. Cylinder head valve springs
4. Carbon build-up on the fuel injectors
5. High-pressure fuel pump
6. One-touch buttons for the windows
7. Front shock mounts

1. Water pump / Thermostat leak

Function: The water pump moves the coolant around the car’s engine to keep it cool, and the thermostat regulates the flow of water between the radiator and the engine.

Symptoms of Failure
· Water or coolant leaks
· The “check engine” light might come on to show that something is wrong.
The water pump is unpredictable, and some fail early while others can last for years. Due to its plastic construction, it is fragile and should be handled with care. Some of the reasons for failure include plastic deteriorating and the gasket swelling due to oil leaks. Like the Mk6 GTI, the water pump is under the air intake manifold and therefore requires a few hours of labour to remove. It's critical for the water pump to be installed correctly in order to function correctly.

2. Timing Chain Wear

Function: The timing chain is a critical engine component because it synchronizes the turning of the camshaft and crankshaft and also controls the opening and closing of the engine valves.

Symptoms of failure:
· The engine warning light will come on, giving a timing error.
· A noisy sound caused by the timing chain knocking against the timing cover.
· Difficulty starting and lack of power
· Rough idling

The timing chain is a very durable part with an expected lifespan of around 200 000 km. Although it's durable, it's unwise to test its limits because a failure can cause severe damage to the engine. The chains can stretch over time and skip a tooth. Luckily the Golf Mk7 GTI doesn't suffer from the tensioner issue that affected the VW Mk6 GTI and VW Polo 6R GTI 1.4tsi DSG

When purchasing a used Golf Mk7 GTI is advisable to get the timing reviewed by VW to see what condition it is in. It can take around 10 -12 hours of labour to replace the timing chain.

3. Cylinder head valve springs

Function: The primary purpose of valve springs is to maintain engine compression by closing the valves in the engine. They also help to keep pressure on the other moving parts to follow the camshaft lobe.

Symptoms of failure
· Erratic idling
· Misfiring

The cylinder head uses two springs per valve, and the smaller spring can break. Springs can also lose tension over time and require replacing.

4. Carbon build-up in the fuel injectors

Function: Fuel injectors are small devices like a spray nozzle that squirts fuel into the combustion chamber.

Symptoms of failure.
· Misfiring
· Difficulty to start
· Erratic idle

The Golf GTI Mk 7 uses a total of eight injectors with four inside the cylinder head and the other four on top of the air intake manifold. Dirt builds up over time, and often, poor quality fuel can increase the rate of carbon build-up. Luckily injectors are easy to remove, and there is a special injector cleaning machine that VW uses to clean and restore the injectors.

5. High-Pressure Fuel Pump

Function: The high-pressure fuel pump is camshaft driven pressurizes the fuel from the tank before spraying it into the combustion chamber.

Symptoms of Failure
· The fuel supply to the engine can cut out.
· The car might also go into hard-limp mode with no boost if it is a significant failure.
This is a common problem on GTI’s that’s been carried over from previous models. There’s nothing else to do except getting it replaced.

6. One-touch buttons for the windows

Function: To easily open the windows without keeping the button pressed for long.

The one-touch buttons make life easier when opening and closing the windows, and have a reputation for failing on the Golf Mk7 GTI. In many cases, the window regulating motor on the door needs replacing. If the battery is removed from the car, one-touch functionality can also be lost, in which case the software settings need to be reloaded to restore its functionality. To do this, simply roll the window up and then press the up button three times. If the car has to go to the workshop, expect the labour time to be around two hours.

7. Front shock mounts

Function: The shock mounts are part of the suspension and insulate the cabin from vibrations and tire noise.

Symptoms of Failure:
    Squeaky sounds from the front suspension when turning the steering wheel when driving.

    The front shock mounts help you to have a smooth ride but can often wear out prematurely due to wear.

    Servicing
    • Minor service @ 15,000km/12 Months
      Major Service @ 60,000km/3 Years
      Spark Plugs - Every 60,000km/3 Years
      DSG Service @ 60 000km/4 Years - Oil change & DSG oil filter
      Recommended Oil: 5w30
      Brake fluid replacement: every two years
      Fuel filter replacement @ 120,000km
    Looking for a VW Golf 7 GTI for sale? Check out our classifieds.

    Maintenance and Service Costs
    - Minor Service (Lube Service) (parts & labour): R2,500
    - Major Service non-DSG (*includes minor service)(parts & labour): R7,500
    - Major Service DSG (*includes minor service)(parts & labour): R10,500
    - Water pump replacement (parts & labour): R7,500
    - Front brake discs & pads (parts): R10,500
    - DSG Mechatronics unit (parts): R29,382
    - DSG flywheel (parts):R 11,00
    - Tyres Pirelli (x1) 225/40/18 - R2,200
    - Fuel injectors (x4) (parts): R8,000
    - High-Pressure fuel pump (parts): R8,700
    - Electric window motor (parts): R1,900
    - Front Shock Mounts (x2)(parts): R3,130

    Golf Mk7 GTI Performance Pack

    The first Performance Pack variant of the Golf Mk7 GTI was released in 2015 to fill the gap between the GTI and R models. It featured a small power upgrade from 162 kW to 169 kW. VW also included Dynamic Chassis Control as standard, which adds adaptive suspension and driving modes. Other additions included red GTI badges and red brake calipers. After the Golf Mk 7 GTI facelift, the performance of the standard model was bumped up to the same specs as the old Performance Pack model. VW then released another Performance Pack model with an even bigger power hike. The output went from 169 kW and 350 Nm of torque to 180 kW and 370 Nm of torque. It also came with an enlarged ventilated discs and a limited-slip differential.

    Golf Mk7 GTI Clubsport S

    The Golf 7 Clubsport was developed as a 40th-anniversary special edition and set the fastest lap time for a front-wheel-drive car at the Nurburgring. There were only 400 built with only 47 designated for South Africa. This two-door GTI came with a 228 kW power output in addition to red accents, black rims, Recaro Seats and enhanced brakes. It was marketed as a collecter’s item, with prices in the ludicrous range of R1 000 000. Despite the hype, it failed to meet expectations, probably due to the ridiculous price tag.

    Golf Mk7 GTI TCR
    The GTI TCR should be arriving in early 2020 as the last Golf Mk7 GTI variant. Only 300 of them will be landing in SA, and it will boast a significant power upgrade to 213 kW and 370 Nm. Other exclusive features include black 18-inch wheels, black side mirrors, a black front splitter, and rear spoiler. With a 0 to 100 km/h time of 5.6 seconds, it's the fastest GTI ever…….until the Mk8 GTI gets released.

    What to look for

    When buying a second-hand Golf Mk7 GTI, it's critical to take it for a long enough test drive and drive it at different speeds, without being shy to floor it. Also, listen out for any rattles and squeaks. Cars that have been sitting for a while have a tendency to pick up issues, and it's worth checking them out before making a decision. As with any other car, a multipoint check is also advised, and while you're doing it, you might as well get the timing chain checked at the same time.

    Always scrutinize the service history of the car and make sure that it received all the necessary work on schedule. GTI's are performance cars, and incorrect maintenance can lead to some very high costs down the line. Question the seller and ask as many questions as you need to. Because Golf Mk 7 GTI's are often pushed hard, it's also worth checking the physical condition of the car including brakes and tire wear and for signs of accident damage. A simple VIN Number Check will tell you whether the car is stolen or been in an accident and you can do a Car Book Value Report to see if you are getting a reasonable price. It's easy to get excited when buying a car, especially a thrilling performance car, but don't forget about the costs of maintenance in the future.

    Recommended Additional Features
    Navigation System “Discover ProP @ R16 500
    Adaptive Chassis Control DCC @ R13 200
    Rearview Camera @ R3 300
    Keyless Entry and Ignition @ R5 050
    Adaptive Cruise Control with Autonomous Emergency Braking @ R5 150

    GTI Community

    The Golf GTI has a cult following in South Africa due to its reputation for being a stellar all-around performer that equally comfortable on the road or track. Every iteration boasts top-notch build quality and features to rival some more expensive cars out there. If you are looking at a VW Golf 7 GTI for sale, why not join South Africa's GTI community on one or two forums to get up to date or to share knowledge. The best site in South Africa for GTI owners is www.vwclub.co.za as it has a wealth of resources about all VW cars.

    For more news and information in the motoring world, visit Wheel Index. We have tools like the VIN Number Check and Car Book Value Tool to assist whether you are buying or selling a car.

    Looking for a used Golf 7 GTI?

    Find second-hand Golf 7 GTIs and other VW cars on our classifieds.
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