Volkswagen Golf GTI Stage 2+ by Mountune (2020) review

A visit to Essex-based Mountune endows the Golf GTI with as much power as a Porsche 911. How does it feel on the road?

Moutune M52 Golf GTI 2+

This, you will note, is not the new Golf GTI. You should have been reading about the Mk8 version of Volkswagen’s red-striped Wunderkind this week, but world events had other ideas.

Still, the Mk7 here is a worthy stand-in. The work of Essex-based Mountune, it’s both cheaper to buy and faster than the latest GTI. A lot faster, actually.

You probably associate Mountune with Ford, not Volkswagen. Formed in 1980, the company built its reputation modifying Cosworth engines for racing. More recently, it offers dealer-fit power upgrades for the Fiesta and Focus ST.

Now, Mountune has set its sights on the enormous VW tuning scene, with a plethora of go-faster goodies for the Golf GTI and R. If you like your hatchbacks served extra-hot, keep reading…

Moutune M52 Golf GTI 2+

Mountune’s Stage 1 package for the Mk7 Golf GTI reprogrammes the 2.0-litre engine’s electronic brain to unleash 310hp. That’s up from 222hp as standard and level-pegging with the Golf R: pretty impressive for £750.

The car I’m driving, however, has the Stage 2+ kit, which bolts on a larger turbocharger for a mighty 385hp. It’s a considerable investment, at £2,475 fitted, but the result is a Golf that’s as powerful as a Porsche 992 Carrera – or indeed the Lamborghini Countach I had on my bedroom wall.

There are a few caveats, though. First, you need to use pricier 98 or 99 RON super unleaded petrol. Second, for long-term reliability, Mountune recommends adding a freer-flowing induction system, turbo-back stainless steel exhaust and beefier intercooler.

Factor in all of the above, plus the eminently sensible Mountune brake upgrade, and you can probably reckon on £5,000. That’s on top of £12,000 or more for a used Mk7 GTI.

Moutune M52 Golf GTI 2+

The other sticking point concerns performance. Unlike the four-wheel-drive Golf R, the GTI sends all its power through the front tyres. That means lots of frantic wheelspin and a 0-60mph time of 5.2 seconds with a manual gearbox – only 0.5 seconds quicker than the regular car.

On paper, it looks underwhelming. And on damp tarmac, frankly, the steering needs a firm hand (preferably two hands). Accelerate hard and it scurries about like a puppy sniffing lamp posts in the park.

Once you’re rolling on dry roads, though, it all sharpens into focus. The Stage 2+ GTI is absurdly, hilariously quick in third and fourth gears, punching fiercely out of corners and blasting past unsuspecting Porsches. Peak torque of 376lb ft (vs. 258 lb ft in the standard car) doesn’t arrive until 5,500rpm, but turbo lag – a bugbear of many highly tuned engines – is rarely an issue.

This is a controlled explosion rather than the delayed ker-blam of a cartoon TNT stick. It sounds much meatier with the induction and exhaust mods here, too.

Moutune M52 Golf GTI 2+

Living with the GTI for a week, what struck me was the overall rightness of the recipe. Yes, it leaves you breathless on a B-road, but it’s also well-built, comfortable and practical enough for family duties, with an upmarket image to boot.

Mountune hasn’t diluted what makes the Golf so perennially popular, it simply adds a triple shot of tequila to the mix.

Still, that wild side is core to the GTI’s appeal. Handing Mountune £715 for a Stage 1 conversion on a Golf R yields nearly the same power (360hp), far superior traction and more real-world pace.

Yet there’s something I love about the scrappier, more schizophrenic nature of this car. It reminds me of modified hot hatches from my misspent youth: flawed, but brimful of irrepressible character. And all for half the price of a new Mk8 GTI.

PRICE: From £17,000

0-62MPH: 5.2sec

TOP SPEED: 160mph

CO2 G/KM: N/A

MPG COMBINED: N/A

ALSO READ

Volkswagen Golf 1.5 TSI 130 (2020) review

Care by Volvo car subscription service launched in UK

Audi RS Q3 Sportback (2020) review

Related Articles

Tim Pitt
Tim has been our Managing Editor since 2015. He enjoys a retro hot hatch and has a penchant for Porsches.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Latest

New 2021 Volkswagen Golf GTI and GTE news, prices and specs

The eighth generation Volkswagen Golf GTI is priced from £33,460; VW is also launching a plug-in hybrid Golf GTI alongside it

Labour: ban petrol, diesel and hybrid cars by 2030

Sales of new petrol, diesel and hybrid cars should be phased out by 2030 says Labour – five years ahead of the current target

2021 Mercedes-Benz S-Class news, prices and specs confirmed

Deliveries of the luxurious new Mercedes-Benz S-Class begin before the end of 2020 with the range opening with the £78,705 S 350 d AMG Line

Rush hour returns – and the school run is to blame

The morning rush hour has been absent for six months, but new data shows the September return to school has heralded its return