Friday, 5 June 2009

Mk6 Golf GTI Millbrook test day

not so long ago I won an online competition at
for a VW organised morning at Millbrook. Heres how it went

john_o tries out the 'new' aka Mk6 aka mk5.5 Golf GTI @ Millbrook
are you sitting down , then I'll begin...

wednesday night was spent staying up too late playing Wii Punch Out!.....
1am I realise bed would be a good idea
thursday 5.30 am alarm goes off
initial cruise down M6 and M1 at 85 then dropped to 70.
Oh how I love a remapped ED30 , the economy is incredible. 35MPG+

texted Greenouse and arranged meet up with just outside millbrook.
I'm early so enjoy the sunshine, then Nathan pulls up in the [s]GT[/s] , sorry R32 :innocent:

Cars parked up in visitors area, minibus into the complex after leaving our cameras.
driven to a custom complex area just for us.

Turn the corner and we are met by a line of Mk6 GTI's , white , silver or red
(no black though! I reckon thats because it doesnt suit the flabby er slab sides)

and the cars from auto express setup
mk1 Pirelli
mk2 8V runour model
mk3 8V GTI
mk4 GTI (sorry its not an R32 so its my least fav GTI) :sick0020:
mk5 2.0 TFSI

of note the mk2 had 167 miles! (theres even a pic)

nathan drooled over mk4 wheels sic!
5 spoke with fake allen bolts, we seriously need to have words ny good man.

Immediately we recognise Mr Russ Swift and have a chat, what a thoroughly nice guy.
then onto a quick overview of the mornings activities...

Best bit is we are informed its 2 per car
DSG (5 doors) and manual
ours was red 3dr with manual, all running 18 inch option monzas
adaptive damping (ACC)
dynaudio setup which we noticed but never even turned on!

straight in and we are off to the event 1 ........

Event 1 : high speed bowl

All the way up to top lane with our driver in charge.
Car stable and very quite at speed (much more so that mk5)
Then its our turns to have a go , into second fastest lane to test acceleration in the gears etc
Car intially feels responsive (steering) , very progressive power delivery and much faster than I expected.
Its has excellent pickup in 6th gear from low revs.
Visibility slightly worse than mk5.
Same engine mount drivetrain slack though lol

switched between sport and comfort ACC modes and very noticeable.

very easy to get sucked into a visual effect on the bowl , like a motorbike it feels like you could jump out at 100mph and run along side.
Scary to think what the old Mclaren F1 car record breaking attempts were like here at 220 mph+ eek!

over very quickly onto the next event

Event 2 : straight line high speed braking

120mph+ runs (should have been 100!) in an area only about 20ft wide...
Accelerate from a standstill (asked to switch TC off but not approved) hard as possible through gears.
Then while trying to hold your brekky down attempt a full on emergency stop to 0 .......
If you havent done this before its pretty amazing just how quickly you can stop and the g force exerted.

for some of the runs we had to take hands off wheel when braking at 60mph ish just to show how stable the car is.
Every time the car dealt with it amazingly. even with what felt like both rear wheels of the ground.
On one of Nathans runs you could feel the rear correctively braking to straighten the car.
No sign of brake fade. And the modulation of the ABS action is very smooth and far better than the mk5

Car from standstill gripped well with minimal TC intervention (it was dry though)

car still in one piece so its onto the next event......

Event 3 : mini alpine circuit

the one youve all heard off, but cut down I believe.
For me by far the best 'actual' driving experience of the day.
3rd gear , twists and turns , variable camber and angles, and to add some 'spice' some additional dust in some areas...

I have to say , in the back where visibility is reduced, it felt bleeding fast with Nathan driving
(we both drove this faster than our driver had done to show us, he was very relaxed at letting us get on with it).
we even passed by the New Aston with Tiff Needell , not on track i hasten to add but in a layby lol.

Supreme fun with f*ck all runoff , 3rd gear 55mph + 90degree turns, the mk6 did well and was composed and balance , although it did show
a) a lack of power out of corners
b) an even more pronounced understeer trait when pushing on

rear would move to stabilise the car , but never felt unruly , and i suspect the electronics have a lot to do with this.
could have stayed on thsi bit all day improving my lines and driving.
note to self (must book an instruction day)

alas it ends , but I reckon we badgered him enough to get a taster on the ....

Event 4 : handling circuit

the one youve seen Tiff sideways on.
Alas we werent allowed to drive. but hey it was b*lls out time with a fully qualified instructor......
Initially we were delayed getting onto the circuit by a military leviathon (30+ tons?) going round the track like an Elise!
Forst lap round, he's showing us the limits and car is well composed......second lap round , tyres warm , bit more confidence and whoosh .... :driver: :scared:
we understeer off into a ditch, slow mo , wind off lock and just hope for the best. front left 18 inch Monza takes the full hit.
I swear I heard Nathan wince. thump bang and back onto track lol. lets consider it a minor indiscretion lol. One classed as 'got away with it'! , although the alloy lacquer didnt.
a quick chuckle from us all and more fun.....
Car adjustable and fun and easily corrects that back end for you...

change of underwear and we are driven back for coffee etc ,and led to the Russ swift display in mk6 TDI
Unlike SteveP in the aftn , they said they couldnt disable the ABS in the GTI so he did it in a TDI.
As usual the guy shows how easy it can look to a pro. Even into a gap it tags a 3 point turn to get back out of again!

then onto lunch , great spread for us all , very professional.
As Steve states, camera usage was restricted so it was limited to a 20 minute period mid morning...

A pro detailer had arrived to clean the cars for the muppets , er Steve and TC and other folk.
There was a collective wince from the 'enthusiasts' gathered as we watched them take a wash leather to the cars.....mmmmm
at millbrook no one car hear you scream.......

best bit : mini alpine runs
worst bit : dirty old wash leather on mk6 white paintwork

In summary an absolutely amazing day throughout.
Well planned , executed and thought out. A credit to VW to invite VW enthusiasts, and create an event for them like this.
thankyou to for the competition win (sorry Jay , you would have loved it ! :fighting2:)
thanks to Nathan for being a sport on the day and not putting us in a barrier ;-)
thanks to all those that organised the event @ millbrook. Bringing the old gti marks was a nice touch.


Sadly we got no freebies!

And now my golf GTI summary

Ive not been a fan but the looks can and do grow on you, by far the rear is the least fluid.
And the twin exhaust just dont work for me.
A much nicer and fruity exhaust note though :happy2:
Traction control appears to be toned down from the mk5 version
very modular braking under ABS operation
Good overallgrip but trends easily into 'manufactured' understeer at pretty low speeds
ACC really works! Im amazed.
Car sits very low as std
poor fabric inside, it just looks cheap. Rest inside I really like esp the new switchgear style and steering wheel.
Car just doesnt feel as 'nimble' as the mk5, need to check if the m6 is heavier?

would I buy one? Yes I would. :surprised:
would I swap for my ED30 ? nope :-) :grin:
What the event did show me is that the game has moved on , and the R variant of the mk6 (with 4wd and 2.0 or 2.5 TSI) is going to be amazing.
Its ripe for tuning and tweaking , just like the mk5 is.
Nice set of wheels, K04 , remap and WALK kit and you have something quite special.

check out the full pictures from the day

No comments: