A number of choice bits from ABT makes this particular VW Golf simply divine
Seventh Heaven PHOTO: Zaphs Zhang for Torque

Volkswagen simply refers to the latest incarnation of its iconic Golf hatchback (this is the seventh, in case you were wondering) as "The Car", and it's something we find difficult to argue with.

While it's grown some 59mm in wheelbase (to 2637mm), and boot space
goes up by 30 litres to 380 litres, it's up to 100kg lighter in some variants, largely thanks to the new high-strength, steel-intensive MQB architecture. This new MQB platform also contributes to an improvement in chassis rigidity.

In short, the Golf now has everything you need and nothing you don’t. But sometimes, you're just wishing for a little bit extra, but don’t see the need for the mania of the GTI or the even hotter (upcoming) R. In that case, perhaps some items from ABT's catalogue might do the trick, as the owner of this particular Golf Sport, Mr H, discovered.

A businessman working in the mining industry, the owner bought this Golf just over six months ago for his wife to drive (he also owns an Audi A8 fully worked by ABT). But finding the little VW "a little too plain", he decided to get some light mods done. As he puts it, however, he "got
carried away".

The evidence of this is plain to see, with Mr H replacing such minute details as the steering wheel emblem with an ABT-branded one and a matching seatbelt cushion. Other interior additions include a sound system from Helix (incorporating a 300W subwoofer) and a head-up display. The latter projects critical driving data onto the windscreen so the driver need not take his eyes off the road.

As Mr H also "sweated the big stuff", his ride is no regular Golf, even to the most casual observer. This seventh-generation example is now dressed to the nines with a complete bodykit and 19-inch wheels from ABT, all lovingly installed by offi cial dealer Autovox. These are set off by strategically placed red accents all over the car. Just for good measure, the owner placed the LED tail-lights from the GTI on his car.

In keeping with the red theme, Mr H sought out local automotive lighting
specialist Nightz Concepts to add a red backlight to the VW badge nestled in the front grille. Along with that, Nightz Concepts' "light fantastic" touch extends to the scuff plates and an extra bank of LED daytime running lights.

Even at a standstill, his Golf looks far racier than the standard version. Indeed, it's something that "makes you want to move", says the owner. He also describes his Golf's agile handling as "exciting", thanks to its compact dimensions.

Part of this must be because of the ECU tuning by ABT, which liberates 30bhp more over the stock output of 140bhp. His Golf now also has 300Nm of torque (from 250Nm before), which he says "really encourages you" to drive it harder. A Setrab engine oil cooler keeps a lid on
excessive heat under such vigorous efforts.

That improved punch is complemented by this Golf's improved "footwork", as it boasts a set of top-of-the-line Variant 3 coilovers from German suspension specialist KW. There’s a dizzying array of adjustability to be enjoyed in the Variant 3, with users able to make tweaks to ride height, compression and rebound damping. Helping to stiffen things up even more are anti-roll bars from Eibach and a rear subframe brace courtesy of Unibrace.

Perhaps the newfound verve of Mr H's ride can also be attributed to how his Golf now "exhales" better, owing to the ABT-developed exhaust system. This, teamed with the ECU tuning and throttle map from Pedalbox, makes the engine feel "fantastic", he enthuses. The Golf's "inhaling" is given a boost by a drop-in air filter from K&N.

It'll come to a halt just as well as it takes off, as the owner has elected for a 4-pot front brake kit from AP Racing. The Goodridge stainless steel brake lines also ensure it can stop on a dime.

However, it's still far from the end of Mr H's mod job. He laments how he's
unable to find the upgrades he really wants (due to them not being available yet), such as an uprated intercooler. But once the tuners launch these items, you can be sure he'll spring for them.

Just like the standard car, this souped-up Golf has everything you need and nothing you don't - just with more of the former. It retains all the practicality and exceptional build quality of its stock brethren, but after what Mr H has done to it, this particular example now goes and looks like the proverbial speed demon.

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This article first appeared in the November 2013 issue of Torque.

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