Time for a Hot Hatch: 2006 Volkswagen GTI


The Newest Car I’ve Ever Owned

Just like almost all of the other cars I’ve ever purchased, I found this one on Craigslist. I met up with a guy at a Caltrain Station in the South Bay to check out the car. When he showed up with the GTI, I was interested but honestly not super excited. I needed to find a car after I decided to sell my E46 M3. I went for an Mark V GTI as I wanted to buy a car that was newer and would need less maintenance. Out of all the cars that I’ve owned, this was the newest car I ever purchased (2006 VW GTI bought in 2012).

gti mk5 side view  gti mk5 front view
gti mk5 rear  gti mk5 side view

The car was all stock, yet it seemed to have that OEM-plus look that I like. It also combined the sportiness of its heritage and performance with its more refined interior. Oddly though, Volkswagen interiors just never seem to fit my body type well. The ergonomics always seemed made for someone who was much taller (I’m 5′-7″). I went through many different steering wheel and seat adjustments and could never actually feel completely comfortable driving the car.

gti mk5 interior
gti mk5 front seats  gti mk5 rear seats
gti mk5 gauges day  gti mk5 gauges night

There wasn’t much I wanted to do on the car since it came pretty nicely packaged from the factory, but I did have a few things in mind for modifications. These included:

Changing the stock shift knob to an MK6 silver shift knob

gti mk6 shift knob silver

I loved the look of this shift knob especially in this silver trim color. It is identical to the ones you normally find on the MK6’s as seen here:

gti mk6 shift knob red

Image: from

I’m not sure if the shift knob with the silver trim is an eBay Special or not as I cannot find it anywhere else. However, I think the silver matches the all black leather interior that I had.

Installing a Euro Lip

I actually purchased this item, but ended up having to sell it since I sold the car.

GTI MK5 Euro Lip

Image from

You can see that the difference is a two-piece lip versus the single-piece US version. It’s certainly a subtle change, but I think it makes a significant difference in the appearance.

The car is now gone as I sold it through Craigslist to a buyer in Seattle. Strangely, they sent an inspector to look at the car and then flew out to meet me and buy the car. They then proceeded to drive the car back up to Seattle. Perhaps MK5 GTI’s are hard to come by up there?

I’ve been looking at this car on the classifieds now and what I’ve encountered is a bit depressing. The prices have dropped so much since the time that I sold it that I see them going for about $5k (perhaps this is good if I wanted to get one again…but I don’t.) I remember when they first came out and everyone was excited about it– “the return of the GTI”. Magazines were talking about it non-stop and there was an incredible buzz amongst the car community. Now, it apperas that buzz has gone and has not come back. Good news though, if you want to own one now it is undoubtedly a great time to score a deal on one of these.