If the Golf G60 feels as though its chassis could handle more power, the Limited provides that power in the form of 210bhp from a supercharged 16V engine. Wisely, VW elected to pair it with their syncro 4WD system. While the standard G60 unit merely enhances the tractability of the eight-valve engine, the 16-valve version releases the full potential of the supercharger system. Acceleration is vivid, with 60mph coming up in 7.0 seconds. But what is impressive is that the power never seems to tail off until you hit the rev limiter just past 7,000rpm. Get to 100mph…smooth onward urge. 186lb/ft of torque at 5,000rpm is 3-litre pulling power and, with the drive going to all four wheels, once the fronts begin to slip under the strain of the torque, the handling balance of this car is beyond the capabilities of a normal front-wheel-drive GTI. Power-on in a tight corner and the Limited adopts a more neutral stance and full throttle can be applied early once the car is settled. In wet corners, power sliding out on opposite lock is possible, another fun element denied to the FWD Golf enthusiast. For all that, the Limited is a refined and mature vehicle that cossets its 120mph…and it is still pulling hard. Very low down, the engine still does not have the razor-edge response of a good naturally aspirated unit. Frustratingly – because it is so good past 2,500rpm – it does take a fraction of a second to ‘come to the boil’ and really get going. This is probably a function ofthe lower compression ratio (compared to a stock 16V) and/or insufficient gas speed at low rpm, a problem with many multi-valve engines.
Once it starts to build up, though, it is intoxicat-ing and you find yourself using the gears for the sheer exhilaration of feeling the strong and occupants in its leather upholstery and pampers them with luxuries like electric windows, central locking and a sunroof.
Only 70 Motorsport Golf Limited cars were made, lovingly constructed by VW Motorsport personnel during 1990, but this wolf in sheep’s clothing, looking just like any metallic black five-door Golf with a set of BBS wheels, is the ultimate hot-hatchback of its day just as surely as the original Golf GTI was. Advances in technology and in market conditions have created in this car a level of sophistication as telling today as that of the first GTI in 1975. Ironically, this Q-car shares one flaw with that original GTI: in its attempt to remain discreet in appearance, with just two headlamps, its night-driving capabilities are severely hampered.
While in essence the Corrado has the fioorpan and chassis from the Golf GTI Mk2, its rear axle design benefits from further technical progress made between the launch of Golf 2 in 1983 and the new Passat in 1987. The most significant feature is the passive rear-steer effect given by the special bushes that locate the trailing arms. The dynamic effect of rear wheel steering is better turn-in, better crossvvind stability and more stable cornering. The Golf 2 is already very good when driven on the limit. It is initially hard to believe that the Corrado is significantly better, but those flexible bushings work very well and help to reduce understeer in fast corners. The reduced slip angles enhance cornering power and the Corrado’s poise through corners sets new standards for front-wheel-drive hatchback cars.
The Corrado 16V is about 400lb heavier than the equivalent Golf GTI 16V. Thus you have to use the gears more to get up to speed, but superior aerodynamics mean that the car is quick once you have overcome inertia. The Euro-spec G60 offers performance more in line with the looks and chassis behaviour of the car, but with a penalty at the petrol pump as with any car that uses forced aspiration. The stiffer chassis creates even higher levels of handling and roadholding than the 16V, but the ride is firmer too. On smooth German roads this is fine, but on some broken British A-roads, the ride can become a little jittery.
In terms of build quality and refinement, the Corrado is superb. The car feels hewn from the solid. The driving position will be familiar to those who have owned Sciroccos or even a Porsche 924/944! The difference is that you can get two adults into the back seats of the Corrado and its ability to cruise happily at three-figure speeds makes it a real Grand Touring coupe.
A creation of VW’s Motorsport division, the VW Golf G60 Limited was no ordinary Golf. It’s production was to be a very short run indeed, infact only 70 units were produced in total, all hand built by VW’s dedicated Motorsoport mechanics from their highly sophisticated workshops in Hannover, Germany. When compared to the main Volkswagen plant in Wolfsburg which produced the mk2 golf in numbers approaching 8 figures, this was to be a very special project indeed and a huge step towards building the ultimate Golf.
The VW Motorsport Division were involved in many aspects of the VW automotive industry including competition, development, limited edition production and customer special wishes. All had the undivided attention of a hugely dedicated team of professionals which always strived to produce the best. Besides all this activity a large portion of the facility was solely alocated to the production of the 70 limited edition Golfs.
Built largely by hand, these cars were based on the five door syncro with its viscous coupled four-wheel-drive system. Further to this Motorsport added ABS, power steering , electric windows, central locking, electric windows, steel sunroof, heated front seats, a full leather interior and on-board computer.
In 1990 Volkswagen’s Motorsport department decided to show the world exactly what it could do. It took an ordinary five-door Golf Mk 2 bodyshell and fitted it with four-wheel drive and a supercharged 16-valve engine.