With the success of the MK1 Golf, VW wasn’t going to stray too far from a winning format with its replacement model. Even, so, there was initial widespread disappointment that the Golf MK 2 wasn’t a bigger step away from the original. However, VW must have been very satisfied when early scepticism was replaced by near universal rapture for a simply, but very robustly, engineered car, whose styling matured superbly. The MK 2 Golf was launched shortly after the more humdrum models, and stuck to the subtle GTI badging, red lined bumpers stripped upholstery and Prielli ‘P slot’ alloy wheels. The 113 bhp 1.8 liter engine also remained, but the new car was more refined and stable, as well as benefiting from improved braking for right hand drive markets. Despite competition from faster, if more ragged, GTIs, like Peugeot 205 and Ford Escort XR3i, the Golf achieved a near impregnable up market image. This was in keeping with the car’s engineering and built quality.
Two years after the launch, VW offered the 1.8 liter engine with a twin cam 16 valve head. This pushed the power up to 136 bhp and offered higher performance, although it was the apparent cost of peaky torque delivery. Demand accelerated through the 1980s, and in the UK it fitted perfectly the yuppie image that had preceded the nation. The overweight MK 3 replacement arrived in 1992 and disappointment with its lack of sparkle and wallowy handling. The MK 2 is yet to be properly replaced by VW.