Buyers Guide

VW GTI 25th Anniversary buyers guide – what to look out for!


Background on the Anniversary

Officially only 1800 were ever made, this was split equally between petrol and diesel and then equally in to the three colours; Reflex Silver, Tornado Red and Diamond Black

So there are 300 silver, 300 red and 300 black in petrol. Then 300 silver, 300 red and 300 black in diesel – After speaking with VW, the owners club have heard that VW never made the full 1800!

All Anniversarys are uniquely numbered – the numbered plaque should be on the cover of the fuse box which is on the end of the dashboard at the driver side, this number should be between 1 – 1800. There are some that may be over 1800, this is because if an Anniversary has it’s plaque removed / stolen then VW won’t issue another one to an Anniversary that has already had its plaque issued. Instead VW will be able to supply a new plaque but it will be from 1800 upwards.

  • The Petrol was a 1.8T 180 bhp
  • The Diesel was a 1.9 TDI PD 150 bhp

The Anniversary Golfs were ONLY made in three doors and only the three colours stated.


Standard equipment – what it should have straight from VW!

  • ABS (Anti-lock Braking System) with
  • EBD (Electronic Brake-pressure Distribution)
  • Air conditioning, “Climatronic” electronic climate control
  • Alloy wheels, four 7 1⁄2J x 18 ‘BBS’ with Michelin Pilot Sport
  • 225/40 ZR18 tyres and anti-theft wheel bolts
  • BBS spanner for the centre nut cover.
  • Red brake calipers
  • larger 312mm brake discs.
  • Aluminum pedals – clutch, brake and accelerator
  • Boot load lashing points
  • Brushed aluminum trims on centre console, ashtray lid
  • and interior door handles
  • Roof lining, interior light and A/B/C pillars are black.
  • Carpet mats trimmed in bright red, front and rear – very rare now!
  • CD auto changer, 6 disc, dash-mounted
  • Chrome-plated tailpipe – 90 mm diameter (only on the 1.8T)
  • Cup holders, front and rear
  • Headlights have black surrounds inside, standard mk4 golfs are chrome.
  • Darkened rear lenses on lights
  • Driver’s and front passenger’s airbags
  • Driver’s and front passenger’s seat height and lumbar
  • adjustment
  • Dust and pollen filter
  • Electrically heated and adjustable door mirrors (these are smaller than standard mk4 GTI mirrors)
  • Electric windows, front (with one-touch operation)
  • Electronic engine immobiliser
  • ESP (Electronic Stabilisation Program)
  • – includes EDL (Electronic Differential Lock)
  • and ASR (Traction Control)
  • Front and rear bumpers, uniquely shaped
  • Front fog lights
  • Front seat belt tensioners
  • Front seat side impact airbags
  • Fully galvanised body
  • GTI gear knob, ‘golf ball shaped’
  • Height and reach adjustable steering column
  • Lowered sports suspension (This is lower than the standard mk4 GTI !!)
  • Multifunction computer
  • Perforated leather rimmed steering wheel, gear lever
  • gaiter and handbrake grip with bright red stitching
  • Power-assisted steering
  • Radio/cassette ‘Gamma’ with RDS, 8 speakers
  • and roof aerial
  • Rear head restraints, 2 outer
  • ‘Recaro’ sports seats in ‘Le Mans’ cloth upholstery with
  • woven in GTI logo and bright red stitching
  • Remote central locking and alarm with interior protection
  • Roof spoiler, rear
  • Seat belts – front and rear outer three-point, black with bright red trim
  • Sills, widened (with GTI logo)
  • Split folding rear seats with storage room in the rear centre arm rest.
  • Temporary steel space-saver spare wheel 16” anything smaller wont fit over calipers!
  • Tinted glass
  • 6 speed manual gearbox


The Anniversary numbered plaque should be on the fuse box cover, inside the drivers door on the end of the dash.

Visual check – outside.

Have a good look around the car and under if possible.  There are a few known issues that the Anniversary inherited from the MK4 GTI.  So when you’re having a look watch out for the following;


These were originally in a ‘balled-brushed’ finish, which looked like a polished aluminum.  The lacquer on the original finish started to peal so they were recalled and sprayed a silver colour.  These can be refurbed to a finish that is very close to the original finish, cost as of 2013 is approx £320 for all four wheels, plus P&P (discount offered via owners club)

Centre caps:

The centre caps on the wheels suffer with ‘white worm’ this is where water ingress damages the face of the VW logo.  These are not cheap from VW to replace (circa £45-£50 per cap) a common solution is to opt for the BBS centres (80mm) or hunt them down on eBay.

Check to make sure sure the BBS black tool is present to remove the centre caps.  If this is not present and spanner type tool can be purchased online.

‘GTI’ badge on boot – make sure this is the 25th Anniversary style (photos at bottom)

Check the front and rear valances for any damage.  OE (original equipment) are now obsolete and only aftermarket copies are made.  Secondhand originals are expensive.


The headlights should have the built in fog lights and have the black surrounds inside.  The standard MK4 Golfs have chrome surrounds.  If your Anniversary has the common chrome surrounds it might be worth asking why? – has it been in a front end smash where the repairer put the standard mk4 headlights in.. if it was in a smash, what else was damaged.

Anniversary headlights are expensive to replace, and are a common modification to the standard mk4 GTI.


Look for rust round the lock on the tail gate – possible leak from rear washer.  Also check the wings, mud etc builds up under the arch liner and sits against the wing causing rust if not cleaned out and allowed to dry. Check the rain gutters on the roof – make sure there are no signs of rust on the roof.



Foam wear on drivers seat – very common at time of  writing this guide VW still sold the seat base foams for £82 and the back rest foams for about £200 – the material is still available, but stocks are running low.


Check inside the boot for any signs of water blue/ pink mess;

A common fault on the MK4 was for the rear wiper motor to leak causing screen wash to leak in to the boot.  This would not only cause a mess it would damage the tailgate lock.

Rear wiper fail/ leak:

If the rear wiper motor isn’t working, or no screen wash is reaching your screen, you may have a leaky motor.  Check the boot and tailgate lock for any signs of water damage.  Also, check the roof lining on the N/S.  If the washer jet is blocked the back pressure can blow the connector in the water pipe which is in the roof lining on the N/S near the C pillar.

Tailgate lock:

This has a a few micro switches inside which control a few things your wouldn’t expect from a lock.  If the lock as water damage from the rear wiper motor leak this could cause problems such as;

  • Boot light not working.
  • Alarm going off on its own.
  • Boot not locking on central locking.

If the tailgate lock is faulty you made get the ‘tailgate open’ warning on the dash.  A new lock from VW is around £25-£30

Driver and passenger doors:

There are a few common MK4 faults that attack the driver and passenger doors.  These are fault locking modules, window regulators and door cards/ trim.

Lock modules – There are a few symptoms of a faulty lock these are:

  • Car re-locking itself before you put the keys in the ignition.
  • Door ‘puddle’ lights and interior lights not coming on.
  • Doors not locking correctly or unlocking on their own.
  • Door open sign on dash even when doors closed.

The lock modules suffer from ‘dry solder joints’ this  is down to the solder on the PCBs (Printed circuit boards) becoming dry and cracking with all the door slamming.  This causes a bad contact.  You can either buy a replacement module, or if you are handy with a soldering iron you can reflow the poor solder contacts.

Window regulator:

This can be anything from the window motor being very slow to raise and lower the window or the glass falling in to the door.

The window regulator has plastic clamps to hold the glass, these break and have been replaced with stronger metal clamps.  All parts are widely available.


Engine, suspension and service type stuff!


  • Top mounts (turn left to right when stationary listen for clonks)
  • Rear bushes (clonks from these two items on drive)
  • Knocks going over bumps – Front suspension Anti Roll Bar bushes
  • Rear engine “dog bone” mount – if you hear knocking when you turn the engine off, this is the likely culprit.


  • Ticking noise from drivers side of engine is “ok and common”
  • Oil level – if low could be a leak or poor maintenance?
  • Coolant level is this ok? if not – possible leak or poor maintenance?
  • Cam belt – should be changed every 5 years or 60K


While Engine is running:


  • Smoke from exhaust, what colour is it? If it’s a blue tint it could be oil from the turbo
  • VAC pipes – is there any sound like air hissing? possible and not common to have a split vac pipe. – this can lead to the car going in to ‘limp mode’ (a reduced power output to protect the engine if it senses something isn’t right)
  • If you’re test driving a TDi and it sounds like it has a dump valve, make sure it doesn’t have one (not good on these cars) or that it may have had the EGR valve removed, removing the EGR is a very common mod and a good idea (reduces soot build up occurring in the turbo veins)

Take it for a spin!

Take the car for a run.  Check it goes in to each gear smoothly, if you have any trouble check to see if the clutch has been replaced?!? – if not this can be a costly repair costing close if not over £1000 to be done.

Does it pull well? is it hesitance at all under boost? – The coilpacks are a common item to go down and maybe replaced for free if they haven’t already been replaced by VW – give VW your VIN or reg for them to check.

Chill man! – is the Air con working well?

Does it get cold quickly? – if not when was it last gassed?

Turn the air con on, pop the bonnet and look to see if the pump is spinning without any excessive movement?  if the pulley is on its way out a replacement from VW will be £800+ for a pulley change, or £700-£900 just for a pump plus fitting!

When you switch the aircon on you should hear a “click” of the aircon pump clutch engaging.

Also when you turn the aircon on the engine fans should spin on lo-speed. If not then it’s probably a faulty FCM (Fan Control Module), blown lo-speed resistors in the fans or a blown fuse (check the ones on top of the battery) – all quite common faults for Mk4 Climate control.


Has the Anniversary been modified?

If it’s been lowered drive it and go lock-to-lock and listen for any nasty grinding noises, if there is it’ll probably be the front Anti Roll Bar rubbing on the driver-side drive shaft, means it’s too low and needs the ARB changing for an Audi TT one and fitting adjustable droplinks, or raising the ride height.

The air vents inside are commonly replaced with the illuminated Bora vents, sometimes people make poor wiring looms or buy the correct looms.

Remember if you have any doubt that it is a true Anniversary ask to see the V5/ log book – it should be listed on there!



ba_25th_go4_rb Volkswagen-Golf_GTI_25th_Anniversary_2001_800x600_wallpaper_0d Volkswagen-Golf_GTI_25th_Anniversary_2001_800x600_wallpaper_0e
25th Anniversary GTI badges Le Mans Recaro seats GTI ‘Golf ball’ gear knob
image-1 Volkswagen-Golf_GTI_25th_Anniversary_2001_800x600_wallpaper_10 25th Anniversary wheel
Numbered plaque on end of dash, over fuse cover GTI logo on sills BBS wheels in original ‘ball-brushed’ finish

If you have any doubts or questions then please ask on here, we have quite a lot of Anniversary knowledge between us!

Share Button