Note: Hover your mouse over the “My GTI” link above to reveal a drop-down menu which lists write-ups for various changes to the car.

2017 VW GTI SportI like to hide my mods or make my cars appear ordinary. I don’t even have personalized license plates, an apparent rite of passage here in Virginia. My plan was to get an “S,” debadge it, and mount my 16-inch VW Mambo alloys, sort of disguising the car as a Golf. It would look sedate, but could come to life as a little sleeper when needed. “Why not just get a Golf?” That’s easy: I wanted the more powerful 2.0T. It’s A LOT more fun, especially after a tune! Plus, the GTI is simply a better car. I quickly decided to buy a “Sport,” which is essentially an “S” with Performance and Lighting Packages, as well as unique wheels. I’ve shared details about my decision here.

GTI Clark PlaidI’m a pragmatist who’s been driving modestly equipped cars all of his life. I’m really not interested in the fancy options that come with the upper trim levels (nor do I want to pay for them). I definitely was not interested in a sunroof or leather seats. I cannot help but recall the adage, “Never put a hole in a roof that doesn’t leak.” This rings even truer as I read reports of leaking or creaking sunroofs. As for the leather seats, I’ve read that they’re really hot in the summer and not as warm as cloth in the winter. I’ve always found cloth seats to be pretty comfortable, even if they needed a little more attention to keep clean. Living where summer days reach the upper-90’s, I’ll take a more breathable seat any day! Fender Premium Audio was the only other feature that I wished this car had. At least that used to be the case. I’ve developed my own solution that sounds much better. I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the Lighting Package, even more so after removing the North American Region restrictions (see “Convenience Mods” for more details).

2017 GTI Sport at VW Plant in Chattanooga

I found myself really appreciating how good Reflex Silver looks, even when it’s not clean. Call me lazy, but I think Reflex Silver is an “easy button” that looks great. What will set my car apart from other GTIs? Nothing, if you believe your eyes. That’s the point, right? Everything I’ve done so far is either completely hidden, installed discretely, or removable when parking in suspect areas. The car may eventually get some mild springs (just an inch). Regardless, my plan is to keep everything either hidden or discrete. I’ll be sure to share my progress. Check the submenus by hovering your mouse over the “My GTI” link above. I’ve shared a photo album below, too.

My Wheels Are Turning…


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