We got your ‘Eibach’ | James’ MK4 GTI

Now that the Golf is serviced and running smoothly it’s time to get on with the modifications. Before touching the engine the chassis needs to be fit to take any extra power that we might extract out of it. At the moment that time-old problem with VWs from around 2000 is rearing its head; that is to say the front lower arms are creaking worse than the post-Brexit economy. As well as the creaking, it’s fair to say that I’m not driving this car, rather I’m helming it like a boat, which wallows and pitches around corners.

To address the creaking, I’m getting hold of a set of bushes which will not only solve the problem, but will also tighten the car up no-end. I expect that these on their own will transform the handling and feel through the steering wheel from ‘vague’ to ‘actually connected to the wheels’.

Someone's happy

Someone’s happy

If that wasn’t enough, I’ve acquired an early Christmas present that even Santa couldn’t dream of delivering – a full set of Eibach Pro-Street-S coilovers and front and rear anti-roll bars. These struts and springs are a serious bit of kit and I can’t wait to have them fitted. They offer ride height adjustment from between 20mm lower than standard, all the way to a ground-scraping 70mm. As for me, well I have to use the car every day and the speed bumps at the Unity Media office are notoriously savage, so let’s just say the Golf’s sump won’t be troubled any time soon.

What I’m really looking forward to is the mixture of much-improved handling with almost no detriment to on-road manners. From what I know of the Pro-Street-S kit (which Banzai’s feature writer, Sam Preston, runs on his EP3 Civic) it is a fantastic compromise for someone – like me – looking for incremental improvements without ruining the Golf’s every-day usability. The anti-roll bars will definitely make a massive difference to the character of the car. On its (ancient) standard setup, as I said, the car wallows around and only turns into corners grudgingly rather than enthusiastically as a GTI should. Stiffening up the suspension will help, but stiffening up the anti-roll bars will reduce the roll at the moment of hoiking the wheel to the left or right, making it far more eager to eat up the bends. I’m pretty confident that the combination of bushes, Eibach anti-roll bars and Pro-Street-S coilovers will be an act worthy of its own prime-time slot on BBC1.

What I need to do now is arrange a day at a track where I can do a back-to-back comparison of lap times on standard suspension vs. the Powerflex/Eibach kit. Obviously the difference will be night and day once the suspension is fitted, but how big the gap will be in terms of seconds around a track is unknown. Now I just need to borrow a racing circuit…

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