Volkswagen Golf Mk3

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Volkswagen Golf Mk3 (1H/1E)
1996-1998 Volkswagen Golf (1H) CL 5-door hatchback 03.jpg
Manufacturer Volkswagen
Production 4.8 million units[1]
Cabrio: 1993-2002
Assembly Wolfsburg, Germany
Puebla, Mexico
Brussels, Belgium
Bratislava, Slovakia
Uitenhage, South Africa.
Designer J Mays
Body and chassis
Class Small family car (C)
Body style 3-door hatchback
5-door estate
5-door hatchback
2-door convertible
Layout Front engine, front-wheel drive / 4motion four-wheel drive
Platform Volkswagen Group A3 platform
Related Volkswagen Jetta
Volkswagen Vento
Engine 1.4 I4 40/44 kW (ABD/AEX/APQ)
1.6 I4 55 kW (ABU/AEA/AEE)
1.6 I4 74 kW (AEK/AFT/AKS)
1.8 I4 55 kW (AAM/ANN)
1.8 I4 66 kW (ABS/ADZ/ACC/ANP)
2.0 I4 16v 110 kW (ABF)
2.8 VR6 128 kW (AAA)
2.9 VR6 140 kW (ABV)
1.9 I4 D 47 kW (1Y)
1.9 I4 SDI 47 kW (AEY)
1.9 I4 TD 55 kW (AAZ)
1.9 I4 TDI 66 kW (1Z/ALE/AHU)
1.9 I4 TDI 81 kW (AFN/AVG)
Transmission 4-speed automatic
4-speed/5-speed manual
Wheelbase 1991-95: 2,471 mm (97.3 in)
1996-99: 2,474 mm (97.4 in)
Length 4,074 mm (160.4 in)
Width 1,694 mm (66.7 in)
Height 1991-95 & Cabrio: 1,422 mm (56.0 in)
1996-99: 1,428 mm (56.2 in)
Predecessor Volkswagen Golf Mk2
Volkswagen Golf Cabriolet Mk1 (Cabrio)
Successor Volkswagen Golf Mk4
Volkswagen New Beetle convertible (Cabrio)

The Volkswagen Golf Mk3 is a small family car, the third generation of the Volkswagen Golf and the successor to the Volkswagen Golf Mk2. It was launched in mainland Europe in August 1991,[2] in the United Kingdom in February 1992,[3] and in North America in the spring of 1994. The delay in North America was due to Volkswagen's decision to supply U.S. and Canadian dealerships with Mk3 Golfs (and A3 Jettas) from the VW plant in Puebla, Mexico. Quality control problems led Volkswagen of America to reject Golfs and Jettas from Mexico; shortly thereafter labor unrest at the plant delayed production there even further. The third-generation Golf and Jetta first appeared in North America as 1993 models in the San Diego, California area and in Canada, then in the autumn in the rest of North America as 1994 models. The Mk3 Cabrio replaced the Volkswagen Cabriolet, which continued the original Golf until 1993, although the original Golf, sold as Rabbit in the United States and Canada ceased sales in 1984. The Mk3 Cabrio continued until the 2002 model year, when Volkswagen replaced it with a convertible version of the Volkswagen New Beetle. The Mk3 was sold in Japan alongside the Polo, where both vehicles were in compliance with Japanese Government dimension regulations that encouraged sales. A 1993 UK advert featured the Bluebells song Young At Heart which resulted in a 4-week spell at Number 1 thanks to the popularity of it.


Volkswagen Golf Variant


For the first time, an estate was produced, being launched in early 1994 and bringing it into line with key competitors such as the Ford Escort and Vauxhall/Opel Astra which had long been available as estates. The GT variants included a 2.8LVR6 engine, and a convertible launched as the Cabrio (Typ 1E).


The Volkswagen Golf Mk3 Cabrio (or Typ 1E) was introduced in 1994 for the 1995 model year, replacing the previous MK1 Rabbit based Cabriolet. It was facelifted in 1998 (mid 1999 for non-euro markets) with the front, rear, and steering wheel styling from the Golf Mk4 while still maintaining the body from the Mk3 Cabrio. These Cabrios are often referred to as the Mk3.5 Cabrios. The Volkswagen Golf Cabrio was discontinued in 2002.


1995–1996 Volkswagen Golf CL 3-door hatchback (Australia)
1996–1998 Volkswagen Golf CL 5-door hatchback (Australia)

A 16-valve version of the third-generation Golf GTI was introduced in 1993. The engine was enlarged to 2.0 L, with power now reaching 150 PS (110 kW/148 hp). While less powered than the VR6, it was still relatively popular with driving enthusiasts in Europe, because it offered similar power without the thirst or tax burden of a 6 cylinder. As with previous versions the Golf Driver took its place as the official GTI-look-alike but with a single-point injected 1.8 L engine.

1998 Volkswagen Cabrio GLS

The Golf Mk3 was also the predecessor of the "diesel craze" that swept through Europe in the late 1990s and early 2000s, when Volkswagen introduced the direct-injection system with the 90 PS (66 kW; 89 hp) Golf TDI in 1993.

From its launch, all versions of the Golf came with fuel injection, to meet EEC requirements that all new cars sold in member countries from January 1993 must come with fuel injection or a catalytic converter. An all-new 1.4 petrol engine was the entry-level model in the MK2 Golf range.

Also offered was a naturally aspirated version of the 1.9 L diesel engine, the SDI, offering 47 kW (64 PS; 63 hp).

Airbags were first offered on the Golf in 1992, and from 1996 anti-lock brakes were standard across the range.

The Golf Mk3 was also available in "Ecomatic" form. It was powered with a diesel engine and a clutchless manual transmission. The vehicle would freewheel by opening of the clutch as soon as the accelerator is released, and the engine was switched off after a further 1.5 seconds of inactivity, whether by stopping or coasting. Restarting the engine simply required depressing the accelerator pedal.[4] VW had previously pioneered similar technology in the VW Polo "Formel E" in the 1980s.

Volkswagen Golf Mk3 GL interior

There was also a limited production run of around 250 "CityStromer" vehicles, mainly sold to the German market, which were fully electric vehicles, incorporating 6 batteries in the engine bay, and a further 10 underneath the luggage area. It had a range of approximately 50 km. The vehicle could be filled with a small amount of diesel to provide heat for the cabin.[5]

As had happened with the Mk1 and Mk2, the Mk3 remained available in US for a year after it was discontinued in Europe (1998). The Mk3 continued to be produced for the 1999 model year where it was sold in North and South America. These 1999 Mk3 cars were the last produced in the world and sold alongside the Mk4 in showrooms.


Mk3 special editions[edit]

20th Anniversary GTI[edit]

Volkswagen produced a limited quantity of 1000 special-edition 3 and 5-door GTI Anniversary models, celebrating 20 years of the GTI model. This had the usual GTI specification but came equipped with special chequered Recaro front sport seats and matching rear seats bearing the GTI logo, red seat belts front and rear, half-chromed and leather golf ball gear knob, red stitched leather steering wheel and handbrake gaiter. The release knob on the hand brake was also red and silver instrument dials. Floor mats also had red piping along their edges. The red theme continued externally with a red striping on the bumpers and red brake calipers. The wheels were 16" x 7" split rim BBS RS 722 alloys, visually similar to the 15" that were found on VR6 model. Brush stainless steel rear twin tailpipes on the exhaust and smoked front fog and indicator lamps to match the rear lamps. 3 optional extras were made available; electric sunroof, air conditioning and metallic black paintwork. Insurance was based on the standard GTI which made this version a very desirable model. The edition was sold in only 6 colour schemes and the 1000 number figures that were produced was as follows; 600 8 valve models, 150 16 valve models and 250 TDI models. The diesel model was only produced for the European market and was not sold in the UK. Unfortunately many of the models fell into the UK company car and lease market prior to the second-hand market and its believed only a few hundred still survive. However, another factor in the rarity of Mark 3 Golfs, unlike the excellent build quality of the Mark 2, at least in the UK, is the very low quality steel sourced by VW on some occasions, and used across the range, from entry model to VR6. According to independent mechanics and parts specialists, and MOT testers, the floorpan, both door sills, and rear hatch can suffer severe rot and disintegration, and anybody planning to buy one is advised to check for rot, and holes and patches to the floorpan.


A Harlequin edition Golf, with a Ginster yellow base color

Volkswagen originally created the Design series to tour at International Auto shows. Due to the public response of the original four Design series, 60 more were produced. Only 284 were made and offered in the 1996 model year, mostly in the United States followed by Canada.[6] A few of them were sold also in Mexico.

Based on the offered with several different wheel options.

The Harlequins were produced by swapping the body panels of four different colored Golfs. They are usually designated by their base color (the color of the car with no body panels attached). The base color is not repeated on any of the other body parts.

Trek / K2 Editions[edit]

In 1997, a successful marketing effort with Trek on the Jetta Mk3 was expanded to include the Golf Mk3.
The Trek edition came with a roof bike carrier, a 21-speed purple Trek-Volkswagen branded mountain bike, and a Trek 'Limited Edition' sticker. The K2 edition came with a ski/snowboard roof carrier, a K2 'Limited Edition' sticker, and either a pair of K2 El Camino skis, or a K2 Juju snowboard. Both editions also included special seats, and fog lights.[7]

Wolfsburg Edition[edit]

A Wolfsburg Edition was produced alongside other Mk3 "Wolfsburg Edition" Jettas in the United States. Like the Wolfsburg Edition Jetta, Mk3 Golfs with the Wolfsburg package came standard with an improved white/tan dual-tone interior, smoked tail-lamps, premium alloy wheels, remote entry, power windows/mirrors, and an tilt/slide sunroof. The Wolfsburg Edition was only available with the VW 8-valve SOHC 2.0L engine.

European tour editions[edit]

During the 1990s, Volkswagen sponsored three high-profile rock bands' European tours, and issued a special-edition Golf, with distinctive exterior markings, for each: the Golf Pink Floyd Edition (1994), the Golf Rolling Stones Edition (1995), and the Golf Bon Jovi Edition (1996).

European Car of the Year[edit]

The Golf MK3 was voted European Car of the Year for 1992 - the first Volkswagen to win this award.[8]

Engine choices[edit]

Name Volume Engine Fuel Power (max.) Torque (max.) Model 0-100km/h Top speed Years
1.4 1391 cc 4cyl Petrol 60 PS (44 kW; 59 hp) @5200 rpm 107 N·m (79 lb·ft) @2800−3200 rpm ABD 16.3 157 km/h (98 mph) 1992−1995
1.4 1390 cc 4cyl Petrol 60 PS (44 kW; 59 hp) @4700 rpm 116 N·m (86 lb·ft) @2800−3200 rpm AEX/APQ 15.9 158 km/h (98 mph) 1995−1997
1.6 1598 cc 4cyl Petrol 75 PS (55 kW; 74 hp) @5200 rpm 125 N·m (92 lb·ft) @3400 rpm ABU   168 km/h (104 mph) 1992−1994
1.6 1598 cc 4cyl Petrol 75 PS (55 kW; 74 hp) @5200 rpm 126 N·m (93 lb·ft) @2600 rpm AEA   168 km/h (104 mph) 1994−1995
1.6 1598 cc 4cyl Petrol 75 PS (55 kW; 74 hp) @4800 rpm 135 N·m (100 lb·ft) @2800−3600 rpm AEE 13.4 168 km/h (104 mph) 1995−1997
1.6 1595 cc 4cyl Petrol 100 PS (74 kW; 99 hp) @5800 rpm 135 N·m (100 lb·ft) @4400 rpm AEK   188 km/h (117 mph) 1994−1995
1.6 1595 cc 4cyl Petrol 100 PS (74 kW; 99 hp) @5800 rpm 140 N·m (100 lb·ft) @3500 rpm AFT/AKS 11.2 188 km/h (117 mph) 1995−1997
1.8 1781 cc 4cyl Petrol 75 PS (55 kW; 74 hp) @5000 rpm 140 N·m (100 lb·ft) @2500 rpm AAM/ANN 14.2 168 km/h (104 mph) 1992−1997
1.8 1781 cc 4cyl Petrol 90 PS (66 kW; 89 hp) @5500 rpm 145 N·m (107 lb·ft) @2500 rpm ABS/ADZ/ANP/ADD 12.1 178 km/h (111 mph) 1992−1997
2.0 1984 cc 4cyl Petrol 118 PS (87 kW; 116 hp) @5400 rpm 166 N·m (122 lb·ft) @3200 rpm 2E/ABA/ADY/AGG 9.7 210 km/h (130 mph) 1992−1997
2.0 16V 1984 cc 4cyl Petrol 152 PS (112 kW; 150 hp) @6000 rpm 180 N·m (130 lb·ft) @4600 rpm ABF 8.1 225 km/h (140 mph) 1993−1997
2.8 VR6 2792 cc VR6 Petrol 176 PS (129 kW; 174 hp) @5800 rpm 235 N·m (173 lb·ft) @4200 rpm AAA 7.6 240 km/h (150 mph) 1992−1998
2.9 VR6 2861 cc VR6 Petrol 193 PS (142 kW; 190 hp) @5800 rpm 245 N·m (181 lb·ft) @4200 rpm ABV 7.4 250 km/h (155 mph) 1994−1997
1.9 D 1896 cc 4cyl Diesel 64 PS (47 kW; 63 hp) @4400 rpm 124 N·m (91 lb·ft) @2000−3000 rpm 1Y 17.6 156 km/h (97 mph) 1992−1997
1.9 SDI 1896 cc 4cyl Diesel 64 PS (47 kW; 63 hp) @4200 rpm 125 N·m (92 lb·ft) @2200−2800 rpm AEY 17.6 156 km/h (97 mph) 1995−1997
1.9 TD 1896 cc 4cyl Diesel 75 PS (55 kW; 74 hp) @4200 rpm 150 N·m (110 lb·ft) @2400−3400 rpm AAZ 15.1 165 km/h (103 mph) 1992−1997
1.9 TDI 1896 cc 4cyl Diesel 90 PS (66 kW; 89 hp) @4000 rpm 202 N·m (149 lb·ft) @1900 rpm 1Z 12.8 178 km/h (111 mph) 1993−1996
1.9 TDI 1896 cc 4cyl Diesel 90 PS (66 kW; 89 hp) @4000 rpm 210 N·m (150 lb·ft) @1900 rpm AHU 12.5 178 km/h (111 mph) 1996−1997
1.9 TDI 1896 cc 4cyl Diesel 110 PS (81 kW; 108 hp) @4150 rpm 235 N·m (173 lb·ft) @1900 rpm AFN 11.0 193 km/h (120 mph) 1996−1997

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Christian Bangemann u. Beate Jeske (2008). Auto Motor und Sport Heft 18 Seite 24. Stuttgart. 
  2. ^ [1]
  3. ^ [2]
  4. ^ "The Golf Ecomatic Page". Retrieved 25 July 2009. 
  5. ^ "Per Magnar Skånøy's 1995 Volkswagen Golf Citystro". 22 July 2008. Retrieved 25 July 2009. 
  6. ^ "How many of these are there?". Retrieved 5 October 2016. 
  7. ^ Clemens, Kevin (226). VW GTI, Golf, Jetta, MK III & IV. Motorbooks International. p. 33. ISBN 9781610592475. Retrieved 26 October 2015. 
  8. ^ "Previous winners" (in Spanish). Car of the year. Retrieved 18 September 2010. 

External links[edit]