The GTI of those years has not quite the famousness of its ancestors. It is available with a second engine variant with 16 valves since 1993, which was originally developed at the original GTI for the French market. The GTI strongly increased with two litres displacement now. This seems necessary because the two engines are now attacked from two sides.
There is a diesel version with 81 kW (110 HP) since 1996, whose torque of 235 Nm is superior the two existing engines. But the diesel can't keep up with the sporty engine speed. However, this succeeds much better the much earlier appearing VR6. The has not only more torque with 2.8 liter displacement and 235 Nm, but also turns almost as high and produces 128 kW (174 hp).
One consolation for the two GTI originals: The VR6 is 100 kg heavier and namely up front, where it disturbs the handiness most. In the next series is (therefore) offered a VR5. And why there are two GTI engines at all? Because the two-liter has become somewhat long-stroke due to lack of space and therefore is more similiar to a workhorse than a high-flyer. The 16V engine thoroughly resolves this problem.
Because this GTI has also increased in weight, but can a little compensate a marginally weaker acceleration by a better drag coefficient at the maximum speed. Advantage for the passengers: The Golf 3 has become much safer and documented this in addition by introducing of airbags for driver and front passenger towards the end of the first year of production.
A slight sluggishness also denotes suspension and steering. The former by a little more comfortable designed suspension, the latter by more caster up front what it makes a little sluggish at standstill. Overall, however, its accuracy is highly praised. No, it still runs dynamically around the pylons and nice highway averages are also possible - with 10 litres/100km at that time regarded as quite economical.
The outer appearance matches the tasteful interior values. Only a small spoiler and a up front hardly to overlook 'GTI' labelling point out the sporty qualities. Inside it is there already more to the point, what can be seen less at the bouffant instrumentation, but more at e.g. red stitching everywhere and just such belts.
Oh yes, at one point, it has remained a sport sedan: in sound. It's not really intrusive but still noticeable. 04/14