2.0TFSI, 210bhp engined Volkswagen Golf GTI Mk6

2.0TFSI, 210bhp engined Volkswagen Golf GTI Mk6

Despite the snow and associated carnage on Scottish roads, Motorway Maintenance worker, Grant Gilliland made time to wax lyrical about his Mk6 on his busiest week of the year. This thing is cooler than the freezing temperatures...



Picture your dream Mk6. Now read about it

Words: Graham Leigh

Photos: Mark Rodway

People are always keen to get their cars in these hallowed pages but this guy went the extra mile. As I write this on a cold December 2022 evening, I’m grateful to 31-year old, Dumfries-based Grant. It’s his job to keep us mere mortals safe on the M74. A mammoth task at the best of times that includes traffic management, attending accidents, barrier repair and gritting. After putting in a long day after a significant snow dump, he braved the congestion himself and commuted home to talk me through his epic Golf. That’s commitment for you.

2.0TFSI, 210bhp engined Volkswagen Golf GTI Mk6

Grant started his Automotive journey with a Mk6 Fiesta Zetec 1.25. When insurance costs eased, this was replaced with another Mk6 but this time the peppy ST model with K&N filter, Miltek exhaust and anthracite wheels. An L322 Range Rover Vogue was an unexpected entry on the list but represented a lot of car for the money. Literally. The Mk6 you see before you has been an ever-evolving project since it was purchased back in 2015 and various dailies have been and gone. The current Gilliland fleet consists of a Mk1 Fabia VRS for the daily slog and a Discovery Sport for family duties.

2.0TFSI, 210bhp engined Volkswagen Golf GTI Mk6

After the opulent Range Rover experience, Grant was keen to get some hot hatch thrills back in his life. “I have always liked VWs and I was drawn to them in the car magazines but, following on from my Fiestas, I very nearly bought a Focus ST. I went to view one and they also had a Mk6 Golf GTI at the dealership which I ended up test-driving. The car in question was a DSG model. I liked the Golf but it took me a while longer to source a decent manual. The combination of build quality, reliability and the fact a lot of parts are interchangeable between platforms sealed the deal and lead to me developing the Mk6 into what it is today.” The successful candidate was sourced on Autotrader back in 2016 and was located at a garage in Glasgow. It ticked a lot of boxes having only covered 40k with full-service history and was in superb condition.

2.0TFSI, 210bhp engined Volkswagen Golf GTI Mk6

Grant didn’t have a clear vision when he bought the car and it was modified gradually and went through a few different iterations. “I enjoyed the car for a while then went to a couple of shows and decided I would like to put my own stamp onto it. Of course, it started with mild mods and then snowballed into years of work and thousands of pounds. I’m always pushing for that next mod and trying to generate new ideas.”

ÜBER CLEAN BAGGED Mk6 GTI Picture your dream Mk6. Now read about it

Grant passed through a couple of sets of wheels before selecting those gorgeous BBS. Originally he fitted Mercedes C Class replica wheels and then thought outside that box with 19” Aston Martin V8 Vantage items.

The 19” rolling stock left the standard brakes looking lost. This was counteracted with the purchase of a TTRS front brake set-up that features 370mm discs. Happily, the callipers are identical to those found on the V8 Vantage and thus looked well at home. The rare BBS GT004s were purchased from local man and friend, Chris Keeton whose Mk2 was PVW featured back in December 2018. The three-piece split rims measure in at 19x8” and have an ET of 27 allowing them to tuck perfectly in the arches of the chassis notched Mk6. The wheels have been ceramic polished including the face-mounted centres. Genuine red and gold BBS Japan centre caps and Pirelli P zero 215/35/19 tyres complete the mouth-watering package. “The fully polished faces and lips are a pain to keep on top of but when they are shining it makes it worthwhile.” That perfect stance is achieved with the help of a chassis notch that was carried out by friend, Graham and the installation of an Airlift 3P management system with Performance Series bags.

2.0TFSI, 210bhp engined Volkswagen Golf GTI Mk6

In the Winter of 2018-2019, the Golf was treated to a full respray in the original colour of Carbon Steel Grey. Grant’s girlfriend’s father and brother have a body shop and they have done a fantastic job. OEM+ was the theme for exterior styling with a hint of motorsport. Carbon fibre is the material of choice for the spoiler, wing mirrors, side skirts, diffuser, TRC front splitter and OSIR rear spoiler. A Kill All Wipers rear blade delete keeps things clean out back along with the smoothed rear bumper. A smoothed front bumper with SRSTEC fog light delete air ducts nails the balance between minimalism and function. Genuine VW Bi-Xenon headlights and R20 LED rear tail lights are quality factory upgrades.

2.0TFSI, 210bhp engined Volkswagen Golf GTI Mk6

Grant wanted something a little different from the oft-seen wingbacks or Recaro CS seats. His long search for Mercedes GL45 AMG seats eventually bore fruit and a friend custom-made brackets to fit them into the Mk6. The red accents work well with those already in the GTI cabin. Grant and Sarah worked hard on the boot build and it shows. They completed a rear seat delete, fitted a false floor and installed a half cage. The hardlines are their impressive handiwork too. Two Plush carbon-skinned floating air tanks take centre stage. Grey Alcantara with a splash of red leather means that the rear of the car ties in perfectly with the cockpit. Up front, a Polo GTI steering wheel was skinned by C6 Carbon and then sent to Glasgow’s Optimus trimmers for black leather with red stitching. “I took my dash, door cards and centre console to Del at Optimus Trimmers. I wanted to keep it subtle and let the quality do the talking and they absolutely nailed it”. The carbon fibre theme on the outside of the car continues into the interior where the wonder material is present on dash and door inserts, window switches, seat backs and gear gaiter surround. The Mk7 GTI gear knob looks at home and works well with the aforementioned tiller.

2.0TFSI, 210bhp engined Volkswagen Golf GTI Mk6

The engine bay is host to some useful performance upgrades and, once again, carbon fibre takes on a starring role. “By the Winter of 2020-2021, the only part left untouched was the engine bay. I have always done as many of the modifications, as possible, either myself or with help and as much as I loved the idea of a smooth bay, it wasn’t something I was confident to tackle at the time. I bought what I could to make the ugly TFSI engine look a bit better. I tracked down a discontinued Forge hose kit and painted anything that was oxidised to tidy it up along with any visual part I could get a hold of through Jordan at Offset Autohaus in Kilmarnock.” Under the bonnet, the car now looks both tidy and purposeful. It features a satin black engine and gearbox, new radiator expansion bottle and AC condenser, Revo engine mounts, APR carbon intake, ECS tuning carbon engine cover, Audi R8 coils, and yet more carbon fibre covers for the fuse box, battery and expansion tank. A Custom shortened washer bottle was fitted to accommodate the Racingline Mk7 screenwash filler. A Forge short-shift kit improves feel and sharpens up gear changes.

Even partway through the build, the car was causing a stir. “I was on the reserve list for an indoor spot at Ultimate Dubs 2018. They managed to squeeze me into the last available space as the door shut behind me. I was buzzing to be accepted into such a big show and I ended up scooping a top 20 award on the Sunday. My face was a picture as I was in shock.” With the combination of stunning paint, inspired interior, killer stance and wheels that bring out the green-eyed monster in everyone that claps eyes on it, we have a feeling they’ll be a lot more silverware in the Gilliland trophy cabinet by the end of the next show season. Ice cool. Be careful out there.

«I was buzzing to be accepted into such a big show and I ended up scooping a top 20 award»

DUB DETAILSVolkswagen Golf GTI Mk6

  • ENGINE: 2.0TFSI, 210bhp, APR full carbon fibre intake, ECS tuning carbon fibre engine cover, ECS tuning carbon fibre coolant cover with new OEM coolant ball, ECS tuning fuse box cover, ECS tuning battery box and cover skinned in carbon fibre By Richy Houghton, R8 coils with NGK platinum sparks, Revo engine, gearbox and dogbone mounts, Forge Motorsport full silicone hose kit, Forge throttle body pipe, CTS turbo muffler delete, CTS turbo outlet pipe, Racingline MK7 screen wash filler, Racingline MK7 brake fluid cap, gearbox, engine mounts and alternator painted satin black, Porsche 911 oil cap and coolant cap, polished A/C pipes, charcoal canister relocated, custom exhaust system, carbon fibre bonnet strut, transmission: 6-speed manual with Forge short shifter, Genuine VW clutch replacement
  • CHASSIS: 3 piece BBS GT004 19x8.5”, et27, face-mounted centres, fully ceramic polished with genuine red and gold BBS Japan centre caps, Pirelli P Zero 215/35/19 tyres, Airlift 3P management with Performance Series bags, Audi TTRS 4 pot front callipers with 370mm 2 piece discs and HEL braided hoses, twin calliper rear brake set up with Porsche Cayenne 4 pot callipers and R8 handbrake callipers with HEL braided hoses, polybushed, chassis notch
  • EXTERIOR: Respray in original VW Carbon Steel Grey, genuine VW Bi-Xenon headlights, genuine VW R20 LED rear tail lights, carbon fibre TRC front splitter, carbon fibre mirrors, carbon fibre side skirts, carbon fibre OSIR rear spoiler, carbon fibre rear diffuser, Kill All Wipers rear wiper delete, smoothed front bumper with SRS-TEC fog light delete air ducts, smoothed rear bumper, carbon boot struts
  • INTERIOR: Mercedes GLA AMG front seats in black leather with red leather striping and slate grey Alcantara inserts, carbon fibre seat backs, carbon fibre custom seat brackets, full dash, door cards and centre console custom trimmed in black Nappa leather and grey Alcantara with red stitching by Optimus trimmers in Glasgow, hand-stitched hazard light button, carbon fibre dash inserts and door inserts, carbon fibre vents and window switches, custom carbon Polo GTI steering wheel by C6 Carbon and trimmed by Optimus Trimmers with Berg Tuning airbag cover, genuine Mk7 GTI gear knob custom made to fit the Mk6 with gaiter trimmed in grey Alcantara with red stitching and carbon plates, rear seat delete, custom aluminium half cage, home built floating floor boot build trimmed in grey Alcantara and red leather, twin Plush Automotive seamless Carbon Airtanks (4 gallon and 3 gallon), aluminium hardlines, custom laser cut carbon fibre for airline bulkheads, hidden compressor and management
  • SHOUT: Thanks to Sarah for listening to my ideas and nonsense, her dad, Richard and brother, Stuart for bodywork, Pete for helping and teaching me his mechanical knowledge, Graham for the chassis notch, Scott at DM Tyres, Owen the parts man, Stephen at OCD Detailing for refining and coating the car, Del at Optimus Trimmers in Glasgow, Jordan at Offset Autohaus and Mark Rodway for these amazing pictures and everyone else that has had an input
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