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VOLKSWAGEN Jetta V5

Top of the line Jetta

VOLKSWAGEN Jetta V5Odometer reading: 51500km
Engine: 2.3/2324ccm V5 petrol
125kW @ 6200rpm
220Nm @ 3300rpm
0-100km/h: 8,9sec.
v-max: 224km/h
Consumption:
@90km/h: 6.4l/100km
@120km/h: 8.3/100km
urban cycle: 11.2/100km

Apologies make up most of the introduction to this review, but they aren't for the car. I apologise for not updating you about the A4 2.0 Audi and also apologise for reviewing an expensive limousine again. However, with the amount of new Golfs and Audis I see on campus daily, I don't feel too bad about it.

As for the Audi A4 2.0, there isn't much I can say which wouldn't land me in trouble with the local boys in blue. It revs freely up to the redline and the ASR works!!

The TDi Golf and Jetta are still eluding me, thus I was more than happy to test-drive this top-of-the-line Jetta with the 'new' V5 engine. It's basically a V6 but with 2 and 3 V-formation opposing cylinder banks. The VR6 powerplant featured offset space-saving cylinder banks, but the V5 has gone back to the classic layout, albeit minus a cylinder.

To start off, the V5 isn't as powerful as the VR6 - only Americans can purchase a VR6 Jetta, and some oversees markets get a V5 Golf. Our local Golfie Hero, the GTi, is no slouch though, and as I finally got to buzz around in the new Jetta, I've now got my sights set squarely on the TDi Golf for my next VW review.

This prime example of the Jetta family was second-hand, but in good nick. It was maroon in colour and featured that magnificent cream-coloured interior. As with so many automotive jinxes, VW have decided that the popularity, sheer beauty and marvelous contrast of a cream and black interior are enough reason to DISCONTINUE the production thereof. Why Larry, WHY???

Never mind. If those 6 coloured balls fall my way on Saturday, I'll be sure to erect a tent infront of this car dealer's premises, as this cream interior is right up my alley.

Once on the road, the RECARO seats offer lots of support and lend a sporty look and feel to the car's cabin. The dashboard and doors feature wood inserts and occasional chrome, something which definately gets my approval. The instruments are clearly marked, although the stalk controls might take some getting used to. Various information like fuel consumption and range are centrally displayed in that stunning neon blue and red instrument cluster, but I did manage to put on the wipers instead of checking my consumption. Sheer matter of getting used to the controls, though.

Having driven an automatic vehicle for a long time, I only struggled on the initial pullaway, but after the third set of traffic lights I was seemlessly blending into the left-foot-and-hand crowd. The gearing seemed perfect for the motor, and the wood/chrome gearlever was an absolute joy to stir around the wood and leather (mmmhh!) covered gate. Pedal feel is light, the brakes were still sharp on this 50thou km car and the accelerator is actually a metal and plastic invitation to trouble with the traffic department.

The V5 engine is very responsive and lively, it boasts plenty of torque for pulling off in second, and you can easily snick it into fifth at 50km/h and put your foot down.

Quite surprisingly, this car comes with a rather unusual but delicious engine and exhaust note. You'd expect the growl of the VR6 or the silky symphony of a 325i, but in fact this car sounds like a 2.5i Kombi or a 2.5 Audi with a slight growl to it. Beyond 4000rpm the exhaust starts resonating, but in the most positive and aurally satisfying way, and the whole exercise is accompanied by a whining noise from the engine.

Keep that kind of driving up and you'll be on the wrong side of the speed limit within seconds, and the board computer will start registering 18 litres per 100km. Engage fifth, lift off the trouble invitation.. erghh accelerator and it'll drop to below 10 litres per 100km quite quickly. It's definately a current fuel consumption estimate, but I was told you could also view an average. I didn't try to obtain that information as I didn't want to turn the wipers on again.

Unfortunately it was a rather short-lived drive and I didn't brave any corners at high speed, but I can report about a pretty comfortable ride which swallows most uneven surfaces. The steering feedback was excellent and there were no shakes or shudders through the steering.

Sitting in the heated Recaro seats is a perfect driving position, and the heating works very, very well, believe you me!

Driving the Jetta into the rising sun this morning, I wondered wether this beautiful and state-of-the-art car would turn into what the Jetta Mark 3 is now. Just another Jetta. And I came to the conclusion that no car can sparkle forever, unless you've parted with more than 6 figures. The V5 is built to last, it's beautiful, it's fast and it's luxurious. Especially with the cream leather, this example (given the proper treatment) should stay a desired and luxurious means of travel, much like a well-looked-after VR6 is today.

I could start moaning about VW's spare part and service prices, but this car still had most of it's 3 year 120000km warranty running. The salesperson kindly added that the 50000km service (15000km intervals) was a whisper over R450. Added to that, you get the power of a 6 cylinder with the consumption of a 4 cylinder. In town you'll go over 11, but on the open road it'll reward you with close to 7 litres per 100km.

As mentioned, if the good Fairy from the land of 49 coloured balls smiles on me this weekend, you'll see me buzzing around Stellenbosch in a brilliantly engineered, well-assembled, powerful and luxurious motor car. With cream leather interior... what joy!!

Alternatively, should YOU wish to purchase this car, please contact us for details of the dealership. (hey, we have to give something back for driving the thing)

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