I bought this car new with 35 miles in 2003.I have since put about $15,000 worth of performance mods into this car. The build quality is excellent for a $25,000 car. I was lucky to be stationed in Germany for 2 years with this car. It drives like a dream on the autobahn and on the back roads. I lapped the Nurburgring in 9:18 my first lap on the track. With some work this car is easily as fast as a 911 carrera on the track.I have never had any major issues with anything breaking. Just do the scheduled maintenance and it runs like a top. After driving more $$ cars like the BMW M3, Mercedes AMG 55 and my 2000 740i sport the Golf GTi is as well built and as fun to drive as any other high $$ car.
In stock trim I loved the handling and the power from the 1.8l turbo engine. Modified its even better.
I have one complaint and that is the seats are not supportive enough for at the limit driving.