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    2003 Volkswagen Bora

    2003 Volkswagen Bora V6 4MOTION – AWD

    2.8L engine, 6 speed manual transmission, 4WD. One heck of a car for the price, neat models which we are bringing an increasing number over lately. See below a nicely written article about these models! More photos coming next week.

    Ask Volkswagen and they’ll tell you the V6 Bora with 4MOTION four wheel drive is a compact sports sedan. As the only contender in this class, it’s setting the standard the others must follow. A powerful, responsive V6 engine, supple yet sporty ride, and luxurious fittings set the bar admirably high, though with a little more attention to detail, it could have been higher again.

    Is the Volkswagen Bora V6 4MOTION the thinking man’s WRX? Perhaps. Its tenacious four wheel grip, racey engine and responsive handling are certainly impressive, though it doesn’t focus quite as single-mindedly on performance as Subaru’s turbo boxer.

    It’s hard to remain unimpressed by the 2.8 litre V6 engine’s willingness to devour the horizon at a horrendous rate. It spins freely and aggressively all the way to redline, never stopping for a breath. Six closely stacked gears ensure you’re never short of a ratio, on the way to a top speed in excess of 230km/h. For those looking to stay within the law, don’t floor the accelerator for more than 7.4 seconds.

    In the real world the Bora is best kept on flowing roads. Tight mountain passes remain the domain of the sharper, more focused WRX – the constant change of direction upsets the Bora’s slightly softer, more supple suspension. The 4MOTION four wheel drive system is good, very good in fact, and definitely set up to push the front if you’re overly optimistic in assessing corner entry speeds.

    Think 200km/h-plus on billiard table-smooth autobahns with long sweeping curves and you’ll be in tune with the design spec. Think also of a deliciously quiet cabin with just the faintest burble of aggression coming from the sports exhaust and you’ll discover the Volkswagen Bora offers just the right mix of sport and luxury.

    All seats are leather covered, the front seat occupants get sports versions with side bolsters to prevent mid-corner seat swapping. Electrickery abounds in the windows, mirrors and remote central locking, and an engine immobiliser should keep your car where you left it. Climate control airconditioning is standard, as is an 8-speaker, multi-stacker CD stereo system.

    Safety is also high on the list, with anti-lock brakes, electronic brake distribution, and traction control to keep you in control. Six airbags, and state of the art body construction methods should reduce injuries if you don’t.

    Volkswagen fits the sporty Bora with traction control, which – given this car is four wheel drive – may have you scratching your head. We certainly were – until we went for a spirited run in the wet. The Bora’s engine spins so easily and freely, and is so responsive that, without traction control, an indelicate boot planted mid-corner could be a recipe for disaster.

    Turn the switcheable traction control off and you’ll see what we mean. The front wheels spin up, losing grip and causing the Bora to run wide. The rear wheels, continuing their role of pushing the Bora forward, just exacerbates the problem. And no amount of pulling and pushing on the steering will bring the Bora back into line – the only thing to do is lift off the throttle. Better by far to leave the traction control to do its job.

    It’s a measure of the Bora’s success that we were loath to return it to the dealership after our week long road test. The Bora, as we said earlier, is just the right mix of prestige and performance for a small luxury sedan, and answers every call to action with enthusiasm and refinement.

    It has to be said, though, that the Bora is not perfect. A less than precise gearchange action takes some of the polish off the six speed ‘box, and the MacPherson strut suspension misses full marks with damping poorly matched to the engine’s performance.

    And so, we can’t help wondering what might have been. C’mon Volkswagen, ante up! We’ve seen a glimpse of how fast and capable the Bora can be while still bowing to comfort and luxury. How about a Sports Stripper version? Tweak that engine, throw out 150kg of luxury and leather, and re-calibrate the damping to give us a truly refined – sub $50,000 – WRX competitor. We’ll take two.

$6,250

  • Full Specifications
    • Transmission:

      Manual