Monday, 1 February 2016

Car of The Week: Volkswagen Bora 4Motion

Car guys like myself love an oddball, particularly one from a manufacturer we adore. For me one such car is the 2.8 litre V6 4Motion Mk4 Volkswagen Golf (hears parents sigh). That's right, the 4Motion, not the full phat R32, rather its understated sibling tickles my fancy. Unfortunately though with VW never officially importing any I was disappointed by the lack of such oddballs in Australia. However a little bit of scouting around reveals the Golfs booted cousin the Bora made it down under and guess what, you could get it with that glorious 2.8 up front. Making it a perfect candidate for the long awaited return of car of the week.
Volkswagen Bora V6 4Motion

Volkswagen Bora V6 4Motion

All about the engine

It is all about that 2.8 litre V6; the sound, the power, the effortlessness of how it can devour kilometres. On paper the 4Motion seems like an unnecessary vehicle, but I for one am delighted it exists. Sold from 2001 to 2005 the 150kw V6 Bora could crack 100km/h in 7.6secs and surge onto a 240km/h top speed, 270Nm of torque and a lovely 6 speed manual also means the Bora makes light work of overtaking too. Then of course there is the sound, a gentle rumble at idle that turns to a operatic high note when you rev it out, there is not a better sound than a naturally aspirated engine doing its work. Yes it could be argued that a small sedan with 4 wheel drive and a stonking great V6 under the bonnet seems excessive, especially when a 4 cylinder Bora has the same quality fit and finish. But honestly the engine makes the car, it's the equivalent of taking a lovely Bratwurst roll and adding hot mustard, it turns every drive into an occasion.
Volkswagen Bora V6 4Motion

What's it like inside

Mk4 Golfs and cars that share their platform are very well screwed together, sound deadening is good, materials high quality and the thunk of the doors is second to none. I know this from having owned a number of them and been passenger in many more. However I can tell you that its the little things that set the booted Bora apart from normal Golfs. Quality features like illuminated air vent controls, chrome rings around the dials, wood trim (albeit a bit tacky) and wonderfully supportive sports seats in the 4Motion give the Bora an air of luxury to go with the performance.
Volkswagen Bora V6 4Motion

How does it drive

Historically Mk4 Golf based cars have been criticised in the driving department, roly poly handling and a lack of steering feel have been some of the things said of the them. I however would have to disagree, while not quite the playful puppy dog of earlier 1980's Golf's/ Golf based cars, Mk4's are never the less fun to drive, you just have to adjust your driving style. The chassis is good with the car never feeling unsettled at speed, such stability inspires confidence and with smooth steering inputs instead of jerky jabs at the wheel a Mk4 Golf/Bora can make good progress. The 4 Motions Haldex all wheel drive system adds to that stability. Not only does it provide a feeling of security when the weather turns nasty but a feeling of sure footedness when your really giving it some on a good stretch of road. The only downside of the V6 is the weight of the engine itself over the front wheels, under steer is easily induced if you go into a corner too hot, best to read the road ahead and adjust the throttle appropriately before turn in to settle the car. Here's Matt Farrah driving one to give you an idea of what I'm going on about.

Volkswagens Bora V6 4Motion; a wonderfully made, soulful sounding car that's better to drive than you might think. It's an oddball that's so much more interesting not to mention that bit rarer than its opposition and it turns every drive, no matter how mundane the destination, into an occasion.
Volkswagen Bora V6 4Motion Sport added bigger wheels, new grill and rear spoiler in 2004

Volkswagen Bora V6 4Motion Sport added bigger wheels and rear spoiler in 2004

Go get yourself one

Volkswagen Bora V6 4Motion for saleI don't know about you but I've convinced myself I need one and luckily there are a few to choose from in every state ranging from $2500 for a broken one to $8000 for decent one. Here is my pick from This 2003 car has by all accounts led a very sedate, loving life with it's second owner. Reading this offsets any worries I'd have regarding the 223,000kms and the bad points mentioned seem like very easy fixes. For $4000 this car is an absolute bargain.

2003 Volkswagen Bora V6 4Motion, $4000


  1. Hey Bruce , did you actually buy one ?
    Thinking about buying one myself , any advice ??

    Best regards...Rich

    1. Hi Rich, thanks for reading the article. I didn’t buy one in the end. Decided a wagon would be more practical so got an Audi S4.

      Drove a couple of Bora’s though whilst searching. Getting one with a full service history is key, I wouldn’t be bothered by KM’s as long as it’s been maintained. Make sure the timing chains in particular have been done.

      They drive really well, not a sports car by any means but a good long distance cruiser, solid and effortlessly quick. A set of lowering springs would do wonders for the handling.

      I still reckon they are a good buy and really good value.