Robbie Murrell is living proof that you shouldn’t swear by the mainstream reviews (apart from ours, of course). The 206 GTi180 was a much maligned car, and Robbie thinks that’s a bit unfair. He ignored the nay sayers and took the plunge, and he hasn’t looked back since. So, if there’s a car you want, but the reviews worry you, don’t take them as gospel. What a reviewer doesn’t like has no say on what you like.
Robbie, over to you…
It’s kinda funny looking back about a year and a half ago, driving round in my 5 door 1.4 206 and then pulling up behind another 206 as I often found myself doing. There are plenty about after all. But this one had twin exit pipes and was de-badged with the exception of ‘GTi180’. Confused 18 year old me went home and did a lot of research and was… disappointed.
People really, really, didn’t like this thing at all. Every single review either pointed backwards to the legend of the 205 Gti or to the Renaultsport Clio 172/182, so I looked at both, and you’ll be damned to find a Clio below £2k (*cough* Ed) or… yeah let’s not talk about 205 Gti prices. Whereas the GTi180 wasn’t even selling for £1200.
Nonetheless, I did some shopping and after my first year of no claims bonus came around, I found one of the last 180s for sale less than 20 miles away, for a mere £1000. Before you know it the 1.4 was gone and I was driving home this bundle of joy – 175 Bhp from the 2.0L NA lump was – and still is – a blast, and thanks to variable valve timing and some help from Lotus, you bring the revs up above 4,000 and your head is planted in those Recaro seats while a giddy grin takes over your face.
The other great thing about it, is that it’s subtle. People really have no idea what the car is (especially the people my age in brand new cars that try beat you off the line at the lights). But enough people do know it that you’re stopped on occasion and someone asks about it. I know for a fact that I have the only GTi180 in my town and there is only one in the neighbouring town, so they’re scarce.
All in all, I was able to fully pay for this GTi180 at 19 and plan to keep it well into my twenties, it’s just so much fun and all my mates love it – I think they’re insanely underrated pieces of kit. And all for £1,000.
A thousand pounds! That’s a stupidly small amount of money for such a nice car. You wouldn’t even get self-catering with Thomas Cook, or Tui, or whatever it’s called this week. Bargainous!
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