Volkswagen Golf GTI 16S from Oettinger: limited and exclusive for the French market

Auto Motor Klassiek » Articles » Volkswagen Golf GTI 16S from Oettinger: limited and exclusive for the French market
There classics purchasing (copy)

Germans don't like losing. That is why Volkswagen ultimately gave in to the French importer's plea to beat the fastest hot hatches of 1981. Oettinger came around the corner and the powerful Golf GTI 16S appeared on the scene, which significantly raised the benchmark in the horsepower race. An astronomically expensive device, but the competition was won. 

Text & photography: Aart van der Haagen

Really, the regular Golf GTI was not underpowered with 110 hp at 810 kilograms, but Renault had just launched the ferocious 5 Turbo (with the rear engine) and the less exotic 5 Alpine Turbo was on the horizon. The French Volkswagen importer raised the painful prestige issue with the bigwigs in Wolfsburg, but received no response. What now? Working behind the bosses' backs, of course. That's how the French did it. They turned to Oettinger, which had already presented its business card at the IAA Frankfurt in 1977 with a prototype for a sixteen-valve version of the EA827 block in the Golf GTI, equipped with two overhead camshafts. The fledgling partners from France and Germany hatched a plan and presented it to Volkswagen management, which was still reluctant to approve a hotter Golf. After two months of tug-of-war, the word of salvation finally sounded and the parties involved signed an agreement which meant that ready-made GTIs would find their way to Oettinger for an extensive strength treatment, while retaining a full year's manufacturer's warranty. 

Don't judge

136 hp at 6500 rpm, 0-100 in 7,6 seconds and a top of 195, these were the values ​​that left the competition in dismay. For this, avid customers had to pay the sweet sum of 75.000 French francs, against 52.990 for a regular Golf GTI. Automotive journalists praised the performance of the sixteen-valve engine in extensive terms, but just as emphatically expressed their disappointment with the unchanged chassis and ditto braking system. Ventilated discs at the front: fine, but ordinary drums at the rear were a disgrace. Don't make the mistake of condemning Oettinger for these choices. The company granted every request to upgrade a product and even had a ready-made sports suspension for the Golf on the shelf, but the French Volkswagen importer had to draw a line so as not to push itself further out of the market with this already expensive hot hatch. to praise. 


With wide 185/60 HR14 tires, the initiators made room for ATS Cup wheels in size 6J x 14, which nicely fill the fenders with their thick attachments. This 'Tupperware' belongs to a BBS body kit, which also includes a front snow plow and thick sill covers. Two color choices were on the menu: white and black metallic. It is not known in what proportion customers purchased these two variants and there is even discussion about the total production number. According to many sources 1250 units, according to Oettinger himself 1600, including a number for Switzerland. In any case, a rarity and a collector's item, such a 'Seize Soupapes', which easily exceeds half a ton in terms of current classic value. Especially when it concerns a pristine example like this, owned by Mark Wegh, with 2727 kilometers on the clock. Who still dares to say the word 'tuning Golf'?

With thanks to Mark Wegh/Porsche Classic Center Gelderland (Heteren)

The entire article, with all photos, can be found in the June issue of Auto Motor Klassiek, which will be in stores until Monday.


Select other newsletters if necessary

We won't send you spam! Read our privacy policy for more information.

Volkswagen Golf GTI 16s from Oettinger: limited and exclusive for the French market
If you like the article, please share it...


  1. Absolute quality!
    I drove an Oettinger Polo coupe TSV1984 from 1997 to 1500.
    106 hp on 730 kg. More than 200.000 km driven. Completely problem-free. Costs a few cents (guilders) HP/weight ratio even madness today!

  2. A good acquaintance of mine drove a Golf 2 for quite some time, in which Mr. Oettinger had a 2 liter 16V, including some other modifications. This produced considerably more power than from a standard Golf GTI16V.

    • That 2L 16V originally had 136 hp. Let alone when it is tuned! Were fun things. I could probably still repair the original GTi's with my eyes closed. Worked on it a lot. Well adjusted, they also ran like the fire brigade. And when tuned, they were also over 130 hp. 'Toys for boys'

Give a reaction

The email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Maximum file size of upload: 8 MB. You can upload: afbeelding. Links to YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and other services inserted in the comment text will be automatically embedded. Drop files here