1 Dec 1999
By CHRIS HARRIS
The Bora is VW’s belated replacement for the unloved Vento, and is a booted version of the Golf aimed primarily at the North American and Asian markets where hatchbacks struggle with an image problem.
Based on the Golf IV/Audi A3 platform, the Bora is pitched against prestige segment players like the BMW 318i sedan here, despite its humdrum heritage.
And despite not approaching either the BMW’s dynamic abilities or sales expectations, the front-wheel drive four-door sedan appeals with neat and distinctive design, a very comfortable and refined interior, excellent highway cruising abilities, safe and secure handling and roadholding, high equipment levels and an interesting engine options to the mundane 85kW/170Nm 2.0-litre SOHC 8V Mexican-made lump.
The latter initially offered 110kW/205Nm from its 2.3-litre SOHC 10V design, but a heavily re-engineered DOHC 20V successor improved outputs to 125kW and 220Nm.
The four-speed auto became a five-speed Tiptronic gearbox, while the standard five-speed manual remained.
Better still is the Bora V6 4Motion.
Aided by a Haldex four-wheel drivetrain, this rapid sports sedan features a 150kW/270Nm 2.8-litre V6 mated to a six-speed manual gearbox, as well as niceties like traction and stability controls, leather interior, sports seats, airbags galore and a sunroof.
A sportier-looking 4Motion Sport was also available for two years from October ’01.
From August ’04 all Boras gained extra features – such as stability control and sports suspension in the V5 cars.
In Europe there are also excellent turbo-diesel Bora models but we’ve sadly not seen them locally. A Golf V-based Bora replacement should arrive locally by the end of 2005.