Finding Bora

In Europe, the Jetta Mk4 is known as a Bora.

Although the name sounds rather daft, the car certainly is not.

It’s an attractive car. It has a large boot, ample interior space, good performance, adequate handling, fair fuel consumption, and sufficient features. And it has four doors!

I will never voluntarily own a 2/3-door car again.

Strangely, the Bora is a bit of a dark horse around these parts and not nearly as popular as its Golf IV counterpart — but then again, here it’s station wagons (“Kombi”) and hatchbacks (“Fließheck”) that one sees on the road. In fact, you’re more likely to find a Bora Kombi than a sedan version – although there’s barely a difference to the Golf Kombi.

Criteria met, it was time to get a new car into my possession.

  • Friday, 2nd June: Take a drive to the dealer and a personal look at this fine vehicle.
  • Long weekend: Calculations and brainstorming.
  • Tuesday, 6th June: Return to the dealer to take the baby for a test drive. The wife likes it, too (although she limited my test flight to 160km/h).
  • Wednesday, 7th June: Collect a temporary insurance card from my broker.
  • Thursday, 8th June: Drop off the insurance card at the dealer and sign a few papers and forms.
  • Friday, 9th June: Drive to the dealer in an old Renault Clio and leave again in a ballsy VW Bora 2.3 V5. And the 2006 FIFA World Cup started today as well… yeah!
  • Weekend: Inspect every nook and cranny of my new phat ride (as it’s already been called).

Inconspiculously attractive

Nice butt, small bootie

Steering wheel's on the wrong side

Bland but packed with features

Five cylinders of oomph!

With a deceptively subtle and pleasing growl emanating from under the hood, this particular car came with all the creature comforts of the previous Jetta (and more!) as well as an adequate sound system, consisting of:

  • Head Unit: Blaupunkt Gamma 5;
  • Features: Radio / Tape / CD Shuttle Controller with RDS, Travel Announcement, Traffic Information Memory (TIM), and so forth;
  • Nokia DSP / amplifier unit, mounted in the boot; to drive –
  • Eight Speakers: Unknown brand in the front and back doors (they do kick a bit of ass);

Despite the head unit looking a little bland and conservative, it fits into the center console rather nicely. The pale plastic finish suits the location and blends in with the other controls of the car. Although the unit includes the controls for a CD shuttle, that’s a feature the previous driver didn’t seem to consider important enough to have his employer install.

My opinions about sound quality are therefore based on the performance of the tape deck — which it does rather well. Two familiar tapes are all one needs to arrive at the conclusion that the Blaupunkt unit was a good choice by the folks from Wolfsburg. Furthermore, VW decided to install a Nokia DSP (Digital Sound Processor) in the boot, with its controls on a second DIN-panel above the Gamma unit. Both follow VW’s gorgeous new red/blue illumination scheme. The setup expresses itself via a presently unknown brand of speakers, consisting of a 16cm woofer and a tweeter mounted in each of the four doors and providing a generally rich and encompassing sound that’s quite adequate for the average driver flooring it on the autobahn, listening out for traffic reports (“Staumeldungen”).

A suitable replacement, therefore, would be a fairly tall order.

Internet research and personal inspections have revealed that VW utilise a somewhat proprietary plug and cabling scheme (adapters are available). Some modifications therefore would be in order — or a total replacement of the whole lot, since a navigation system of some sort is also on the shopping list!

Internet research has also revealed that VW-installed systems are far too expensive.

Decisions, decisions…

Photo credits: hmvh DOT net and/or manufacturer/retailer

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