Booted Golfs go back a long way. The Jetta was the first, a car with a boot so large it looked like it was trying to claw its way up the rear window and engulf the rest of the car. To be able to proceed without dragging its posterior along the Queen's highway when the boot was full, Volkswagen chose to equip the Jetta with rear springs apparently made from a solid billet of steel, thus giving a teeth-shatteringly firm ride. Resultant sales were minimal. The Vento came next, with its more sophisticated suspension. Unfortunately, with its grotesquely distended rear end, it resembled something in a pickling jar at Ripley's Believe It Or Not. It too sold mainly to police forces and to human traffickers with a soft spot for quality fit and finish.
It wasn't until the introduction of the Bora in 1999 that Volkswagen proved that a Golf with a boot could be a genuinely attractive proposition. Based on the Golf Mk IV, the Bora was, if anything, even prettier than its hatchback sibling, especially in plusher guises. Initially available with five engines, three petrols and two diesels, the Bora had an uphill task on its hands to convert buyers who were passionate for parcel shelves. The petrol engines were all tried and tested Golf units, kicking off with a 100bhp 1.6, with the ubiquitous 115bhp 2.0-litre unit and the oddball 150bhp V5 supporting it. Surprisingly, there was no place in the Bora range for Volkswagen's 'default' 1.8-litre engine in either normally aspirated or turbocharged guise. Diesel buyers had the choice of two 1.9-litre direct injection turbo diesel engines, one with 110bhp, boasting Volkswagen's innovative Pump Duse technology, the other with 90bhp, not boasting Volkswagen's innovative Pump Duse technology. Both were well received, and the 110bhp PD engine received a small power boost to 115bhp in October 1999, with a five-speed automatic tiptronic gearbox option being offered shortly after. This engine was in turn replaced by a 130bhp TDi unit in 2001, and the 110bhp unit was reintroduced to give a three pronged diesel attack alongside the budget 90bhp versions.
January 2000 saw the introduction of the flagship model of the range, the 204bhp Bora 2.8 V6 4Motion, fitted with, as the name implies, four-wheel drive (in this instance putting this power to the ground through the Haldex-differential of Audi's TT coupe). In December of the same year a number of changes were made across the Bora range. Volkswagen upped the power of the 1.6-litre automatic cars to 102bhp, made a number of cosmetic changes to the wheel choices available, added CD auto changers as standard to Sport specification cars and, most significantly, boosted the V5 engine's power from 150bhp to 170bhp. A sporty ST specification was introduced in summer 2001 to sit between S and SE trim levels available with either the 1.8T engine or the TDI 130 diesel unit. The TDi diesel range was reappraised at the end of 2001 to consist of 100, 130 and barnstorming 150bhp Pump Duse variant. A value added Highline model was launched in early 2004 priced marginally above the SE but offering far superior equipment levels.