UK Car Road Test

Volkswagen Bora Sport TDi 130 2004


"We've got a BORA to test."  hopes and excitement rises

I always wanted a BORA it was the pin up machine of my teenage bedroom wall. Forget childish dreams of Countach and Berlinetta Boxer, the BORA was the one for me. It was the pinnacle of automotive sporting desire.

Mind you it carried a Maserati badge not the terrible VW badge that at that time was only fit for air cooled pre-war designed relics and camper vans.

Some how VW have since appropriated the name for their own use and down graded it from object of mid engined Italian desire to 3 box four door of little image. I look at the Gold saloon out side and sigh. hope and excitement fades.

I could live with VW stealing the name until VW introduced the supposed sporting variants of their Bora which was taking things a little far.

Now I'm presented with this anathma, the Bora sport TDi 130.

Just a quick perusal of  the first half a dozen pictures  and an inspection of the name should be enough to convince you that some Germans should be tried for crimes against Automotives.

If you like me are left aghast by the 

then press the back button now and say no more of this innocuous and invisible motor, which sullies the legendary name BORA.


Then again maybe your to young to remember the stunning Maserati. Your perhaps drawn in by the VW badge and its promise of trouble free economical motoring.

Well if your that young may be you should be looking at a Golf instead at least that has a little street cred left. Though probably not if they are all supplied in this old and faded incontinent underpant colour.

To be honest if it was black with a nice black or even better black leather interior you could forgive it. Or then again after another look at the pictures perhaps not. 

A less memorable looking car I find hard to imagine. Even the alloys are restrained and self deprocating.

VW can produce handsome striking cars this in this form is neither. 

On the upside its roomy and airey with good head and leg room, but then you would expect that at the very least.


Its a fairly well equipped car as you would expect in todays market. The only thing that stands out though is how fussy the dash is becoming as more and more is squeezed in there. There was always a pervese kind of pleasure in the simple blankness of the VW layouts and that seems to be getting lost now. So perhaps its time for VW to re-address the basic design of their dash's. Simplicity is fine so long as its not festooned with garbage. As the detritus build perhaps a more elegant and modern dash design should come with it. 

Whats the point of  seconding three small mirror switches into one small multifunction paddle and then adding a cd multichanger with 8 big boring buttons on top of radio buttons. Surely the changer could be integrated with the radio presets ????? Comfort Features  
Adjustable Steering Column from
Adjustable Steering Column
Centre Arm Rest Front from
Centre Arm Rest Front
Drivers seat Lumbar Support from
Drivers seat Lumbar Support
Front Door Bins from
Front Door Bins
Head Rests (front & rear) from
Head Rests (front & rear)
Height Adjustable Drivers Seat from
Height Adjustable Drivers Seat
Pollen Filter from
Pollen Filter
Split rear seats from
Split rear seats
Sports Front Seats from
Sports Front Seats
Time Clock from
Time Clock
Velour Trim from
Velour Trim General Features  
Colour Coded Bumpers from
Colour Coded Bumpers
Colour Coded Mirrors from
Colour Coded Mirrors
Heated Rear Window from
Heated Rear Window
Tinted Windows from
Tinted Windows Luxury Features  
Air Conditioning from
Air Conditioning
Cigarette Lighter from
Cigarette Lighter
Electric Mirrors from
Electric Mirrors
Electric Windows (front & rear) from
Electric Windows (front & rear)
Heated Mirrors from
Heated Mirrors
Leather Steering Wheel from
Leather Steering Wheel
Multiplay CD from
Multiplay CD
Radio CD Player from
Radio CD Player
Trip Computer from
Trip Computer
Walnut Trim from
Walnut Trim



Okay so its not the unreliable dodgy gas guzzling 5 litre quad cam mid engined V8 of my dreams. But the front wheel  drive TDi 130  is a stonking motor and undoubtedly the highlight of this staid little car. Allied to a reasonable and well stocked six speed box which supplies a range of long fuel saving gears. It produces a modern motor with plenty of get up and go with Ebenezer Scrooge type economy. Close to 130mph top end and possible 50mpg is really not to be sniffed at.

The gears are long and with the high state of tune you need to work the box at very low speed to avoid a dramatic wheel locking stall. Trickling along in second like us old fogeys tend to do is a no-no and first needs to be selected to crawl about. Luckily the box is reasonably easy to use and allows selection of first without fuss.


Service Interval

Insurance Group Safety Rating Smog Rating
10000 8 Not Available Band (c)
Engine BHP CC Fuel Inj.
Turbo Diesel 4 Cylinder 16 Valve 130 1896 No
Cyl Camshafts Valves/cyl Compressor
4 Double 4 Turbo Charger
Cooling F.Susp R.Susp
Water Independant NA
Top Speed 0 to 60 BHP per Tonne
127mph 10.1seconds 110
MPG@Urban MPG@Cruise MPG@Speed Fuel Type
39.2mpg 52.3mpg 51.4mpg Diesel
Kerb Weight Tow Weight Length Width Height
1193kg 1200kg 437cm 173cm 145cm
Boot Seats/up Boot Seats/Down Seats
470 Litres 784 Litres 5

 On paper the zero to sixty sprint is not exactly startling, but the engine majors on massive mid range. So it excels out of slow bends in second third and fourth pulling like a train around its limited rev range till it bangs to a dead stop in the red zone. For road use its perfectly acceptable despite its lack of over-rev facility. 

Stamp it down hard in the lower gears and you will be rewarded with a shower of tyre shredding torque induced wheel spin, this can be good or bad depending which side of thirty years old you are.  

It should and does feel just like a Golf to drive. In theory the boot should give it slightly better balance and chassis stiffness, but you will never notice. If anything it feels less aggressive than a Golf to drive. Perhaps its the sombre clothing and colour that just makes you drive a little more maturely. It stops goes and turn fine, and rides in that slightly firm rubbery manner of all Golfs. The steering is neatly weighted for a bit of feel, but this is probably lost on its aged client base. Steer/Susp/Tech Features  
Alloy Wheels from
Alloy Wheels
Catalytic Converter from
Catalytic Converter
Disc Brakes Front & Rear from
Disc Brakes Front & Rear
Front Fog lamps fitted from
Front Fog lamps fitted
Halogen Head Lights from
Halogen Head Lights
Height Adjustable Headlight Aim from
Height Adjustable Headlight Aim
Independent Suspension from
Independent Suspension
Intermittent Wash Wipe from
Intermittent Wash Wipe
Power Assisted Steering from
Power Assisted Steering
Rev Counter from
Rev Counter

 The immobilisor and alarm and stuff is good from my point of view, and the wife likes the plethora of Airbags and impact protection.

Chunky wheel and bag.


Side Air Bag for extra peace of mind Safety/Security Features  
Alarm from
Antilock Braking System from
Antilock Braking System
Child Locks from
Child Locks
Engine Immobiliser from
Engine Immobiliser
Front Side Air Bags from
Front Side Air Bags
Front Twin Airbags from
Front Twin Airbags
High level brake Light from
High level brake Light
Locking Wheel Nuts from
Locking Wheel Nuts
Pre Tensioned front Seat Belts from
Pre Tensioned front Seat Belts
Rear Seat Belts Fitted from
Rear Seat Belts Fitted
Remote Central Locking from
Remote Central Locking
Side Impact Protection from
Side Impact Protection
Visible Identification Number from
Visible Identification Number




I really do wonder why you would choose a Bora over a Golf, Is a boot really so important to you.

If it is then fine the Bora gives good pace and economy allied to a package which will upset no one Its a boring if sensible choice, but for god sake buy a different colour.


JD Power Survey Ratings
2003 81
2004 80.8
2005 81.8


Computer joy stick like mirror control. One switch doing the job of three on many cars. Good or bad you decide!


Sample data Click here to access specifications for over 30,000 UK cars. 

Car information and car pictures.

Many more used car road tests. 


For all Volkswagen cars specifications and data from: click here.

UK Car Road Test Volkswagen Bora Sport TDi 130 2004

UK Car Road Test Keywords: Diesel sports saloonBora Sport TDi 130