What should I look for?
You'll want a car with a squeaky-clean service history so make sure all the stamps are present.
The Golf's steering can give problems, leading to a stiff steering wheel or creaking noises when turning. Dealers should sort these under warranty by replacing the steering rack. Wonky electrics are also a common complaint, with the engine ECU needing to be replaced.
With any high-performance car crash damage is a real possibility, so inspect the car closely. Look out for: poor-quality paintwork with runs, ripples or blemishes; signs of misalignment, or anything that doesn't look like it came from the factory.
The GTI has a habit of rapidly devouring its front tyres, while uneven wear is a sure sign of poorly aligned tracking.