Volkswagen MK3 GTI
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What is a Volkswagen MK3, MK4, MK5?

Chandler Stark

Meet Trey

Trey is an automotive enthusiast and has a huge passion for Volkswagen and Audi vehicles of all kinds. His enthusiasm started with the MK5 GTI, and he has massively expanded his knowledge over the years. When Trey is not delivering high-quality and in-depth content, we can usually find him working in his garage on his modified Genesis coupe. Trey created VW Tuning several years ago, and he is the primary visionary behind the content.

What do all those letters in front of my Volkswagen model even mean? In this post, we’ll take the time to go into the confusing abbreviations (MK3, MK4, MK5, MK6, B5, etc.) for Volkswagen models, such as the Beetle, Golf, Jetta, and the Passat. Volkswagen named their vehicles based on the generation or the chassis type. We’ll start from the top.

Volkswagen MK3/MKIII Vehicles

MK3 can mean many different Volkswagen models. Typically, when you hear somebody say MK3, you would hear a model following. For example, MK3 Jetta or MK3 Golf. MK3 means the third generation of the Jetta and Golf. These featured Volkswagen’s A3 platform, or A size chassis.

Volkswagen MK3 Jetta

Volkswagen MK3 Jetta
The Volkswagen MK3 Jetta, also known as “Volkswagen Vento” or “Volkswagen Jetta A3”, is the Third Generation (Mark 3) Volkswagen Jetta, which was produced from 1992 – 1999. The 3 engines available were a 1.9L turbo diesel, a 2.0L, and a 2.8L Vr6 engine. The Volkswagen MK3 Jetta really changed the landscape for the brand in the market. With the success of the MK3 Jetta, Volkswagen introduced a Jetta GL, Jetta GT, Jetta GLS, Jetta GLX, Jetta Trek, and a Jetta Wolfsberg. Through its production, there were many different engine variations.

Volkswagen MK3 Jetta/Vento Engines & Engine Codes

Read more here for “The 7 Most Common MK3 Jetta (Vento) Problems”.

Volkswagen MK3 Golf/Rabbit

The Volkswagen MK3 Golf/Rabbit is the third generation of the Volkswagen Golf and was produced from 1991 – 2000, with the Cabrio version continuing until 2002. There were 3 models of the Golf (Golf, Golf Variant, & Golf Cabriolet) with over 20 different special editions and 4 different body styles (3-door hatchback, 5-door Golf estate, 5-door hatchback, & a 2-door convertible). As you can imagine, the Volkswagen MK3 Golf came with many different engines.

Volkswagen MK3 Golf/GTI Engines & Engine Codes

Volkswagen MK4/MKIV Vehicles

As like the MK3’s above, Volkswagen MK4 (MKIV) means fourth generation of a specific model (Jetta, Golf, GTI, or New Beetle). These vehicles were built on the “A4” Volkswagen platform (PQ34), or the MK4 (MKIV) chassis.

Volkswagen MK4 Jetta (A4)

Volkswagen MK4 Jetta
The Volkswagen MK4 (MKIV) Jetta, also called “Volkswagen Bora” or “Volkswagen Jetta A4”, is the fourth-generation (Mark 4) version of the Volkswagen Jetta. The Volkswagen MK4 Jetta was sold from 1998 – 2005, and in fact is still being produced/sold in China. It featured four different trims (GL, GLS, GLX, and GLI) and two different variations (Sedan & Wagon). Like the Volkswagen MK3 Golf, the MK4 Jetta came with a tremendous number of engines.

Volkswagen MK4 Jetta (A4) Engines & Engine Codes

Read more here for “The 6 Most Common MK4 Jetta Engine Problems”.

Volkswagen MK4 Golf/GTI

Volkswagen MK4 Golf
The Volkswagen MK4 (MKIV) Golf, also called “Volkswagen Type 1J”, is the fourth generation (Mark 4) of the Volkswagen Golf. It was sold from 1999 – 2005 and introduced the first version of the world-renowned Volkswagen MK4 R32. The introduction of the R32 propelled Volkswagen into another category of drivers. The Volkswagen MK4 Golf featured six different rims (GL, CL, GLS, GTI & GLX) and three different body types (3-door hatchback, 5-door station wagon, & 5-door hatchback). As you can imagine, it can with more engine variations than those listed above.

Volkswagen MK4 Golf/GTI Engines & Engine Codes

Read more here for “The 7 Most Common MK4 GTI Engine Problems”.

Volkswagen MK4 New Beetle (A4)

Volkswagen MK4 New Beetle (A4)
I know you’re probably wondering, “why is a Beetle in the MK4 section?” Well, believe it or not, the Volkswagen MK4 (MKIV) New Beetle (A4) has the same A4 platform (PQ43), MK4 chassis, as the models listed previously. So, although it may not be the fourth generation model, it does in fact have the MK4 platform. The New Beetle was sold from 1997 – 2004 (2010 in some markets) with 7 trims (GL, GL TDI, GLS 2.0L, GLS TDI, GLS 1.8T, GLS, & Turbo S) and two feature body types (coupe and convertible). Although, it didn’t have as many engines as the MK4 Golf, it still had quite a bit given it was sold in certain markets for 13 years.

Volkswagen MK4 New Beetle (A4) Engines & Engine Codes

Volkswagen MK5 Vehicles

“MK5” stands for the 5th generation of the Golf, GTI, Jetta, and Rabbit, or as some would call it “Mark 5”. These vehicles were built on the Volkswagen A5 Platform (PQ35), or the MK5 chassis. Scroll down to learn a little more about the MK5 GTI, MK5 Jetta, and MK5 Golf.

Volkswagen MK5 Jetta (A5)

Volkswagen MK5 Jetta (A5)

Some would say the MK5 (MKV) Jetta is a more mature version than its predecessor MK4 Jetta, as the official Volkswagen tagline even said “The new Jetta: all grown up. Sort of.” What makes the Jetta MK5 a more mature version over the Jetta MK4? It seems Volkswagen spent more time on safety and structure on the MK5 Jetta and the reviews of resale directly reflect that. The MK5 Jetta, or Mark 5 Jetta, was sold from 2006 – 2011 with 6 trims (Jetta S, Jetta SE, Jetta SEL, Jetta GLI, Jetta Sportswagen, & Jetta TDI) and two different body styles (sedan and sportswagen). The engines that were used in the MK5 Jetta’s are listed below.

Volkswagen MK5 Jetta (A5) Engines & Engine Codes

Read more here for “The 7 Most Common MK5 Jetta/MK5 GLI Engine Problems”.

Volkswagen MK5 Golf/GTI

Volkswagen MK5 Golf-GTI

The Volkswagen MK5 (MKV) Golf/GTI is what got me into Volkswagen’s, especially the Golf R which featured a 300hp engine out of the factory. They were sold from 2006 – 2010. The MK5 Golf/MK5 GTI featured a new more curvy and sporty design than its predecessor, the MK4 Golf/GTI. Although the exterior was more aesthetically pleasing, Volkswagen caught a lot of flak because of the poor quality of the interior. The MK5 Golf came in 5 different trims (S, SE, GT, GTI, and R) with 4 different body types (3-door hatchback, 5-door hatchback, 5-door Golf Plus, and 5- door wagon).

When the Volkswagen MK5 Golf was first announced it featured 3 petrol engines and 3 diesel engines, but as the production went on, more engines were available.

Volkswagen MK5 Golf/GTI Engines & Engine Codes

Read more here for “The 5 Most Common 5th Gen (MK5) Volkswagen Golf GTI Engine Problems”.

Now, the abbreviations above aren’t the only abbreviated models Volkswagen enthusiasts have come up with:

Volkswagen Vehicles

Please feel free to drop a comment and let us know if this helped you!

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    1. Craig,

      The MK5 Beetle, or A5 Beetle, was produced from 2011-2019. Therefore it would be after the MK5 Golf/GTI. Let us know if you’re looking for more info on the A5 Beetle and we’ll do a write up on it.


      1. As alluded to in my question, there should be a section for the last Beetles just as the New Beetle was presented (and Mk5 Jetta and Mk5 Golf).


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