As the hot hatchback arms-race began to really get going in the early 1980s the leader of the pack, the Mk1 Golf GTI, had already been around for a few years and the competition was catching up. The Mk1 Astra/Kadett D GTE, Ford Escort XR3/XR3i and various others were making significant inroads into the VW share of the market.
More power was clearly needed, but the enlarged 1800cc engine couldn't come soon enough for VW France and the factory 16 valve head was years away. So with assistance and support from the Wolfsburg factory the tuning company Oettinger was called on to develop more power for the 1600 unit. Turbocharging the Mk1 Golf GTI had caused problems for those that had already tried it, and a bigger capacity block wasn't viable.
The solution came in the form of a 16 valve twin-cam cylinder head and uprated engine components to match. With the various improvements the engine was good for 136bhp (a similar figure to VWs own 1800cc 16v engine in the Mk2 Golf) and a rapid 0-60 time of 7.5 seconds.
Bodywork came in either dark grey or white, with a BBS bodykit and ATS Alloy wheels. "16s" badging was a further clue to those left trailing in its wake - the "S" being short for "Soupapes", the French word for Valves. Lots of other interior and mechanical detail changes helped to lift the 16s above the regular GTI model.
Between 1200 and 2000 cars were built, sold in France and Switzerland as official VW products with the full factory warranty. They are a real rarity today.