I had an '86 GTI 8V for two years, and my Mum had it for 10 years before that.'
Bullet proof, nice handling (although, and this is controversial, the Saxo VTR I had afterwards handled better [:O]), good performance and quite practical. Downsides were average brakes, noise when cruising, terrible security (serious thief magnet) and nasty oil consumption.
Had 180k when I sold it and very little had gone wrong.
I genuinely preferred the mk3 16V I had afterwards (much better brakes, quicker, power steering, but handling not as good), but the R32 is still my favourite by a looooong way.
BTW - My Mum is selling her current mint silver '89 mk2 GTI 8V in North Cornwall if anyone is after one!