I'm not trying to feed the troll here, but all the Mk3 hate seriously makes me want to change my vote to Mk3 VR6. In a weird way, it's actually in keeping with the character of the Mk1....Americans all seem to think that the Mk1 was built to be a fly-weight autocross champion because we're used to big cars with big engines. But in it's original European context, the Mk1 was actually notable because they shoved a 100+ horsepower fuel-injected motor into their bread-and-butter hatchback. So it was actually a bit of a muscle car....a muscle car for 1970's Europe.
I was a kid when the Mk3 was new and I remember thinking what a novel/crazy idea it seemed (to me) to stick a "big" V6 into a hatchback. I loved the lines, the sleeper-ness of it and the fact that I knew it was faster than my dad's E36 318i (which, because it was a BMW and it made nice noises, I assumed was quick ).
Anyway these days, Mk3s seem like good, cheap, tune-able fun. And that's the appeal of GTIs, right? So can't we all just get along?