Ok, so the latter is usually a given. Following on from this thread (post #5), the car went in last month and had the front & rear gearbox mounts changed to solve the thud problem and the complete front exhaust section replaced to rid the car of the annoying rattle at low revs. The problem is, this didn't cure anything, just left my wallet £222 lighter.
After waiting almost another month before they could offer me a courtesy car, I finally took it back in last week for one of their tech's to have another look at. The call arrives later that day for me to collect my car and they tell me there's nothing wrong.
When I get to the service desk, I ask, if initially the symptoms warranted the (above) work to be carried out, how come the same symptoms don't indicate there's still a problem which they've mis-diagnosed. As the chap couldn't really give me an adequate answer (not his fault really, I guess, he drives the desk, not the customer's cars) he said it might be best if I go for a quick test drive with the tech so I can point out the issues and he can bullsh..., sorry, explain what they are.
So off to the car we go, the tech didn't look too happy as I think he was on his way home when he was collared. The test drive involved him reversing a few feet then moving forward the same distance. His verdict: it's normal and he can't fault it.
"The thud is just the thrust bearing (or release bearing, can't remember) doing it's stuff and the rattle is the normal sound from the dual mass flywheel." I questioned whether the GSi actually had a DM flywheel, as I was pretty sure it didn't, but he said he thinks they were used on the later models (mine's a 2005 MY), but can't be sure.
Back at the service desk, and while somewhat in a state of disbelief, I was told I could have a week or so and if still not happy could arrange to go for a test drive with a senior tech.
So, any advice would be welcome. Am I just imagining faults that aren't actually there or am I being fobbed off?
PS. Sorry for the ramble.