The hottest and fastest Volkswagen Golf ever produced, the Golf R still manages to strike a balance between ultimate performance hot hatchery and family practicality.
The Volkswagen Golf R is fitted with a turbo charged 2.0 litre four cylinder engine producing a hefty 300bhp. It is mated to a 6-speed manual as standard with the option of a DSG semi-automatic transmission with steering wheel mounted flappy paddles. It is also fitted with 4-Motion all-wheel-drive aiding it to accelerate to 100kmh from a standstill in 5.0 seconds flat. It feels blisteringly fast particularly with the seamless DSG fitted. The car feels so capable and literally eats it way toward the horizon. But it is also perfectly happy to ramnle around town at an idle. It is one very sophisticated machine.
As well as having considerably more horse power than the GTI, the R also has more torque at 380Nm. Its reworked turbo charged 2.0 litre enables it to rev more freely at the top end too, increasing the power band. It really feels like quite a different driving experience to the GTI. Its 4-Motion technology means cornering is more efficient and grip is endless making you feel like you can use all of the cars performance. Its composed body control and precise steering do replicate that of the GTI’s, but the R feels more planted in every scenario.
Like the GTI, the R also gets unique styling cues. The defining feature of the Golf R makes it unmistakable from a rear view. It gets a quad exhaust system with four large exhaust pipes, two at each side nestled in the rear diffuser style rear bumper. The R gets a silver pinstripe on the front grille in place of the GTI’s iconic red one and its own unique 18 inch alloy wheels. Like the GTI it is quite understated too, but this is half of its appeal. The interior also gets an R twist with bucket seats with an emblazoned R logo with the option of leather R racing seats too. It also gets a flat bottomed sports steering wheel with R logo and contrast blue stitching throughout the cars trim.
The Volkswagen Golf has always been the benchmark when it comes to family hatchbacks and the R is no different. The interior design and quality of the Golf is of a very high standard. The use of quality materials and contrast aluminium style inserts and black trimmings ooze quality and sporty appeal. The Golf R, like the GTI is one of the most subtle styled hot hatches on the market, but when it comes to interior style and quality, no rivals come close. From the steering wheel and seats to the high standard of quality of materials used, it has the finish of a premium marque.
The standard Golf on which the R is based, scored highly in Euro NCAP crash testing with a full five star rating. The R is kitted with similar safety technology, but gets bigger brakes and 4-Motion technology as standard. Other features include electronic stability control, post-collision braking system stopping the car from carrying on into a second collision, tyre pressure monitor, ISO-FIX and a full set of airbags. Further optional safety items include, hill assist, emergency braking system, seat belt tensioners and auto close of windows and sunroof if a collision is detected.
The Golf R is available in three or five door guise. All models sit on the MQB platform which means space is good inside too. There is generous head and legroom for rear seat passengers fitting three adults comfortably. The five door model makes access to the rear even easier and is more suited, if a choice for small families. Cabin storage space is decent too with a central cubby under the armrest, cooled glovebox and storage beneath the front seats. Boot space is still the same as the standard Golf and GTI at 380 litres. This can also be increased to 1270 litres with the rear bench folded flat.