The #VW Golf is probably one of the most popular cars in the world. Since 1974, VW sold more than 30 million of these. It represents about 2000 cars sold per day! It's always been a safe choice and good value for money. A bit more expensive than the competition, but "c'mon it's a Golf, if everybody drives one why shouldn't I?" Throughout the years, every generations (7 until now), received a dose of GTI steroids. GTIs became a benchmark, but it seems it was not enough anymore. Meet the "R", a wolf in disguise. The first ever model of this special range was the R32 in 2003 on the Golf IV, and it already had 241hp. Here it is again, 3 generations later.
Try to find a more boring car? Yes, it is boring. Because it is too damn perfect. No quirks, no weird stuff, no amazements. Born in Wolfsburg, Germany, the Golf is like the Porsche 911 of common cars, it has been here for decades. So, how did a Golf end up on this very exciting page? That's because it is not a regular Golf. 14 years ago, VW launched the Golf R32. It had a 6 cylinder 3.2l that generated 241hp. Here we are 3 generations later with the Golf R. They dropped the 32 because it now only has a 2.0l with 4 cylinders, and a turbo. But what seems to be an engine coming out of a Polo, is actually developing 300hp!
Volkswagen used to advertise the GTI by saying it is a wolf in sheep's clothing. The philosophy has not changed because it actually does not look like a 300hp car. Just look at it! It's a Golf! It is supposed to be boooring. These geniuses forgot the giant spoiler and air vents. Yet, out of nowhere, you have four gigantic exhaust pipes. And, wait for it, aluminum mirrors. Even the 19'' wheels look like it came from a VW Up! So, it absolutely does not look like a sports car. Ans this is why we love the Golf R. Unlike the Civic Type R, it's not a show-off car, and it will simply destroy other tuned cars once the light turns green. That's also because we do not expect this car to be fast.
Inside, it's the same story. It is so German. It is perfect. Everything is where it is supposed to be. It's simple and straightforward. A chimp could easily find its way through the cabin. But again, apart from the seats that looked ridiculously cheap, everything is Golf.
Is the "R" the perfect hot hatch? Well first things first, it is a comfortable car. And quite a practical one as well. But press on the Race mode button, and the car becomes a complete hooligan. Being 4-wheels drive, you can really thrash the car around, and it shall not move. Equipped with the rather excellent DSG gearbox, the car will go from 0 to 100kmh in only 4.9s. As fast as a Porsche Cayman S! But being cheaper than a Porsche, and being kind of an all in one package, it really feels like a bargain. But again, it's a Goooolf. It feels a bit sanitised and, OK this will sound stupid, too perfect.
But be careful, the Golf doesn't stand alone in this category. BMW has the M135i, Mercedes has the A45 AMG, Opel has the Astra OPC, Ford has the Focus RS, and don't forget the Megane RS, the 308GTI, the Civic Type R, the Cooper JCW, etc.
But the R also has its cousins. Audi and Seat who seat at the same table, also has their own versions of the Golf R. The Leon Cupra is the cheap one. It is just a tiny bit less powerful, and only is front-wheel drive but they say it's more fun.. The Audi S3, on the other hand, is the posh one. Same power and 4x4 system, but they say it is more refined..
So, as we can see, the Golf R has many alternatives. But the Golf is the safe choice. Though, the "R" feels sanitised and too perfect, it is a great car. Apparently, there is an R400 in the pipeline, and, as you could have guessed it, it will develop 400hp. Things should get even more interesting.
VW Golf R