Some of you may know, but I own a Volkswagen Golf R, I've had this vehicle for around 3 months, and thought it was time to publish my thoughts. Let's have a bit of a background story first.
Back in 2013 I started working for Volkswagen within a sales capacity, so naturally I was very familiar and comfortable with the brand, it was at that time when the MK7 Golf was first released, the usual models/specs began creeping on to the forecourt. Then we had the GTI, fantastic car, but it was being overshadowed by whispers around the dealership. Whispers around the release of a new Golf R. Naturally I was quite curious about this, I went home and did a bit of research, read the specs, the figures and I've wanted to own one since that moment. A few months passed until we had confirmation that a Golf R was coming to our dealership. I ran upstairs and spoke to the Principal who agreed to let me have a drive out in it as I had some customers interested.
That first drive I will never forget, I can re-call the route almost perfectly. Fast forward to September 2018 when I was in a position to switch car, I owned a 2009 Focus ST3 at the time, and as hard as it was giving up that beautiful 5 cylinder engine noise, it had to be done. A dealership local to me had a Golf R in stock, in my favourite colour; Lapiz Blue. I was, and still am obsessed by the car.
Lapiz Blue is the only colour exclusively available for the R, so I had to get that, and the model I opted for came with the standard 18" Cadiz wheels, they seem to be marmite amongst the owners and whilst they're not a bad wheel, the optional 19" Pretoria wheels do look a little more aesthetically please albeit a bit soft and prone to cracking. Taking a look around the car, we have a relatively subdued approach by Volkswagen, with the only hints of the car being a "hot hatch" being the chrome mirrors, R badging, and quad exhaust tips.
My personal vehicle after a nice wash!
Continuing with the subdued looks around the rear, there is a not-so aggressive rear diffuser, flanked either side by twin exhausts. In my eyes, the picture above is what'd I'd call the staple Golf R. It's an extremely popular car here in the UK and I do see a fair few with the same spec. A lot of owners have opted to modify their cars (mine is well on the way to this), to make them a little more unique. One thing I wish Volkswagen would do, is to add a bit of aggression and passion into the R brand.
Moving on into the interior then, you're greeted by some two tone cloth and alcantara seats in black/grey. They're aesthetically pleasing and very nice to be in, comfortable on long journeys, and they hug you enough to keep you in the right position when pushing on.
Interior shot of a MK7 Golf R
Taking a look around the cabin, you'll see lashings of piano gloss black trim, on the steering wheel, around the clocks, and in the centre console. Pair that with Volkswagen's attempt at a driver focused cabin, and it's all tied together very nicely. To achieve that, they have angled the centre console slightly towards the driver, not to the detriment of any passengers though.
Let us move on to the juicy stuff, the engine. The Golf R is powered by a 2.0 petrol engine pushing out 300ps (roughly 296bhp) through Volkswagen's 4Motion system, combine these and you get a peak 0-60 time of 4.9 seconds. Add roughly 0.5 seconds for the manual model, and you've got yourself a seriously fast hatchback. Electronically limited at 155mph, it's definitely a force to be reckoned with. My personal car has the DSG transmission which is sublime, it's extremely smooth and still allows for a full-manual mode, giving you full control over the gearing. The 4Motion (Haldex) system in this car is fantastic, get a good set of rubbers on the car and you'd struggle to push the car past its limits. I've driven the car hard, and purposely tried to make it break traction and to this day I've been unsuccessful.
I recently compared the Golf R to a scalpel, very precise, does the job without much fuss and this is the perfect analogy to describe this car, it does everything you want it to, with no fuss, no hassle and no drawback. Yes, there are more engaging cars to drive and more exciting cars to drive, but if you want a no-quibble answer to whatever you can throw at it, this is the car for you.
If you want to find out why I chose the Golf R over it's competitors, the competitors being the Mercedes A45 AMG, Ford Focus RS, BMW 140i, and Honda Civic Type R, then click the video below.
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