What is it?
Possibly one of the most fun cars to drive on the road. The Golf R is the flagship of the Golf product line and this fifth edition of the performance hatchback is also the most powerful production Golf to date.
With a peak output of 320PS and 420Nm of torque it accelerates from 0-62 mph in just 4.7 seconds and onto an electronically limited top speed of 155 mph.
If you add the optional R-Performance package, top speed increases to 168 mph, and also two additional driver modes are introduced: Drift and Special (Nürburgring).
The Golf R features VW’s Vehicle Dynamics Manager, first seen on the new Golf GTI, and this is the first application of the system with four-wheel drive, continually optimising vehicle handling by coordinating all electromechanical functions.
This sporty variant is lowered by 20 mm compared with the standard production model and its running gear has been tuned further than before. Springs rates have been increased by 10% over the outgoing car, while increased negative camber on the front axle aids higher cornering speeds and the progressive steering is now more direct.
Stopping power in the Golf R has been upgraded and features an 18-inch front brake system, with discs 357 mm in diameter, up from 340 mm on the old car.
Inside, the car is equipped with Digital Cockpit Pro that has been especially programmed for the Golf R. Customisable displays can show boost pressure, gearbox temperatures, torque distribution and much more. The steering wheel now features an ‘R’ button so that the driver can switch between driving profiles without taking their hands off the wheel
It is predicted that the Golf R will represent roughly 10% of all Golf hatchback sales in the UK
What do we think?
Maybe I’m getting old – certainly not more sensible – but I don’t feel the need to add Drift and Special (Nürburgring) modes into the Golf R.
In fact I actually spend most of the time plugging into Comfort mode – Sport is the default setting on start up. Great fun in the country lanes but the ride is harder.
You’ll not be wanting for kit, the Golf R comes loaded with driver aids and safety equipment including sensor controlled pedestrian protection system to raise bonnet away from engine compartment in the event of an impact.
There’s also Driver Alert with fatigue detection; Automatic Post-Collision Braking and Predictive Pedestrian Protection, Lane Assist with Road Edge Recognition; dynamic road sign display, Travel Assist with Emergency Assist and Side Assist with Rear Traffic Alert, ACC Adaptive Cruise Control including Front Assist, radar sensor-controlled distance monitoring system, city emergency braking system, cruise control and speed limiter.
The ambient lighting provides a choice of 30 colours – one for every day of the month should the fancy take you – while there’s also 3Zone electronic air conditioning with automatic air recirculation and reverse activated kerb-view adjustment on the passenger side.
Golf R has VW’s Discover Navigation system with 10-inch colour touchscreen with touch-sensitive functionality; preloaded European navigation data; branded points of interest; 2D or 3D map view; speed limit display; car information display; simultaneous pairing of two compatible mobile devices; SMS functionality; DAB digital radio receiver; six speakers, front and rear.
‘App-Connect’ – combines the functionality of Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and MirrorLink, allowing mirroring of smartphone display on the infotainment touchscreen.
You get all this from around £38K, however, if you do want more kit our test vehicle came with some add-ons: 8J x 19-inch ‘Estoril’ Black diamond-turned wheels with 235/35 R19 tyres and anti-theft wheel bolts (£825), Dynamic Chassis Control (DCC) (£785), Rear-view camera (£300), Head-up display (£625), Winter pack – heated front seats, heated outer rear seats, heated windscreen washer jets and low washer fluid warning light (£470), Digital key – preparation for mobile-key-for-vehicle access via a smart phone (£215).
This topped out at £43,055 while our car also featured a retailer fitted Vodafone S5-VTS GPS Tracker – including 1 year subscription (£540.19 incl. fitting).
On the road the Golf R, despite its performance capabilities, just feels so easy to drive, quickly or otherwise. If you are in a hurry then there’s all the throttle response you need with negligible turbo lag and great grip.
Back in comfort mode you can cruise happily on the motorway, nicely cushioned against lumps and bumps in the road.
Plenty of room in the cabin as well, front and back, which pretty well makes the Golf R a good all-rounder to suit any mood.
Golf R 2.0-litre TSI 320 PS 7spd DSG
P11D Value £38,345
BIK tax 37 %
Engine: 2.0-litre turbocharged
Max power: 320 PS
Transmission: 7-speed DSG automatic
Running gear 4MOTION four-wheel drive
Max speed: 155 mph (limited)
0-62 mph: 4.7 seconds
CO2 emissions: 177 g/km
Insurance group: (1-50) 31 E
Warranty 3 years / 60,000 miles; 3 years paint; 12 years body protection