Meet the ultimate Golf, the hottest hatch ever – the Volkswagen Golf R.
Occasionally a car feels right within a few minutes of making its acquaintance – the VW Golf R is one of those cars.
Flagship of the Golf range and priced from £29,000, the R is much more than simply the fastest accelerating production Golf ever.
At its heart is a more powerful version (just shy of 300bhp) of the already hot 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine used in the Golf GTi.
Visually stunning in Lapiz Blue (exclusive to the R and a handy way to spot one), it’s differentiated in other ways too.
There are discreet ‘R’ badges outside and in, a new front bumper design with large air intakes. body-coloured sills, matt chrome-capped door mirrors and four exhausts at the back.
The Golf R oozes quality as soon as you step in the comfy, yet supportive sports seats. It’s packed with goodies too, including a 5.8-inch touchscreen multimedia system, ABS and various safety systems.
I tried both versions of the R – the six-speed manual and the six-speed DSG auto. The DSG is slightly faster to 62mph (4.9 seconds), while the manual is no slouch either (5.1s). Both are limited to 155mph top speed and you can choose 3dr or 5dr layouts.
Fire up the R and it’s clear that this is going to be an experience. It sounds powerful with a seductive burble, providing a hint of what’s to come.
I tried the slick manual first and the acceleration, especially in second and third, was blistering. Almost shockingly so.
The DSG auto was even more of a revelation. It genuinely felt that little bit faster – we’re talking jet propulsion.
If anything, the exhaust note was even more sensational, popping and cracking not unlike the Jaguar V6 F-Type.
Raw power is one thing, but it’s how it is delivered that matters. Again, VW has got it right with the R.
There’s no sign of any turbo lag – just seemingly never-ending, silky smooth performance.
The car’s grip is astonishing, partly thanks to the intelligent 4MOTION four-wheel-drive system, while the ride is perfect too, just on the soft side of firm.
The result is that the Golf R is exhilarating to drive. If I owned one, my biggest fear would be for the longevity of my licence. This car is fun with a capital ‘F’.
The Golf R is a hot hatch with supercar performance, but with the practicality of a family car.
Add fuel consumption of around 30mpg to that and you’ve got a stunning package.
Yes it’s £30,000, but worth every penny and it’s guaranteed to put a smile on your face every time you leave other cars standing.
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