By the time we start driving the fastest Golf of all time, the R has been out of the month for a while. Unfortunately, there is no sign of the weather yet. That's why we wear a thick sweater and a scarf. The latter keeps our neck hairs in check when we put the Volkswagen Golf R in sport mode. Phew, the crackling and thud concert of the Akrapovic organ pipes sounds delicious!
“Would you rather have a different color than black, white or blue? That will be wrapping”
We heave a sigh of relief, because at first glance, the Golf R is more reminiscent of a discreetly operating bodyguard than a cage fighter filled to his eyeballs with steroids and brightly colored pills. You have to look through the black tailor-made suit and then you will indeed see the special R-bumper with the extra large air scoops and the blue strip with LED lighting in the grille. Behind the dark-spoked wheels, the blue brake calipers draw attention. If you still don't know what you have in front of you, Volkswagen has stuck a big R on the tailgate as a giveaway.
Whether it was the R or the exhaust note that betrayed us, we are often the focus of the attention of young Volkswagen fanboys along the way. Some immortalize the test car for posterity. If you don't like that attention, don't buy a white or blue Volkswagen Golf R, because the black air scoops and the also black diffuser are much more noticeable. Do you prefer a different color than black, white or blue? That will be wrapping, because the factory does not supply any alternatives.
Enough about appearances; time to let the blue-checked sports seats pack us up and leave. That is done even faster than said, because slipless and grippy you thunder – provided you at least choose the sport profile – to 100 km/h in 4.7 seconds! Via the sports steering wheel we gratefully shake hands with the standard-fitted four-wheel drive with intelligent torque distribution and the alert DSG transmission.
“The R-Performance package provides a drift mode and a Nürbürgring mode.”
They make it child's play to leave supercars from not so long ago behind you. And unlike those very expensive guys from the past, there seems to be no end to the grip with this supercar for beginners. During a twisty lap we pick up the pace more and more, but it leaves the R totally indifferent. Fortunately, the mobile phone storage compartment has a lid, otherwise we would have beaten the world record smartphone heads on this route.
Now, of course, there are always 'drift kickers' and other swerves who find rock solid road holding boring. The Volkswagen Golf R also has a solution for this: the R-Performance package. That provides a drift mode and a Nürbürgring mode. Simply put, the damping of the rear axle becomes softer and more driving forces go to the rear axle. In addition, this optional fun package includes 19-inch alloy (instead of 18-inch) and a higher top speed. It goes from 250 to 270 km/h. This makes the Golf R on the autobahn the nightmare of much fatter Germans with limited engine management ...
Unless you're a guest of honor at the Nürburgring and want to qualify for a gold card from the tire dealer, we'd leave the R-Performance package. Drifting is fun for once, but it takes a lot of persuasion – read: a lead right foot – and at least a damp road surface to get the Golf ass 'on' indeed. Moreover: on a non-slip surface, the asphalt eats up the tires in record time. And we can live with a top speed of 250 km/h.
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Without the optional fun package you keep 3444 euros in your pocket. We also keep the 2624 euros for leather upholstery in our back pocket. Especially in our black R, the checkered fabric with velor edges looks pretty cheerful, and the non-slip fabric also keeps you nice and firm in smooth curves. And while we're rummaging through the price list: was it actually lifelong access to the heavy metal concert of the Akrapovic exhaust band? Swallow: 2846 euros. Well, by forgoing the Performance package and nappa leather, we saved well over 6000 euros…
By forgoing a number of extras, you still have no bargain with the Golf R. The base price is already 65,490 euros, a lot of money for an average family hatchback. If, on the other hand, you view it as a practical supercar for beginners, then it is not that bad. Both straight ahead and cornering, the Golf R is bloody fast and before you know it, you'll be seriously addicted to the generous roaring acceleration and roller coaster-like cornering speeds.
Yet the old folk wisdom also applies to the R: a Wave is a Wave is a Wave. Okay, it has firm suspension, but you can crank up the adaptive dampers for a Sunday trip to grandma's or a round of errands in a crowded neighborhood. Then the R is also a practical and fairly spacious family car with space for 381 to 1237 liters of luggage. The steering is nice and direct, but is less on the nerves than a co-driver who constantly monitors the speedometer.
“We find the hard plastic in the interior too much for a car in this price range.”
Unfortunately, the R does not only have the good qualities of the home-garden-and-kitchen Golf. Certainly for a car in this price range, we think the amount of hard plastic in the interior is really too much and the operation of the climate control with (unlit!) sliders remains a drama. Incomprehensible that you can not do that with the voice control. But with the car in Sport or Race you will forget those minuses in no time. VROOAARRR!
The Volkswagen Golf GTI was once the accessible 'sports car' for the common man. Those times were over, but the Wave with that one capital pRetletter makes it even more colorful. As a result, it remains a must-have for the happy few. Although the Volkswagen Golf R offers less power than the Mercedes-AMG A 45 (420 hp) and the Audi RS 3 (400 hp), they are even more expensive, while those in our country with speed cameras hardly provide more driving pleasure.
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