This might look like your standard Volkswagon GTI and that’s because it is. Now this is a Volkswagen Golf R. Past the badges the differences are hard to spot. Volkswagen seems to enjoy subtlety but you might be surprised to hear that this car commands a premium of over ten thousand dollars above a base GTI. Why’s that? It’s what’s under neath. Changes on the Golf R are very subtle you have new headlights you have different bumpers front and rear. The front bumpers have bigger air inlets to let you know you’re sucking in more air because you’re going to make more power and torque. You have different wheels the Golf R comes standard with 18-inch wheels but this particular model we’re on the upgraded 19-inch wheels. Behind that we have the GTI Performance Pack brakes they’re larger in diameter and behind that this particular Golf R has adjustable dampers that the driver can control. They go from comfort to normal to sport depending on what you’re looking for the card to do. Now there’s two big changes that you should know about for the Golf R the first is of course engine output this car makes 292 horsepower and 280 pound-feet of torque through a new head, new internal components, a new turbocharger, it’s making more power higher up in the rev band. Now it does weigh bit more because of the second thing you should know and that is the fact that this is all-wheel-drive you have a haul deck center differential that can selectively send torque front to rear depending on your traction situation up front and it can also disengage completely under low throttle or low speeds for fuel economy.The car can also use its break selectively to help limit wheel spin or help the car turnaround, but it also has four exhaust tips: yeah poor exhaust tips! But the biggest thing we’re most interested in finding out is how it works with the stability control completely off. For the first time in the Golf R you can finally defeat stability control and we’ll be real eager tofind out how that works on the test track.With all-wheel drive the Golf R is much faster than the GTI shaving nearly a second and a half off its sixty mile an hour time and its quarter-mile. The Golf R hit sixty in 4.5 seconds then passed the quarter mile in 13.1 seconds at 104.9 miles an hour. The extra horsepower made the Golf R slightly faster around the figure eight posting a best lap of 24.9 seconds. We’ve had an interesting relationship with the Golf R
through the ages. We’ve been quite hard on it for not having defeatable stability control and now it finally does so let’s talk about what that gives you. When you have stability control off it doesn’t reveal any sort of magical limits past what the Golf R can do with the stability control on what that stability control would do on the track is it would intervene so early and ruin the experience. The stability control in this car not only is it defeatable it’s far less invasive as a whole. So with that done with that over we can finally enjoy the car as it was meant to be driven. And you can imagine it was meant to be driven very hard this is a Golf R and R is the letter you associate with things that are sporty or racing or fun to drive. The word I want to associate with this car over the GTI is Premium like this is the GTI +. The question of course for most people is this car worth the extra ten thousand dollars over a GTI or a little bit over ten thousand dollars over a base GTI? And I think for most people the answer is No because you’re probably not going to appreciate the differences I think this car’s only really gonna satisfy the Volkswagen diehards who really appreciate the stuff you’re getting in this machine. We are of course using the DSG a manual is an option but it won’t be available until next year. This is what we have available to us now and that’s okay because the DSG is a good transmission. I’m actually most impressed with the overall balance of the car. And I’m pretty impressed with the balance in the GTI too this is a very confidence inspiring, stable well-balanced machine it’s able to dig out of corners pretty quickly without much fuss and it delivers some pretty strong speed quickly without much fuss. It feels really controled and just nicely balanced again with not a lot of either over or understeer it sort of digs out of corners and drives very controllable balance way, Which is ultimately I think what you want from a hot hatch. Gotta admire Volkswagen for their tenacity at building this car they obviously really want to make the Golf R to be a high power, all wheel drive, stable, nice GT almost machine and it seems that they’ve done that here this is it. Probably the best Golf R yet. I mean it doesn’t have the wonderful sounds of that VR6 R32 but in terms of balance and body control and again that premium sensation this is tough to beat. So the question is whether the Golf R
is worth the money? If you’re looking at it from the perspective of a GTI I suspect the answer for many is a likely No but from the vantage of an Audi S3 or BMW M 235 I the Golf R gained some serious appeal sharing the combination of performance and refinement you’d expect of those cars at a lesser price.The Golf R has a nice balance then it’s able to satisfy a similar driving itch as the WRX STI and also offers a comfort and functionality to make it an extremely competent commuter car. I mean this basically is an S3. I’d think it’s the same engine I’m not sure if the the platforms are identical but like it’s close enough and this is just cheaper I think that’s the that’s the thing. Because this does just it’s essentially what it is just a well sorted Audi.It’s not, it’s a nice like I’d be like uh I like my 328 D and this would be like a nice analog to the 328 D. Like this is just a solid fun little.. .