Volkswagen Golf R Review

By on November 17, 2011
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The big R returns with a grunt.

Good: Fast acceleration; All-wheel drive; Full torque throughout all gears and RPM range; Sounds amazing; Adaptable suspension on the fly; DSG gearbox makes it more fun than manual
Bad: Looks very similar to the GTI; Same irritating iPhone connectivity issues as GTI
Price: AED 165,000
* The price is the Suggested Retail Price at the time of review. Please call a retailer to confirm the latest price for this product.

The Golf GTI reviewed recently turned out to be an amazing car. With decent power delivery, good looks, street-smart behavior, and respectable pricing, it’s no wonder that you can see so many of them around the streets of Dubai.

However, for those who just want “more”, the GTI leaves much to be desired. The torque is very impressive, but the 0-100kmph in 6.9 seconds maybe a bit too slow for many. Perhaps it’s not as loud as you’d want it to be? Or the front-wheel drive isn’t feeling too good?

How about 330 Nm of torque at 2,500rpm, 0-100kmph in 5.5 seconds, and a permanent all-wheel drive system? Yup, the Golf R is all that, and more.

Historically the Golf R series has always had a V6 engine, starting with the VR6 Mk3, followed up with the R32 in both the Mk4 and Mk5 generations. With the Mk6, Volkswagen have decided to stick with the same base engine as that of the GTI, but tacked on a bigger turbocharger which boosts power from 207hp in the GTI to 267hp in the R; torque also sees a bump from 280Nm to 350Nm. Sadly the GCC, along with Australia and Japan gets a slightly detuned version with 257hp and 330Nm torque to accommodate for our blistering climate.

Looking at just those two figures, the Golf R may not seem like a huge upgrade over the regular GTI, but you’d be surprised by how much more what the whole package offers. Firstly you get silver or black 5-spoke 19” Talladega rims wrapped in Dunlop SP Sport MAXX GT tires. Next the headlamps have a smoke black housing. LED fog lights follow underneath it. The rear has the same deep red LED taillights, but underneath the bumper you’ll notice a shiny black diffuser with two big tailpipes in the center; completing the “R” looks.

Inside things look similar to the GTI, with some minor touches here and there to show you this car special. The R logo at the bottom of the three-spoked wheel is accompanied by silver aluminum paneling on the doors and the dash. The seats also have the R logo embossed, instead of the GTI, and looking at the gearbox you’ll notice that there’s no “Parking Assist” button. Nor should there be one in the first place, for no driver deserves this car if they can’t parallel park a car as small as the Golf.

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From auditing to editing, I now test and analyze the latest gadgets and games instead of the latest financial statements. Both jobs are equally intense and rewarding. When I'm not burning up hardware in the name of science, you'll find me nuking in DOTA 2 or engineering in TF2.

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