2018 Volkswagen Golf R is One of R Favorites

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TrackWorthy-2018-Volkswagen-Golf-R-523

TrackWorthy - 2018 Volkswagen Golf R (52)
The Volkswagen Golf was introduced to the motoring public in 1974. Volkswagen created the iconic Golf GTI in 1976 and the hot hatch segment would never be the same. In 2002, Volkswagen decided to stuff a narrow-angle V6 into an engine bay and add 4MOTION all-wheel drive to create the ultimate performance Golf, the R32 (Volkswagen rebranded it the Golf R for the 2010 model year). The R32 was introduced in Europe in 2002 as a 2003 model and came to North America in 2004. It was the first production car to offer a dual clutch transmission. Fast-forward to today, and the 2018 Golf R was awarded the Best Performance – Sports Car in Canada by the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC). After spending time with the Golf R, we can understand why it won.

Performance

The 2018 Golf R is one of our favorite performance daily drivers available on the market today, and it is quite a step up from the Golf GTI. Both cars are equipped with 2.0 litre inline 4-cylinder engines, but the R has 292 hp and 280 lb-ft of torque verses the Golf GTI’s 220 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque. To achieve this, Volkswagen has increased the size of the turbocharger and bolstered the cylinder heads, exhaust valves, and pistons.

2018 Volkswagen Golf R (114)

‘The Golf R was born on the track,’ according to Volkswagen, and we believe it. The 4MOTION all-wheel drive detects a wheel slipping and directs more torque to the wheels that have traction to improve handling. The Cross Differential System (XDS) directs power to outside wheels when cornering, which contributes to the car’s performance handling characteristics.

When you mate the additional power and traction to the optional 7-speed automatic DSG transmission with Tiptronic (in contrast to GTI’s optional 6-speed DSG automatic transmission with Tiptronic), you bring the 0-100 km/h times down from just over 6 seconds in the GTI to under 5 seconds in the Golf R. Both cars are available with 6-speed manual transmissions, which deliver slower acceleration. Assisting with the traction on those sprints to 100 km/h are P225/40HR 18s on the GTI and P235/35YR 19s on the Golf R. The in-car experience during those acceleration runs is so much more visceral (and fun) in the Golf R.

2018 Volkswagen Golf R (94)

2018 Volkswagen Golf R (27)

Dynamic Chassis Control

Driving mode options range from Eco, Comfort and Normal to Race and Custom. This car completely transforms when you select Race mode. It becomes the kind of aggressive and edgy car that we hoped it would be. The throttle becomes much more responsive, the steering and adaptive dampers firm up, the DSG shift points climb up the rev range, and the car feels like it’s ready to race. We would love to try the Golf R on a racetrack. We think its all-wheel drive would perform very well as it can send up to 50% of the power to the rear wheels.
2018 Volkswagen Golf R (27)

Curb Weight and Fuel Economy

The all-wheel drive Golf R weighs in at 3,326 pounds (1,525 kg) versus the front-wheel drive GTI’s 3,128 pounds (1,419 kg). But, the Golf R’s higher horsepower more than offsets the increased weight. Each of the Golf GTI’s 220 horsepower is lugging around 14.2 pounds, whereas each of the Golf R’s 292 horsepower has just 11.3 pounds to motivate. The increased power and weight does have an impact on fuel economy. The GTI achieves 9.6 L/100 km versus the R’s 11.1 L/100 km in the city. Out on the open roads, the difference is a little less significant at 7.3 L/100 km for the GTI and 8.1 L/100 km for the R. The R is equipped with a larger 55 litre fuel tank versus the GTI’s 50 litre tank.
2018 Volkswagen Golf R (90)

35 Exterior Colours

The 2018 Golf R is available in four no-cost colours: Indium Grey Metallic, Lapiz Blue Metallic, Deep Black Pearl and Tornado Red. Oryx White Pearl is available for $450. But available to Canadian buyers, and not available to buyers in the United States, are thirty different ‘Colour Spectrum’ colours that are incredibly vibrant, and a bit pricey at $2,995 (plus tax). The colour spectrums cover blue, brown, green, orange, purple, red and Yellow. Our car spackled in Viper Green Metallic, drew lots of attention, and we only heard positive feedback (those who did not approve did not voice their opinions). Golf Rs are a relatively rare breed, and now, with 35 different colours to choose from, you can create a Golf R that can stand out from the crowd even more. It will be interesting to see how many Magma Orange, Curry Yellow or Sarantos Turquoise Golf Rs make it to our shores.
TrackWorthy - 2018 Volkswagen Golf GTI (85)

Interior Refinement

The Digital Cockpit is one of the biggest steps up from the GTI’s more traditional dash. It offers a variety of modes, which can display fuel economy, fuel range, arrival time, active driver assistance systems, etc. It looks impressive and is very functional and user-friendly. The leather-wrapped multifunction steering wheel is a pleasure to use. When equipped with DSG, it includes steering wheel mounted paddle shifters. Also accessible on the steering wheel are music, phone, and trip information controls, as well as the voice commend button. The optional App-Connect incudes Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and MirrorLink. The optional Fender Premium Audio System has 400-watts, 8 speakers and produces a very high-end audio experience. The standard rearview camera is one of the best on the market today. The race-inspired leather sport seats with ‘R’ badging fit our six-foot frames like a glove. On the downside, the R is not available with a sunroof.

2018 Volkswagen Golf R (107)

2018 Volkswagen Golf R (106)

Driver Assists

The Golf R has so much to offer. It is an extremely practical and versatile 5-door hatchback, yet with the push of a button (selecting Race mode) it becomes an incredibly engaging and rewarding TrackWorthy performance car. The base 2018 Golf R starts at just over $42,000 (when equipped with a manual transmission), and a fully loaded 2018 Golf GTI Autobahn edition with DSG costs more than $39,000. Both are great cars, but we think the extra few thousand dollars to upgrade to an R is worth every penny. If you are considering one or the other, you should test drive both. This Golf R really delivers.
2018 Volkswagen Golf R (111)

Our Take

The Golf R has so much to offer. It is an extremely practical and versatile 5-door hatchback, yet with the push of a button (selecting Race mode) it becomes an incredibly engaging and rewarding TrackWorthy performance car. The base 2018 Golf R starts at just over $42,000 (when equipped with a manual transmission), and a fully loaded 2018 Golf GTI Autobahn edition with DSG costs more than $39,000. Both are great cars, but we think the extra few thousand dollars to upgrade to an R is worth every penny. If you are considering one or the other, you should test drive both. This Golf R really delivers.
2018 Volkswagen Golf R (89)

Our Test Car

Model:               2018 Volkswagen Golf R 5-Door

Exterior:             Viper Green Metallic

Interior:              Titan Black – Vienna Leather

Engine:               2.0 TSI 292 HP

Transmission:   7-Speed DSG 4MOTION


Exterior:    

  • Automatic headlights with coming and leaving home function
  • Body coloured rear spoiler
  • Front cornering lights
  • Heated washer nozzles
  • LED daytime running lights (DRLs)
  • LED headlights with Adaptive Front-light System (AFS)
  • LED tail lights
  • Power adjustable and heated exterior mirrors with turn signals
  • Rain sensing wipers

Technical / Safety:

  • Alarm system
  • Black brake calipers with R logo
  • Cross Differential System (XDS)
  • Cruise control
  • Driver and front passenger front & side airbags and front & rear Side Curtain Protection®
  • Driving Profile Selection
  • Dynamic Chassis Control
  • Electronic Stability Control (ESC) with Sport Mode
  • Hill hold control
  • KESSY – keyless access with push-start button
  • Progressive steering
  • Rearview camera
  • Remote central locking system
  • Sport HMI display
  • Sport suspension
  • Start/stop technology (only DSG)
  • Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS)

Alloy Wheel Package:

  • 19″ Spielberg alloy wheel with summer performance tires with 235/35 R19 tires

Interior:

  • 60/40 split-folding rear seats with centre armrest and pass-through
  • 12-way power driver seat with power adjustable lumbar support Ambient interior lighting
  • Auto-dimming interior rearview mirror
  • Carbon touch decorative inserts in dash and door panels Climatronic® dual-zone electronic climate control
  • Front and rear floor mats Front centre armrest Heated front seats
  • Illuminated door sill plates with “R” logo Interior footwell lights
  • Leather multifunction steering wheel with paddle shifters (DSG), handbrake and gear shift knob
  • Leather seating surfaces
  • LED reading lights, 2 front, 2 rear
  • Pedals in brushed stainless steel in aluminum look
  • Piano black decorative insert in the centre console
  • Top sport seats
  • Variable cargo load floor

Driver Assistance Package:

  • Adaptive Cruise Control
  • Blind Spot Detection with Rear Traffic Alert
  • Front Assist – Autonomous Emergency Braking with pedestrian monitoring
  • Lane Assist
  • Light Assist (High beam control)

Infotainment:

  • App-Connect smartphone integration (Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, MirrorLink)
  • Auxiliary input
  • Bluetooth® mobile phone connectivity
  • Discover Media – 8.0″ touchscreen radio with proximity sensor, CD player, voice control, satellite
  • navigation and 2 SD card slots
  • Diversity antenna
  • Fender® Premium Audio System – 8 speakers plus subwoofer SiriusXM® satellite radio
  • USB audio input
  • Volkswagen Digital Cockpit (instrument cluster)

Base MSRP:  $43,465.00

Options:

Alloy Wheel Package:  $250.00

Driver Assistance Package:  $1,550.00

Custom Ordered Special Exterior Colour: $2,995.00

Options Total:    $4,795.00

Price as Tested:  $48,260.00


TrackWorthy - 2018 Volkswagen Golf GTI (60)

History of the R32 and R

  • MkIV Volkswagen Golf R32:      2002-2005
  • MkV Volkswagen Golf R32:        2005-2009
  • MkVI Volkswagen Golf R:           2010-2013
  • MkVII Volkswagen Golf R:          2014-Present

  • 2018 Volkswagen Golf R (52)
  • Lindsay Rice (1)

PHOTOGRAPHS BY MICHAEL TAYLOR © COPYRIGHT 2018 TRACKWORTHY GROUP LTD.

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