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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Volkswagen Golf R Launch Review - Australia

Volkswagen Golf R Launch Review

It’s been an agonising wait since the first reports of its coming, followed by a global debut at the 2009 Frankfurt Motor Show, but the Volkswagen Golf R is finally here.

Not only is it lighter, faster and more technologically-advanced than the car it replaces, the MkV Golf R32, but it’s also more competitively priced.

With a retail cost of $48,490 for the entry-level three-door manual, it’s nearly $7000 cheaper than the now-superseded R32.

In the Golf R, the R32’s 3.2 litre naturally-aspirated V6 has made way for a 2.0 litre turbocharged inline four. This pocket-powerhaus produces 188kW of power and 330Nm of torque – the latter of which is available between 2400-5200rpm.

Although the R’s turbo four-pot shares its 1984cc displacement and 82.5 x 92.8mm bore/stroke dimensions with the Golf GTI’s engine, it’s not the same motor. In fact, the Golf R’s powerplant has more in common with the Audi S3’s engine, which shares the same architecture and has identical power and torque numbers.

Like the S3 and the R32 before it, the Golf R also has the advantage of Volkwagen's 4Motion all-wheel-drive system.

For the Golf R, the 4Motion system has been rejigged to improve the Haldex centre coupling’s torque vectoring capability, resulting in a constantly variable torque split that can – in extreme circumstances – send as much as 100 percent of torque to the rear wheels.

Straight line performance is suitably brisk for a hot hatch, with a 5.7 second 0-100km/h time for the DSG-equipped Golf R easily eclipsing the outgoing R32’s 6.2 second sprint time.

That makes it the fastest Golf ever, but not quite the fastest Volkswagen – that honour remains with the Passat R36, which can reach triple digit speeds in a claimed 5.6 seconds.

But what’s it like to drive? Although the suspension layout uses the same MacPherson Strut front and multi-link rear setup as the R32, weight has dropped by 34 kilograms – most of it coming out of the nose.

The result, you would reckon, must surely be an improvement in handling dynamics.

Volkswagen provided the venue - and where better than Tasmania, over some truly challenging roads and in some traction-testing weather, to demonstrate the abilities of its latest hot hatch?

On a drive route that extended East from Launceston, around Great Lake and back North to Launceston, the Golf R was subjected to countless tight hairpins, high-speed sweepers, suspension-compressing troughs, sharp crests and deeply corrugated dirt roads, as well as the occasional highway.

The weather alternated between bright sun, driving rain and light snowfall, bringing even more variety, and more than one corner that threatened to bite, to the day’s drive route.

Starting in the sleepy city of Launceston, the Golf R proved relatively benign in stop-start driving. The engine is quite docile when off boost, although the deep burble of the exhaust hints at the R’s potential.

We didn’t spend much time in Launceston though, and soon enough the roads widened, traffic disappeared and the Golf R’s taps could be opened.

Acceleration is fantastic. The Golf R’s rubber-band like surge, with just the briefest turbo lag, is like being launched from a slingshot.

It doesn't quite have the instant throttle response of the naturally-aspirated R32, but there’s so much more urge available in the midrange that it’s not an issue.

That said, there will be some who will be disappointed that European-market Golf Rs get a full-blooded 199kW power output while locally-delivered R’s are detuned to 188kW. You can blame Australia's hot climate for that one.

The blown four-pot sounds great, and the turbocharger is quite vocal when on song. The exhaust note is deep and bassy with a satisfying crackle on the overrun (but some VW diehards may miss the hard-edged melody of the R32’s VR6 engine).

It is the Golf R’s handling however that will win over anyone still yearning for the R32. As aurally fantastic as the R32 was, its iron-blocked V6 put a lot of weight ahead of the front axle, with understeer-prone handling the result.

The lighter powertrain of the Golf R has two effects – it reduces the overall mass of the car, and it shifts the weight distribution further rearward. Both have a positive effect on the Golf R’s ability to tackle a corner.

The result is that it is an absolute delight to throw into a tight bend.

It will default to understeer if pushed beyond its limits, but thanks to its better fore and aft balance, the onset of understeer occurs much later. A tail-out attitude can be provoked on slippery surfaces, but, when under power, the 4Motion system prefers to rein in the slide rather than prolong it.

Cornering grip is very strong, no doubt aided by the 140-treadwear Bridgestone Potenza RE050 tyres. In both the wet and dry, the Golf R has got a tenacious hold on the tarmac.

It surprised us a little that despite its performance bent, the Golf R's ride quality is more than acceptable. It is, of course, stiff, but the 18-inch wheels and (optional) Adaptive Chassis Control of the five-door manual that we sampled proved comfortable enough for much of the lengthy test loop.

Some deep corrugations and potholes encountered on a stretch of dirt road during the launch were clearly felt through the seats, but such surfaces are far from the Golf R’s natural environment.

We did not have the opportunity to experience the optional Motorsport seats during the launch, but we did find that the optional leather upholstery of our car was a bit too slippery for 'enthusiastic' driving, even though the bolstering was deep.

Aside from a smattering of alloy trim and a steering wheel borrowed from the GTI, the rest of the cabin is typical Golf fare. There’s none of the colourful stitching of the GTI, and the standard grey/black seats seem out of place in the Golf R’s cabin.

The exterior is a bit more exuberant. The front and rear bumpers, sideskirts, LED tail lamp clusters, headlamps, LED daytime running lamps, double-tipped centre-exit exhaust and 18-inch alloys are all specific to the Golf R, and make it much harder to lose in traffic.

There’s a set of 19-inch alloys on the option list (which curiously also bring all-black headlamp clusters), and they’re available in either silver or gloss black. In our opinion, the Golf R looks especially handsome in Candy White with the optional 19-inch rims painted black.

At around a $50k entry price, the Golf R is at the premium end of the all-wheel drive turbo hot hatch segment.

The cheaper Subaru WRX hatch has more power and torque; even the Mitsubishi Lancer Ralliart Sportback has more torque. On the upside though, the Golf R is a far more upmarket proposition and has the refinement and interior quality to match.

It also has one of the best sporting chassis you will ever have the pleasure to paste around a mountain road.

Given its pricing it may be tempting to compare the Golf R with the Impreza WRX STI or Lancer Evolution, but those cars are far more 'track-day' focused and not as easy to live with as the Volkswagen.

One thing’s for certain: the Golf R definitely diminishes the argument for forking over $66,500 for the mechanically-similar Audi S3.

A proper road test will tell the full story, so stay tuned for a more in-depth appraisal of Volkswagen’s hottest of hatches, the Golf R.


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Silver is a bit bland on R especially with the contrast between the smoked tail lamp and the blacked out headlamps with the silver; like the car's unfinished.

BTW OP, you had me going there for a second, damn youuuuuuu :beer:

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
More power to you

More power to you
Bill McKinnon From: The Australian June 18, 2010 5:04PM

Volkswagen Golf R, hatchback
Engine: 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder
Output: 188kW of power at 6000rpm and 330Nm from 2400-5200rpm
Transmission: Six-speed manual and DSG, all-wheel drive
Price: From $48,490
On sale: Now

AUSTRALIA does muscle car performance Motown-style, with a twist: big, loud and, let's be frank, a bit bogan, with enough V8 grunt to rumble the Richter scale.

You need look no further than the talismanic Ford Falcon GTHOs from the late 1960s-early 1970s to see a formula almost as inviolate as E=mc2 though the technology has made some progress in 40 years.

Not much, scoff unkind voices. Granted, there remains a certain medieval charm about HSV Commodores and FPV Falcons, but they are vastly more well-mannered and sophisticated than their predecessors. Given their size, specification and performance, they are still dirt cheap, too.

If you want a 300kW-plus V8 with a European badge behind it you're looking at $200,000 minimum. HSV will sell you a 317kW 6.3-litre V8 GX-P Commodore for $61,990 drive away.

This democratisation of horsepower in Australia and the US never caught on in Europe, where more bang, and more metal, invariably requires significantly more bucks, and only the wealthy can afford to drive large, V8-powered sedans.

The everyman (and woman's) affordable performance car in Europe is the hot hatchback, which Volkswagen created in 1976 with the Golf GTi.

Like the GTHO did for the Australian muscle car, the GTi established an enduring template for its class.

This encompasses a power increase, moderated in the context of a front-wheel drive chassis, plus a commensurate improvement to dynamics, so the car handles, steers and stops with sufficient competence to allow you to exploit and enjoy all of the extra performance under the bonnet.

The Golf GTi approach works in Australia, too. Outside the local V8 tent, the GTi has been Australia's affordable performance car of choice, though Subaru's WRX, which represents another intriguing species, has also had its moments of glory.

Other wonderful hot hatches from Europe, like the RenaultSport Megane and the Ford Focus XR5, are almost ignored here, but if you want a five-door GTi, priced from $40,490 plus on-roads, and you're specific about colour and options, you're still looking at a three-to-five month wait while the factory builds it.

The three-door GTi is in less demand. VW Australia has recently been advertising it at $38,990 drive-away. Two new variations on the GTi theme are now available.

The Golf GTD introduces diesel to the range, with the most powerful iteration of VW's 2.0-litre direct-injection turbo diesel now available in the five-door only, priced at $39,290 for the six-speed manual and $41,790 for the six-speed automated manual DSG gearbox.

Apart from a few cosmetic cues, the GTD is almost identical in specification to its petrol-powered sibling. This includes close-fitting sports seats in which you can comfortably knock over a 1000km day, 17-inch alloy wheels, seven airbags, and a pukka sports steering wheel, wrapped in leather.

At the top of the go-faster Golf club, the new R replaces the R32. Both use all-wheel drive, which can put their extra power to the road with greater efficiency and civility than a front-wheel drive layout, but the R32's 184 kW, 3.2-litre V6 has been replaced by a 188kW version of the Golf GTi's 155kW 2.0-litre direct-injection turbocharged (TFSi) four-cylinder petrol engine, also used in Audi's S3. The same engine produces 200kW in European versions, and the Audi TTS. VW detunes it slightly for Australia's hotter climate.

The R is available as a three-door, priced at $48,490 for the manual and $50,990 for the DSG. Five-door variants add $1500.

In the GTD, VW is stretching credibility applying the "GT" moniker to an engine with 125kW of power, let alone a diesel.

The marketers can spin it all they like, but "sporty diesel" is still an oxymoron, except when applied to BMW's cracker 150kW 2.0-litre twin-turbo four in the 123d coupe and hatch, and its 180kW 3.0 litre twin-turbo straight six in the 3 Series sedan and coupe, both of which are also rear-wheel drive.

BMW's 123d coupe covers the 0-100km/h sprint in 7 seconds. That's just one tenth slower than the petrol-powered Golf GTi. The Golf GDT, with manual and DSG transmissions, takes 8.1 seconds.

That's hardly hanging around, though, and with 350Nm of torque available from just 1750rpm, the GTD is never struggling. It's particularly impressive on faster, open roads, while averaging a frugal 5.5-5.8 litres per 100km in Australian tests.

The GTD handles like a hot hatch should. Just like the GTi. The Golf's exceptionally rigid body is the foundation upon which a forgiving, communicative dynamic package is built. The GTD has immense front end grip, and its precise, tactile steering tells you what the front wheels are doing. Extreme understeer is arrested by an electronic limited slip front differential, which brakes the inside front wheel if it starts to lose traction in tighter corners.

Optional adjustable dampers cost $1500; they allow you to tailor the ride-handling compromise from Sport to Comfort.

In tighter terrain, you do long for the top-end kick, responsiveness and excitement factor of the petrol-powered GTi, which begs to be driven with enthusiasm. It averages 7.6-7.7 litres per 100km , so it's hardly a gas guzzler either.

In the end, the petrol or diesel Golf GT argument isn't really about numbers. Compared with the always-entertaining GTi, the GDT is an informative, but rather dull, day out.

I can guarantee you won't get bored in the R. Although it's $9500 more expensive than the GTi, it's still a bargain, because this is a beautifully sorted performance car. The 188kW TFSi engine is sleepy off boost, below 2500rpm, but from here to the 7000rpm redline it flies, making deliciously fat, mean, fruity four-cylinder noises en route.

It averages 8.7 litres per 100km, a 20 per cent improvement over the R32's consumption.

If you're looking for genuine sports performance, with fuel efficiency and low emissions, this version of the 2.0TFSi is the best four-cylinder petrol engine on the market. The DSG transmission, though, can be an indecisive, cantankerous device in traffic, and in a GTi I tested late last year its shifts were abnormally harsh and erratic, a problem VW Australia later described as a "software issue."

However DSG is undoubtedly effective as a performance transmission. The DSG-fettled R hits 100km/h in 5.7 seconds. The manual is 0.2 seconds slower, because, although its gearing is much shorter (it's pulling an overly busy 2400rpm at 100km/h in sixth), it's a sad fact that computers can now change gears faster than humans.

The R will give an FPV or an HSV V8 hurry-up in a straight line.

When you get to the twisty bits, they won't see which way it went. All-wheel drive, lowered (by 25mm) suspension, larger brakes, quality tyres on 18-inch alloys and a kerb weight that despite an extra 116kg of all-wheel drive hardware, still sneaks in at under 1.5 tonnes, sees the R dispatch corners with the precision, confidence and grace of an A grade sports piece.

It feels heavier than the GTi, though, and it requires more effort to point into tight bends.

The R also has specific decor, including a gaping lower air intake, gangsta-style dark window tinting, a pair of chrome pipes in a black rear diffuser, and a wicked-looking 19-inch black alloy wheel option.

The R builds upon the strengths of an already brilliant package in the GTi. It also places the Golf at the pointy end of performance machinery, at a bargain price. Call it the thinking driver's muscle car.


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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Volkswagen Golf R Review | Car Advice

Volkswagen Golf R Review

By Anthony Crawford | June 24th, 2010

We’re high up in Tasmania’s alpine region and pushing hard in what is Volkswagen’s latest edition to their hot hatch arsenal.

It’s quick this Golf R, very quick, and it doesn’t seem to mind what you throw at it, twisty roads, hairpin bends or fast straights, Wolfsburg have given us an absolute cracker.

There’s nothing quite like the launch of a proper hot hatch to get the adrenalin pumping, especially when its Volkswagen’s answer to Audi’s brilliant S3 hatchback, but at considerably less money.

The press invite didn’t say a lot, but then again, it didn’t need to. “Only for the genuine enthusiast” was the call to action, and this was one drive program I was quick to put my hand up for, even if it meant climbing over my colleagues for the right to attend. This is the car we’ve all been waiting for.

Faster, lighter, and more powerful than the highly accomplished Golf R32, which it replaces, the Golf R is the new flagship model in the range and after 300 kilometres behind the wheel, I’ve got nothing but praise for what is an outstanding performance drive.

Gone is the aurally delicious 3.2-litre naturally aspirated V6 and in its place is the same 2-litre turbocharged four-cylinder, which you’ll find under the bonnet of Audi’s S3 super hatch.

The two centrally mounted exhaust tips carried over from the R32 are a good size diameter and the car’s 25mm lower ride height fits the hot hatch bill to a tee. True to form though, the only badge on the car is a small chrome ‘R’ insignia on grille and tailgate and frankly, that’s all that’s required here.

The gloss black louvers on the deep front splitter and side mirror panels are a nice touch, so too are the stock standard five-spoke alloys although, the optional Talladega 19-inch black painted wheels I noticed on a silver R20 are a ‘must have’ in that combination

For $48,490 you get the three-door Golf R with a six-speed manual box, which is precisely the car we’ve ended up with for this test drive route. It’s the entry-level variant but with two very special options, Motorsport Front Seats and Adaptive Chassis Control.

There’s no proximity key or push button start for the Golf R, just the old school key fob and steering wheel mounted barrel, which is strangely refreshing. I guess one can assume that any saving in that department has been duly transferred to the performance area.

There’s a tonne of ‘go’ when you punch the accelerator and it’s relentless as you bury your right foot, thanks to the extra wide torque curve, which delivers all 330 Newton-metres from 2400 rpm right through to 5200 rpm.

Power delivery as well as turbo boost is smooth and effortless, with all six gear ratios pulling hard across the entire rev range. Turbo lag is not discernable, at least with this six-speed manual edition.

While it’s quite a relaxed if not docile car to drive in the city, the Golf R is a car that begs to be driven with a reasonable degree of enthusiasm and it rewards the driver in spades.

That said I doubt you’ll miss the extra weight of the V6 motor up front, the benefits of which, you can immediately feel once you start carving up these really tight bends in Tasmania’s extra twisty alpine region.

The Golf R can carry tremendous speed through corners and grip levels on relatively dry tarmac, are vice like.

Front wheel spin under hard acceleration from standstill has been all but dialed out, and in extreme cases, 100 percent of torque will revert to the rear axle, meaning some very quick off the line starts are possible.

While I did experience a slight tendency for the front wheels to ‘push out’ when under heavy load through a fast corner, that’s probably more down to me, not selecting the ‘Sport’ mode with the Adaptive Chassis Control system, rather than the 4Motion all-wheel drive set up, which has been further developed for this car.

You can’t fault the steering set up on the ‘R’ car either. Turn in is sharp and responsive, and it goes precisely where you point it.

Put that down to the electro-mechanical power steering unit, which has been re-tuned specifically for this car, irrespective of whether you choose optional Adaptive Chassis Control or not.

Good thing too because one minute the weather was cold and sunny, and in the next, we were driving through a light/medium snowfall with a ‘black ice’ warning.

Despite the slippery conditions for over 40 kilometres across a mixture of both dirt and tarmac, there was little or no loss of traction on either surface.

With the upgraded power of the Golf R, special attention has been paid to the brakes, which are all internally ventilated and unusually large for this class of car.

Less praiseworthy are the ridiculously expensive ‘Motorsport’ style front seats in ‘San Remo’ microfibre.

These beautifully crafted pews will set you back a cool $5,300 and while they certainly look the part with a piano black style racing shell design at the rear and offer superb comfort, there is simply not enough seat or side bolster to properly hold the driver secure enough while powering through the twisty roads, at least in this part of the world.

The front discs are 345mm while 310mm suffice at the rear. Although the ambient temperature during part of the drive was zero or one degree, there was absolutely no brake fade after repeated use in countless hairpins. They are also more than capable of hauling in prodigious speed in double quick time

For all the performance the Golf R offers, the inside story is one of luxury and comfort with a host of standard features and the usual quality materials and switchgear we’ve come to expect from Volkswagen.

While we didn’t get to sample the Golf R with DSG or employ the car as the family chariot, CarAdvice will bring you a complete road test of Golf’s halo car in the coming weeks.

Driven: Volkswagen Golf R 3 Door 6 Speed Manual – $48,490

Also available:

Golf R 3 Door 6 Speed DSG – $50,990
Golf R 5 Door 6 Speed manual – $49,990
Golf R 5 Door 6 Speed DSG – $52,490


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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Forget the six - it’s the Golf R

Forget the six - it’s the Golf R


VOLKSWAGEN’S Golf GTi is a good place to start when you want to build a high-performance hatchback.

Gives you a fair old leg-up.

That’s not to say the new Golf R is a GTi with all-wheel drive, though there’s a fair bit of cross-pollination.

The thing is, the R gets its engine and drive train from Audi’s S3 hatchback - at about a $18,000 saving. The base three-door R manual sells for $48,490 and is a superb driver’s car even though it has manual adjust seats and the three-mode active chassis control system costs $1500 extra.

The R replaces VW’s Golf R32 V6 and is better in every respect apart from the “sound spectrum” emanating from the rear of the new car. The R32 V6 wins this contest hands down. In every other respect including outright power and torque, fuel economy, handling, braking, ride and even looks, the new R comes out on top.

Oh, did we mention it’s thousands less than the R32 as well.

No wonder VW chose to go this way with its hotrod Golf.

We took the new R for a serious punt through the central Tassie highlands last week in the ice and snow and sleet and driving wind. Made little difference to the R apart from the icy bits.

Here is a car that ticks most of the boxes and is just as quick as the direct competition from Japan, quicker than direct Euro competitor Renault’s Megane RS (front-wheel drive only). A 0-100km/h sprint goes by in 5.7 seconds.

In the trying Tassie conditions Golf R’s European heritage shone as it offered impressive grip and drive and superb throttle response from the 2.0-litre, 188kW/330Nm petrol engine. Capable of returning 8.7-litres/100km (on 95 octane), the direct-injection turbo engine features a fairly high boost pressure of 1.2 bar the effects of which can be felt as soon as you push the accelerator. When optioned with a $2500 six-speed twin clutch (DSG) transmission, the R absolutely flies. Even in D mode, gear changes are faster than any manual or auto and the paddle shift just accentuates the whole experience.

Lucky engineers put a set of large brakes on the R - slightly smaller in diameter than the huge discs on beefy and fast VW Touareg R50 4x4.

They also stiffened the dampers, springs and stabilisers, lowered ride height by 25mm compared to standard Golf and sharpened other dynamic responses.

Power goes to the wheels via a new version of VW’s 4motion system enhanced this time around with an electronic Haldex multi-plate clutch that will apportion up to 100 per cent of drive to the rear axle if required. It’s not slip driven like other variable drive systems and therefore offers better grip and drive under full power on questionable surfaces.

Golf R is a good looker with a distinctive styling treatment accentuated by the large frontal air intakes, rear wind diffuser and dual wide spaced but centre mounted exhaust tips.

The standard 18-inch alloys look impressive and can be optioned to 19-inch. The R scores LED daytime running lights and a rear roof spoiler. Inside is a variation on the regular Golf with more kit, black roof liner, sexy gear changer and sports seats. Standard equipment includes climate control air, metallic pedals and fascia, bixenon headlights, rear window tint, flat bottom multi-function wheel and premium audio.

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