Volkswagen Golf R – R is for Racing, Enuff said!
The last time we drove the two power pack offering from the house of Volkswagen were 2014 model year cars; one was Golf GTI a true hot-hatch: fun-to-drive with the added convenience of 4-doors and lets you do the daily chores, all hunky-dory totally superlative. The other one was a low-slung, almost diminutive Scirocco R: a racy, road karting machine that we had covered in the test drive section. Both had a gulf of price difference among them that equates to approximately AED 35000.
The two mentioned above should’ve been enough to pacify what sort of pleasure you are seeking for and the price you have to pay for that service order. However, VW had promised its die hard customers that it will bring Golf R as a replacement to its brilliant Golf R32 (Mk4). It was probably the first car that was fitted with DSG-dual Clutch Gearbox along with Haldex/ 4motion all-wheel drive system alongside with all the convince factors and plus more of the pleasure.
At this point, you must be thinking and frankly, I thought about it too that Golf R will be equipped with the same engine as the Scirocco R had which was 2.0 TSI having 255hp. Yet to keep the things in clear perspective Scirocco actually used the same engine that Golf GTI had -producing 220hp. However, this very Golf R with the same 2.0 TSI is tuned to blow out fire and pumps out colossal 280 HP. But here’s jaw-dropping surprise: this 2015 Golf R you can park in your driveway for a price starting from AED 149,500. Can it cut the mustard? Let’s find out.
Chiseled Styling – 8.5/ 10
The differences in appearance between Golf GTI and Golf R are quite subtle and it’s like playing a very engaging game called Spot the difference! Throw that sheet of paper to your kid and share your passion with the lil‘ one. Having said that, exterior wise our Limestone Gray Metallic tester was shod with optional and super cool 19 inch alloy “Pretoria” wheels that clearly shows off the R etched on the brake calipers. Upfront, the bumper was fitted with two large air-dam. The headlight now has distinctive twin U shaped LED daytime running lights. And of course the more prominent R badge on the either side of the fender. At the rear, the story of subtleties continues and one can easily make out with quad exhaust-tips and not so with smoked or darkened LED tail lights.
Inside, the first thing that comes to mind is the “Starkness”. Although designers have tried their best to evade the downright blunt effect by adding cool-blue ambient light strip on the door cladding. “Carbon Touch” panels on the dashboard and on the door trim. Shiny aluminium pedal set and flat bottom steering wheel with R decal. The rest of the time, even though I sat on VW Golf after a long while, my hands went automatically right to the point where I wished control buttons supposed to be. Noteworthy, here is the front seats (in Vienna leather front & rear) that can keep the occupants comfortable for the long journey and when you are in the racy mood, it keeps the driver firmly secured for the endless enthusiasm, of course there’s R embroidered in an ornamental Crystal Grey stitching on the seat back.
That Endless Enthusiasm – 9/ 10
All of a sudden I start to feel the value in Golf R. The fire-breathing turbocharged – 2.0 TSI DOHC 16 valve I4 pumping out a 280hp with 380 NM of torque. Coupled with 6-speed DSG dual-clutch gearbox, the surge of power can’t be denied as your head is thrown back at seat headrest. At this point I suggest don’t eat too much or the tightening of the seatbelt at your waist may make you throw out the food! This simply means that you can do 0-60 in 5 second flat.
Golf R comes with standard Haldex center differential, all-wheel drive system known as 4 motion in VW-speak to eliminate the traction variation as per the road condition by splitting the torque from front to rear. And to make the car a true driver’s car press that ESC- Sport button to turn off the stability control to attack the track. A feature that Golf purists were clamoring for long.
Strangely, this GGC version Golf R doesn’t come with driver-selectable DCC-Dynamic Chassis Control. And that’s better, as it avoids all sorts of confusions. I found the chassis control is well-articulated on our UAE roads. Whilst the car is lowered by 20mm The 4-link rear suspension provides a right amount of balance in body roll and damping that kept me worry less even when I took the car over the small spine jarring speed bumps in the shopping malls. Before I end the performance and handling section, I must add here that the R performance brakes on the Golf R are equally great and confident assuring.
Safety – 8.0/ 10
As with every VW car, The Golf R comes with host of safety features, our tester was fitted with Park distance control provides acoustic warning signals – front and rear along with Rear view camera “Rear Assist”. Tire-pressure monitoring system. Driver and front passenger airbag with front passenger airbag deactivation, including knee airbag on driver’s side Curtain airbag system for front and rear passengers including side airbags. Furthermore… I must accept that I was too much engaged in relishing the driving experience, knowing that there is enough to keep me off limits from at-risk situations.
Buyers Guide to the Joyride – 9/ 10
This Golf R maybe not be super loaded with features, but there’s everything that’ll make your trip pleasant. Panoramic tilt/slide sunroof, USB media jack. Bluetooth mobile phone connectivity to name a few.
When Volkswagen handed over me the keys of 2015 Golf R. I was skeptical. I thought it’s the fulfillment of the corporate covenant from VW to its diehards. But I am surprised to note that there are all of a sudden too many Golf Rs on the roads. It’s like Billboard top 10 that everyone is enjoying. With pricing starting from 149,500 and too many Golf R left the showroom floor. My cynicism is out of the open window flying somewhere in the desert and not-to-be-seen. Too many people can’t be wrong, even if they are Golf diehard fans.
It’s not the performance figures that count, it’s the engaging experience between the driver and the car that matters. That’s the crowd pulling capacity Volkswagen Golf R is enjoying. I am sure it’s not going to be off-charts for long.