One of three Volkswagen R-models that have been launched recently, the Golf R has a lot of promise. It has more power and better fuel efficiency than the two that came before it. Whereas Volkswagen's previous Golf R models used a 3.2-litre V6 for motivation, the latest ultimate Golf uses an uprated version of the Mark V GTI's 2.0-litre turbocharged 4-cylinder engine.
Though down on cylinders, the latest Golf R actually trumps the last generation R32 in power, producing 252bhp and 330Nm of torque. The engine is mated to a 6-speed dual-clutch DSG gearbox and power is channelled to the road via Volkswagen's 4MOTION all-wheel drive system that is claimed to be significantly improved over the one used previously.
The Golf R is a highly confident and easily controllable machine. The steering wheel has the right amount of road feel and weight, and on top of that, it actually feels good to hold. It's one of the rare go-faster cars that can handle its extra performance, and be in no doubt, it is significantly quicker and more dynamically able than the plain-Jane GTI.
One of the many things you'll like about this car is the sound of the exhausts. Fine acoustic tuning permits enough exhaust noise to satisfy your 'inner-growl' and it motivates you to keep driving faster. It's not quite as aurally satisfying as the R32's singing V6, but as far as noise engineering success stories go, this ranks near the top.
Volkswagen's R division has uprated the Golf's standard chassis with a lowered ride-height and stiffer springs, dampers and stabilisers. The Golf R also comes with Adaptive Chassis Control (DCC) that alters the suspension behaviour between three settings; Comfort, Normal and Sport. It's a pity though that local road conditions severely limit the use of the last two modes.
If you are looking for an enthusiast's daily alternative to a compact car, Golf R should be in your list. It is a pleasure to drive with a good mix of sportiness and everyday utility. The price though, might rise your eyebrows because at a hefty RM268,888, the Golf R may start to look a little under dressed regardless of how well-endowed it is.
The important bits:
- 4 cyls
- 252bhp at 6000rpm
- 330Nm at 2400-5000rpm
- 0-100km/h 5.7sec
- Top speed 250km/h