In the second review in the First Anniversary month, DriveME brings you a car that betters its sibling that is already become an icon yet falling short of its promise in a peculiar way. Still, Golf R is a car that made me want to own it – and that’s my translation of a 5-star rating!
There are many powerful cars in town that can put you on a diet of enzymes – mainly adrenaline. And many of them manage the task with a meager 2.0L engine. Some of them pump it so hard that it aches; some play hard-to-get with its power; and some come too early for real pleasure. That’s where the Golf R leaves you ecstatic with measured power play. The 255 hp is spun out early and without effort. It’s measured.
The Golf R drives smooth and injects power fluently, and when pressed hard, it pauses for a moment for the turbo to take charge, but makes up amply, very shortly. The road connect and the connect with the driver creates a bond that doesn’t let you leave the car if you can help it. Urging to be driven in Sport Mode, it tones down a bit in comfort mode but that’s perhaps why the rear passengers love it as well – doubles up as a practical family car with more cargo area than you expect in any hot hatch.
On my 0-100 run, as usual in the humblest of circumstances for a more real-world result, The Golf R touched the magic figure in 7.15 seconds – I could have sworn it was much quicker. I believe it could have actually done it in the claimed 5.7 sec if it weren’t for the turbo lag at the beginning that eats up a whole second or more before the car sprouts wings. But then, such would be the only time you look at the lag with a frown – coz despite the lag, the Golf R feels extremely powerful and is a whole lot of fun to drive, on road and in a stunts arena!
The steering is just right everything – size, the chopped off sporty bottom, the stylish slices of gloss, and the level of ease or difficulty with which it responds, just where you want it to come along! It’s a lot of stunt confidence for the girl you wanna impress, or to leave your Phaeton-riding boss shrink with envy!
The front fascia and the skirted rear give the car a wide stance, while the 25 mm lower suspension and the body colour rear spoiler with LED lights are as much a part of the design character as they are indispensable for the aerodynamically stable joy ride.
Besides all the black leather, what strikes you most is the high gloss black that seemed to run through its design, as much as the R logo does. From the steering spokes and the mirror mountings to the diffuser, the high-gloss black accentuates the sporty character backed by the black and red LED tail lamps – below which the R logo proudly sits. Even the black alloy wheel caps look and feel solid! The high-grip brushed stainless steel pedals are standard in most sporty cars in the market just as in the Golf R. The cabin has the understated elegance of a Volkswagen while the A-pillars afford excellent all-round view.
Cabin and controls
The Golf R tickles your pleasure palate within the cabin as well, with an 8-speaker Dynaudio music system that delivers excellent tone especially with the trebulous cymbals. The real subwoofer is in the dual exhaust though, with an exciting blowout sound every time the cars shifts down a gear!
If it weren’t for its first-class finish and solid materials, the Golf R wouldn’t have justified its rather steep price tag. For a sporty hatch, the Golf R comes equipped with a good dose of luxurious trappings like nicely carpeted foot wells. It surrounds you in leather with Art Grey stitching wherever you place your limbs – on those very comfortable seats, the sticks-to-your-grip gearshift, the heartily companionable steering… Even the hard plastic areas impressively flaunted a black leather skin.
You won’t bother if it has cruise control, which by the way it does have. You wouldn’t want to leave the controls off your grip even for a moment. And yes, it has a sunroof as well.
Beyond the GTI
The GTI is one of the most popular hot hatches plying our roads – but the R with its 350 Nm torque and 255 hp of power makes the iconic GTI look underpowered. The Golf GTI is driven by a 2.0 L turbo pot that spits out 200 hp of power (only?) mated to its 6-speed transmission. Maintaining exclusivity at AED 24000 more than the GTI, the Golf R features the Volkswagen’s 4-motion technology which is a full time 4 wheel drive that makes straight line driving fun, stable and safe even on a bad weather day.
As for tracing dangerous curves on a Hajjar mountain stretch, the electronic stabilisation programme holds the car back from swerving dangerously, cutting back the risk factor manifold. But again, those who prefer staying on the edge, literally, might not appreciate the fact that it cannot be turned off – well, at least the traction control can. But for once it did raise its fun quotient with its tendency to swing its bum like a rear wheel drive on glossy roads. Not just because the DSC (ASR) refused to go off against my repeated attempts, but essentially this is a car better driven with its traction control on!
The Golf R 2012 not only impressed my wife and my friend who owns a Bimmer and two Hondas back in the US. It’s a car that made me want to own it – and that’s my translation of a 5-star rating!
UPSIDE: Sporty appearance, Wide range of high Torque, More powerful than the GTI, A lot of fun to drive, leather and luxury trims
FLIPSIDE: Turbo lag and wheel spin slows down 0-100 results, DSC can’t be turned off, Pricey for a hot hatch
Drive Courtesy: Volkswagen ME
Picture Courtesy: Supplied/Sudeep Koshy