I love smoked salmons but the smoked tail lamps of the new Golf R, even more. With power burstin’ at its seams, you don’t have to be smokin’ fast all the time in the fastest ever Golf R. Just borrowing it in bursts simply adds up to an exhilarating drive.


THE SPECS: 2.0 TSI 4MOTION, 280 hp, 380 Nm of torque, 6-speed DSG dual-clutch gearbox

THE DIMENSIONS: L x W x H 4265 x 1798 x 1435, Ground clearance: 12.2 cm, 1476 kg weight, 380 L boot space

THE PERFORMANCE: Max speed: 250 kmph, 0 – 100 kmph in 5.0 seconds, Test fuel economy: 9.7 km/L

UPSIDE: Powerful drive, Sticks to its line, Emotive steering

FLIPSIDE: Some might want more aggressive looks

THE PRICE: AED 156,000

The Design

Looks like the designer of the Golf R got his inspiration during his morning shave – the twin blade front grille, the slatted lower grille and even the gleaming 10-spoke 18” alloy wheels lend the Golf R a razor-sharp and aggressive design, which actually makes people stop and take note of the difference between the normal Golf and the racing line version.

That said, the Golf R makes a visual understatement of its racing abilities. I would even call it ‘meek’ compared with the GTI and the way that car expresses its sporty lineage. Despite its compelling exteriors, the biggest visual statement this Golf makes is the R logo sprinkled generously from tip to toe – even the scruff plates. Still, what’s good about this car is that it is open to imagination – you are free to stack up all the aggressive add-ons you want, and of course the price! As for me, I would prefer this understatement when taking on rivals on the track – it is like spitting fire from behind a smoke-screen!

The Drive

The fourth generation Golf R lives up to legendary German accuracy, even as it swiftly sweeps down a flyover or ramp. Leave it alone, and see it cut an accurate arc. So much so that, you should be relieved to feel the hint of understeer at speedy corners – the Golf R has always employed 4motion technology, which is VW speak for all-wheel drive.

The ‘progressive’ steering is well-weighted and is designed for optimum response in the first quarter turn. It becomes one with your drive – your inner drive to be precise. The Golf R brakes reassuringly, too. The hot hatch contains its snowballing power by braking into the effort, keeping a straight line.

The Golf R is a great companion. It stays with you when you’re right and it stays with you when you are not. The 4motion tech along with the 5th generation Haldex coupling act against any possible traction loss. The newly tweaked sport suspensions have drawn the car 20 mm closer to the ground. So, whether it is high-speed ‘moose manoeuvres’ or snaking slaloms, the Golf R is like a cat that finds its feet in a split second while gripping the road. Now switch the traction control off and the car actually lends itself to your extended sporting desires; even then, slipping around a tad less than what you would expect. The great news is that the Electronic Stability Control can now be turned off for driving on track, finally justifying the ‘R’ in full.

Cabin and Controls

The Golf interiors has a way of being ‘driver oriented’ without making it too obvious. The control panel turns to face the driver ever so slightly and the buttons are stacked neatly around the little touch screen. The car has a very good sound system with well distributed sound.

Despite the presence of the ‘R qualities’ on the alloy wheels, the smoked lamps, the badges and the stylish spoiler, or even the carbon fibre and the trims in the cabin, these are much more subdued than most sport models would make of them. The matte finish chrome lining, new to the Golf R cabin is very classy – and reminds you of the razor blade even more.

The engineering ensures that the Golf R isn’t quite the same as the MK7 original acoustically as well. Just as in the regular Golf, you are hardly disturbed by external sounds or the wind noise, but the engine and exhaust notes create a lively din in this action-packed version. Without it, how much of an R would this Golf be?

Family Drive

The Golf R is .3 inches wider, .4 inches longer and .6 inches lower than the Golf it is built with. But that changes nothing about the headroom or legroom in the cabin. The Golf R is pretty comfortable and spacious to sit in and 380L of boot space, with all seats up, is rather good for a small family. It is firmer than the regular Golf ride but not as firm as the previous generation R felt.

I love the matte finish leather. It exudes the class of generations that will show up on it two decades from now, with the R design knitted on it still, underpinning its exclusivity.

Perhaps, these are the reasons – the captivating design along with the matter-of-fact comfort and no-complaints spaciousness – that make even peace-loving wives overlook the burst of noise and adrenaline they probably could do without on a regular basis!

The essential Golf R 2015

The new Golf R is the fastest Volkswagen, but one that assumes that title in true Volkswagen fashion – unassumingly and inconspicuously.  Even the Beetle of our age has a stopwatch and turbo gauge; the Golf R has neither. But shifting to Sport mode makes those subtle blowouts a little louder, and far more frequent. That’s where the true character of this Volkswagen lies – on track. Sportier and smoother than its earlier generation, the Golf R 2015 is one car that really meets its purpose and does even more, in style.

Drive Courtesy: Audi Volkswagen Middle East
Pictures: Orkun Orcan / Sudeep Koshy

Volkswagen Golf R 2015 review: Razor-sharp was last modified: December 27th, 2016 by Sudeep Koshy

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