The European market got graced with the Volkswagen Golf R at the 2009 Frankfurt Motor Show, but we had to wait two more years before seeing it on our side of the pond. Alas, the time has come and the Golf R’s debut even came with more power, more performance, less gasoline consumption, and a reasonable $33,990 price tag.
The new Golf R uses a 2.0-liter turbocharged inline four-cylinder engine that delivers a total of 256 HP, 6 HP more than the previous R32 sold on the US market back in 2008. With this adjustment, Volkswagen states that the Golf R is "the most powerful VW sports performance vehicle ever sold in the U.S."
The Golf R is also more economical, delivering a fuel economy of 19 mpg in the city and 27 mpg on the highway compared with an EPA estimated mileage of 18 mpg in the city and 23 mpg on the highway for the previous R32.
Hit the jump to read more about the Volkswagen Golf R.
In order to provide the Golf R with a sportier and more powerful look, Volkswagen has used a new bumper that incorporates LED daytime running lights and three large black air intakes, a radiator grille finished in gloss black, Unique Bi-Xenon headlamps framed in black, a pair of subtly flared side skirts, gloss black exterior mirrors, and new 18-inch ,aluminum-alloy wheels combined with gloss-black-painted brake calipers and wrapped around 225/40 all-season performance tires. The rear has also received a new bumper that was used to accommodate the central twin pipes for the exhaust system. There is also a slightly larger tail spoiler than that of the GTI and a subtle “R” badge.
For the US market, the new Golf R is available in five colors: Rising Blue, Candy White, Carbon Steel Gray, Black, and Tornado Red.
The interior of the US spec Golf R has also been updated to reach the performance level of the most powerful Golf in the USA. The Golf R has received aluminum "R" kickplates on the sills, bucket seats upholstered in supple leather with an "R" logo on the head restraint, and a leather squared-off steering wheel with gloss black finished spokes that carry through from the exterior design.
Since this is an R model, the Golf has also received blue pointers for the instruments, a shifter knob with an "R" motif, aluminum trim for the dashboard and doors, and aluminum pedals.
In base form, the Volkswagen Golf R comes fully equipped with a fully automatic dual-zone climate control, a multifunction steering wheel, Premium VIII audio with eight speakers, aux-in, and a Media Device Interface with iPod connectivity and Bluetooth. If customers opt for the Golf R with Sunroof and Navigation, then they get the RNS 315 touchscreen navigation system, a 300-watt Dynaudio sound system, a sunroof, and Keyless Entry with push-button start.
Even though the Golf R lends itself to performance, it still delivers in practicality and versatility with a high-lifting tailgate offering 15.3 cubic feet of space. The back split 60/40 rear seat also folds down for real flexibility when hauling groceries or your golf bag.
The Volkswagen Golf R throws out the EA888 engine used in the current GTI and instead uses an updated version of the EA113 2.0-liter turbocharged inline four-cylinder engine delivering a total of 256 HP and 243 lb-ft of torque. This engine operates with direct fuel injection and double overhead camshafts with variable intake timing, and is mated to a slick shifting, close-ratio six-speed manual transmission that features a magnesium selector housing and cable operation with very short lever movements. This combination sends power to all four wheels using the latest-generation 4Motion all-wheel drive with a Haldex clutch pack that changes up the torque sent to the rear wheels depending on the road conditions at the front wheels. The clutch pack allows the Golf R to act as a front wheel drive model, benefiting fuel economy, but can also send 100% of the power to the back when needed.
Speaking of fuel economy, it has been improved to 19 mpg in the city and 27 mpg on the highway compared with the EPA estimated mileage of 18 mpg in the city and 23 mpg on the highway for the previous R32.
Suspension, Steering, and Braking
The Volkswagen Golf R uses a damper-strut layout with lower control arms and a stiff, tubular anti-roll bar for assisting during hard cornering, reducing body roll, and heightening steering feedback. The rear of the vehicle is handled with a compact multilink independent layout featuring coil springs, telescopic dampers, and an anti-roll bar.
Control of the Volkswagen Golf R comes from a third-generation electro-mechanical power steering system that adjusts depending on the speed and driving situation. The system includes self-centering action which helps compensate for driving hazards like crosswinds and steep road cambers. The steering ratio in the Golf R is also quicker than the GTI’s.
Stopping Power comes from vented 13.6-inch-diameter front and 12.2-inch rear discs, an improvement of the GTI’s 12.3-inch-diameter vented front and 10.7-inch solid rear discs. Anti-lock brakes (ABS) come standard, as do the electronic brake pressure distribution (EBS) and hydraulic brake assist (HBA).
The 2012 Volkswagen Golf R is safety on wheels with Electronic Stability Control (ESC), Anti-Slip Regulation (ASR), an Electronic Differential Lock (EDL), an Intelligent Crash Response System, and a plethora of airbags (driver and passenger front and front side thorax airbags, and Side Curtain Protection head airbags for front and rear passengers). The Intelligent Crash Response System shuts off the fuel pump, unlocks the doors, and even switches on the hazard lights if the car is involved in certain types of collisions. A hill holder function automatically applies the parking brake when the vehicle comes to rest and the brake is depressed in traffic, preventing the car from rolling backwards or forwards. The brake is released once the driver presses the accelerator pedal. This is especially useful in slow traffic on long inclines.
In case something does happen, the Golf R is covered under the no-charge Carefree Maintenance Program. All scheduled maintenance is covered for the length of the New Vehicle Limited Warranty-three years or 36,000 miles, whichever occurs first.
The Volkswagen Golf R US Spec will start off at $33,990 for the standard model and $35,490 for the Golf R with Sunroof and Navigation.
On the US market, the new Golf R will have to face models with longstanding presence, such as like the Subaru Impreza WRX STI and the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution . For the 2012 model year, the WRX STI has been given a sportier look and a new turbocharged version of the 2.5 liter boxer engine with more than 305 HP. The Lancer Evolution gets a 2.0-liter DOHC 16-valve inline-4 engine that delivers 291 HP with a full 300 lb.-ft. of torque.
- Most powerful Golf in USA
- Looks great
- Sportier interior
- Competition is more powerful