VW Golf R 2.0-litre TSI 4Motion07 | 11 | 2010Scotcars rating

    VW pumps the Golf up with steriods and produces a family car of blistering performance


    My driving licence is very important to me. I’ve had it a long time and I’ve become very attached to it. So damn you, Volkswagen, for producing a car that could so easily take it away from me. Fortunately, because I’m a sensible kind of guy, my licence is still with me, but oh my, I could very quickly – and that’s the right word – have lost it behind the wheel of this flying machine. Hot hatch just doesn’t do this car justice. This car isn’t hot, it’s blisteringly volcanic and simply scorches its way over the miles.

    The R is the most powerful and fastest-accelerating Golf ever produced, developed by Volkswagen R, formerly known as Individual, the special projects wing of VW. It follows on from the former R32 – designed and built for enthusiasts — but now comes with a new 2.0-litre TSI four cylinder engine rather than the 3.2 litre V6 in the old car, and a new four-wheel-drive system. Not just that – the springs, dampers, anti-roll cars, braking system, traction control, exhaust and body styling are all unique to the R.

    The engine is 35kgs lighter, more powerful and more efficient but makes the car faster and sharper with a breathtaking performance of 0-62 mph in under six seconds. This is a car for the real enthusiast who wants the ultimate in performance from what outwardly is just a straightforward hatchback. It is a specialist machine and VW expect to sell only 350 a year.  

    On the road

    Behind the wheel and before you even start up, there are clues about what you’re about to experience. It has a more purposeful look than a standard Golf with aluminium kick plates on the door sills and deep bucket seats with distinctive ‘R’ logos on the headrests. The flat bottomed wheel has black gloss spokes to mimic the front grilles and the dials have sinister blue needles which look as though they’ll spend most of their time at the top end of their range.

    Start it up and there’s a great burble from the central twin exhausts; set it in motion and you can sense immediately the thrills which are in store. The car sits 25mm lower than a conventional Golf on stiffer springs and dampers with a wider track at the rear to accommodate the four-wheel-drive system. That has been developed with a pre-charged hydraulic system that reacts more quickly to reduce wheelspin and in some cases will send 100% of the torque to the rear wheels if needed.

    The Adaptive Chassis Control alters the suspension damping settings according to the road conditions or whether the driver selects ‘N’ for general use; ‘S’ for sport, where the steering assistance is reduced, the damping is hardened and the throttle responses are sharpened; or ‘C’ if they want an easy ride with a smoother and softer trip down the motorway.     

    Comfort & Safety

    The test car looked sensational in metallic Rising Blue with 19inch Talladega black alloys over ‘R’ branded brake callipers. At the front there’s a new bumper with three large airdams with black horizontal fins which feed the intercooler and radiator. Above them are a pair of LED running lights and large xenon headlight,s while there’s a new back end bumper to fit around the large central twin exhausts. The car has all the safety features you’d expect in such a high performance machine but it’s also remarkably comfortable.

    Wind and road noise is minimal, the result of a huge amount of work on door and window seals, engine mountings, body panels and even the windows where the front side ones were increased in thickness by 10%. The door mirrors and rain channels in the A pillars were also modified to cut wind noise. The result is a car which is comfortable yet firm and secure, fast and safe, and remarkably quiet while still allowing you to hear the superb exhaust note.    

    Should I buy one?

    If you love your driving, this is a cracker …but watch out for your licence.

    Alan Douglas

    Quick Stats
    Price OTR/As Tested £30,345 / £30,345
    Engine / Power: 1984cc / 270PS
    How fast?: 0-62mph 5.7 secs,  Max 155mph
    How big/heavy?: H1493mm W1786mm L4212mm / 1521kg
    How thirsty/CO2?: Combined 33.6 mpg / CO2 199g/km
    InsGP/Road tax: 36E / Band J £235
    Alternatives: Audi A3 Quattro; Subaru Impreza STi

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