The £30,000 asking price for this Volkswagen Golf R “may seem crazy”, says AutoExpress. However, this latest model isn’t just the fastest production hatchback VW has ever built. It is also pretty good value when you begin looking at the details. It is nearly £4,000 more than the Golf GTI. But what you get for that is a “whole lot more performance and engineering”.
The engine is a reworked version of the 2.0-litre turbo in the GTI, with power increased by 79bhp to 296bhp. Maximum torque is up too, says AutoExpress, by 30Nm to 380Nm – although it comes in 300rpm later, at 1,800rpm.
However, it hangs around for 1,100rpm longer than in the GTI, which tails off at 5,500rpm. Anyone seriously considering an R will know what all that means and be interested in the numbers. But in short it means supercar levels of performance in what remains essentially a spacious and practical family hatchback.
That means you get to 60mph from rest in under five seconds, and can go on to a top speed of an electronically limited 155mph, says Greg Kable in Autocar. It also has a “new-found agility and responsiveness”, making it “terrific fun to drive and, thanks to its outstanding traction and fast-acting differentials, supremely secure”.
Overall, the car is “smooth, rapid, responsive, practical, relatively economical and big on quality”. All wrapped up in a normal-looking Golf. “If you don’t want the rest of the world to know just how fast or capable your car really is, this is only going to add to its appeal.”
Engine: 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo
Transmission: Six-speed manual, four-wheel drive
0-62mph: 5.3 seconds
Top speed: 155mph (limited)