Much anticipation has surrounded the release of the eighth-generation Volkswagen Golf, which was launched back in 2019. For me though I couldn’t wait to get my hands of the top of line Golf R, which the best by par, particularly in this stunning Lapiz Blue metallic paint!
The most powerful engine yet in a Golf combined with a trick all-wheel-drive 4MOTION with R-Performance Torque Vectoring enables you as the driver the ability to grip it and rip it in the Golf R. The 2.0 litre, 4-cylinder inline, turbocharged petrol engine produces its maximum 235kW of power between 5,600 – 6,500rpm and maximum 400Nm of torque between 2,000 – 5,600rpm, which drives the Golf R from 0-100km/h in just 4.8 seconds.
There is a sensation of Golf R tensing up as I progress through the six available drive modes from Comfort to Sport, Race, Drift and Special, which is designated by the Nürburgring graphic and a nice touch by VW, and Individual mode. Under Individual you can choose between Comfort, Sport and Race for Dynamic Chassis Control (DCC), steering, drive, engine sound, adaptive cruise control and light assistance. But the simplest way to access the performance of the Golf is by pressing the R button on the steering wheel to engage Race mode!
Here the Golf R feels really solid under hard acceleration and stable out of the corners. Surprisingly the ride comfort is bearable even when you select the Special drive mode. Some people will like that the Golf R does not have an obtrusive exhaust note, but others will be disappointed that there is not more theatrics from the quad pipes.
Take control of the paddle shifters reverts the 7-speed DSG transmission to ‘manual’ mode so you can chase the revs and as you do the taco flashes on the dash to tell you to upshift up before the 7,000rpm redline. Though, under aggressive down changes the DSG wasn’t compliant and didn’t select the gears when I wanted it to. My enthusiasm for revving the Golf R meant I used 13.3L/100km for my week, while the official combined fuel consumption is 7.8L/100km of 98RON petrol.
The Golf R really pulls one out of the bag for the driver, they get head-up display, a configurable digital dash and heated sporty looking steering wheel. But There were a couple of things I didn’t like as the driver one being the plastic wheel-mounted paddle shifters for ‘manually’ controlling the DSG transmission, I think these should have been metal to better fit the overall sportiness of the Golf R and the second being the lack of phone controls on the steering wheel.
The Nappa leather appointed front seats smell nice and are impressive to look at with the blue decorative stitching, R embroidered on the integrated head rest and the way there is an undertone of blue in the seat perforations. The front seats are heated and cooled and both of these functions work well to keep the driver and passenger supremely comfortable. The driver’s seat has power adjustment for recline, forward/back, seat height front and rear and 2-way lumbar support with two memory positions to save your ideal driving position. The passenger seat only has manual adjustment for recline, forward/back and seat height only.
Between the two front seats in an interestingly shaped cup holder with a 12V outlet and in the front door cubbies a large storage space suitable for drink bottles, which is felt lined to prevent rattles. Some of the interior features I liked in the Golf R include stubby gear selector and the slot next to it for the key fob, the touch temperature controls below the infotainment screen and that the wireless phone charger at the front of the centre console being located under a cover, as I felt like it reduced the temptation to pick your phone up and look at it.
Besides touching your phone should be completely unnecessary once you have wirelessly connected to the infotainment system via Apple CarPlay/Android Auto. If needed, there are two USB-C ports located above the wireless charging cubby at the front of the centre console. I really liked the look of the 10.0” colour capacitive touch screen display with smartphone style graphics and the ambient lighting configuration in the Golf R is very impressive also. Plus to prevent you stepping into a water hazard there are ‘R’ puddle lights that illuminate when you open the front doors.
The infotainment system has gesture and voice control, which activated by pressing the button on the steering wheel with the feminine looking silhouette on it. When I tried to use the voice control it would not work for me at all and I could not set a destination on the sat nave, make a phone call because my contacts didn’t download when I connected my phone via Bluetooth or change the media between the AM radio, DAB/FM radio, or Bluetooth.
The rear seats are equally as nice of the fronts with ample head and leg room for two adults to comfortably sit in the back. For younger passengers there are two ISOFIX/three rear tether chid seat restraint points, but only enough room for two car seats due to the width of the Golf. The centre seat folds down as an arm rest with three different sized rigid cup holders in the front of it and you also get good-sized drink bottle storage in the rear doors, and the cubbies are felt lined to prevent rattles.
The Golf R has three-zone climate control, so rear passengers get digital air temperature control with manual direction control on the two central air vents. You can also control the air temperature from the front of the vehicle and lock the controls as well. Below the temp controls there are two USB-C ports and quite a high transmission tunnel, which does not have a mat over it. I liked that in the back of the front seats, in addition to a standard map holder, there are two smaller pockets suitable for holding a smartphone.
The power assisted tailgate is released by pressing the VW logo to reveal a decent sized boot with four substantial tie down points, two hooks, a 12V outlet and a neatly packaged tyre repair kit. If more space is required the rear seats have 40:60 split fold mechanism and a central ‘peak-a-boo’ door, my children’s name for this feature that allows you to carry long items while the two outer rear seats are in use.
All eighth generation Golfs have a 5-star ANCAP (2019) safety rating and come with driver and front passenger airbags, driver and front passenger side airbags, rear seat side airbags and curtain airbags, front and rear. The ANCAP Adult Occupant Protection score is 95% (36.29 points out of 38) and a Child Occupant Protection score of 89% (43.77 points out of 49). For convenience the Golf R has a standard rear-view camera with an outline of the vehicle adjacent with 360o sensors with Park Assist, auto lights and rain sensing wipers.
The Golf R comes standard with VW’s IQ.DRIVE, a suite of active safety features including Adaptive Cruise Control, Side Assist with Rear Traffic Alert, Front Assist with Pedestrian and Cyclist Monitoring functions, Lane Assist and Traffic Jam Assist. ANCAP tests of the autonomous emergency braking system showed GOOD performance with collisions avoided or mitigated in most scenarios. ANCAP tests of the lane support system functionality showed some GOOD performance, including in several of the more critical emergency lane keeping test scenarios. Overall performance of the lane support system was classified as GOOD and the ANCAP score for Safety Assist is 80%.
All new Volkswagen vehicles come with a 5 Year Unlimited kilometre warranty and a 1-year membership to Volkswagen Roadside Assist. If you service your Volkswagen at an authorised Volkswagen Dealer, you can receive an additional 12 months Roadside Assistance. An upfront 5-Year Care Plan for the Golf R that covers standard service costs can be purchased for non-commercial use vehicles for $ $3,000 (first service free), saving $833 off the Assured Service Pricing RRP.
The Golf R is at the top of its game and with some mutterings that there won’t be a ninth generation Volkswagen Golf, this could be as good as it gets for this German hot hatch. The Golf R starts at $65,990 excluding on-road costs and as tested with the optional Discover Pro Navigation ($1,000) the Lapiz Blue Golf R I drove was $66,990 plus on-road costs. Get your Golf R par-tee started using the online Configurator or visit your preferred Volkswagen dealer.
|The Nappa leather appointed seats||The plastic paddle shifters|
|The comfortable, but entertaining driving experience||The voice control would not work for me|
|The design of the wireless charging cubby||DSG was not compliant on down shifts|
Photographs by Driven Women Magazine.