Is a Golf GTI a bit on the tame side for your hot hatch needs? 230bhp and 0-62 in 6.4 seconds not quite quick enough for your hatch backed based desires? Fine; many other manufacturers will offer more, why not try a 276bhp Astra VXR or a 265bhp Megane Renaultsport. But still no, you want more and really you’ve always wanted a pesky good at everything Golf. Well get your debit cards outs, because Volkswagens order books are open now for the fastest production Golf to date, the Mk VII Golf R.
Let’s start with the figures. 300bhp, 280lbft of torque, a limited top speed of 155mph, 0-62 in 5.3 seconds and four wheel drive courtesy of VW’s tried and tested Haldex system. All are sure to give the car a supercar baiting turn of pace when one buries their right foot no? Actually given the cars long list of modifications and optional extras I’m sure it could do a pretty good job of beating some much more exclusive machinery if it tried.
That 300bhp come courtesy of the familiar 2 litre turbo four cylinder as seen in the standard GTI, Octavia VRS and a brace of Audi’s. However, for the R Volkswagen have been busy, there is a new cylinder head, valve seats and springs, new pistons, injection valves, exhaust valves, oh and a new bigger turbocharger. Suspension has been lowered by 5mm over the standard GTI and buyers can option adaptive chassis control with a race mode available for the first time. Race mode reduces body roll, sharpens throttle response and when the DSG gearbox is spec’d quickens shift times (the DSG manages 0-62 in 4.9secs). Traction and stability control in the R can also be fully switched off, should you wish to unleash your inner Alonso.
These days though performance is almost overshadowed by the world’s relentless quest for economy. Obviously VW cannot escape the big E as it was the reason this cars granddad the V6 R32 was killed off as VW was chasing even greener cars. Volkswagen can retain their smugness though because this car not only delivers performance but also returns nearly 40mpg and a daisy hugging 159g/km CO2 (with the DSG) when compared to the old V6’s 243g/km! The only downside to the economy chase though is if driven hard the Mk VII won’t treat your ears to the sound of an angry German wasp gargling spanners…. shame.
Anyway what else is new with the R? Exterior wise the car follows the strict, age old Golf principle of less is more. Understated is the key, the R has a bigger front bumper with larger air intakes, daytime running lights, standard 18 inch alloys with an option of 19’s, massive ventilated discs front and back and an R badge stuck on its grill. Small changes but looking at the picture VW have released they do enough to separate the R from your normal run of the mill Golf. There is only one picture at the moment so the rear of the car is left to your imagination, but judging by this cars predecessor’s expect a lower diffuser with two exhausts exiting centrally either side of the number plate.
So do you want one? As a bit of a hot hatch, not to mention a Golf addict myself I definitely do. Prices start at £29,900 for a 3 door with a 6 speed manual (the one I’d have) rising to £31,970 for a 5 door with the DSG gearbox, but of course budget more for options. When it’s released the R will be one of the quickest hatches on sale and as the Golf is proclaimed to be the ultimate all-rounder what could possibly be wrong with giving it 300bhp? It’s a win, win in my book, go and order one now, the R is released in March.