In our assessment of the 2018 Volkswagen GTI, the Roadshow employees agreed that it is among the best “bang for the buck” rides on the street with a candy mix of efficiency and worth, enjoyable and performance. However what should you had only a bit extra buck? May you get a bit extra bang?
Permit me to reintroduce the revised for 2018 Volkswagen Golf R: it is just about every little thing that is nice in regards to the GTI with extra energy, extra grip and a way more efficiency focus. It additionally packs higher tech with a handful of distinctive security options and an attention grabbing fully-digital instrument cluster. Extra bang hasn’t thrown off the Golf R’s stability and it is nonetheless a properly rounded experience that is very simple to dwell and it is nonetheless an incredible every day driver for these with barely extra twisty drives.
292-horsepower 4Motion efficiency
Constructed on the bones of the GTI, the Volkswagen Golf R is powered by the identical 2.Zero-liter four-banger. Nevertheless, the R’s powerplant has been upgraded with a novel cylinder head, turbocharger, pistons and direct injection system. Principally, every little thing necessary save the block has been modified. The result’s a lift in energy to 292 horsepower and 280 pound-feet of torque. (That is 72 horsepower and 22 pound-feet of torque over the already energetic GTI.)
Come for the facility, however keep for the torque. The Golf R’s engine pulls properly at just about any pace. Peak torque comes on at an informal 1,800 rpm, which makes for off-the-line efficiency (particularly with launch management), however the broad and flat torque curve additionally begets very responsive throttle response whether or not round city or round a quick nook.
New for 2018, is a seven-speed dual-clutch computerized transmission (DSG) possibility with paddle shifters. I am positive it is loads quick — VW is a model that has confirmed to know its approach round a dual-clutch field — however my instance was blessedly outfitted with the usual six-speed guide transmission. Rowing your individual gears is admittedly the easiest way to expertise VW’s hottest hatch, and I extremely advocate it.
At an EPA estimated 22 metropolis and 29 freeway mpg, the automated does supply a slight in-town gasoline financial system benefit over the guide which is rated at 21 metropolis mpg. That is partially because of the additional ratio, however principally as a result of the DSG includes a stop-start anti-idling system that the guide doesn’t.
On the enterprise finish of the powertrain is the latest-generation Volkswagen 4Motion all-wheel-drive system. It is an on-demand setup that drives the entrance wheels and decouples the rears below low-load situations. Nevertheless, the rear axle may be near-instantly engaged with an electronically managed middle clutch when grip is demanded, constantly various the cut up to ship as much as 50 % of accessible torque to the rear axle.
DCC adaptive dealing with
The experience top is barely decrease even than the GTI, hinting at additional dealing with enhancements for the Golf R. Along with revising a few of the geometry and tweaking the steering fee for higher really feel and responsiveness, the R comes commonplace with VW’s DCC adaptive dampers that constantly range the rebound and compression damping of the suspension whereas cornering.
The lively dampers have three settings — Consolation, Sport and Race — that permit the driving force to shortly modify the firmness of the DCC suspension. These settings are tied into 4 driving mode presets — Consolation, Regular, Eco and Race — that additionally modify the responsiveness of the engine and, if that’s the case outfitted, the shift program of the DSG. A fifth “Particular person” drive mode allowed me to combine and match settings.
The beefier brakes from the GTI’s Efficiency Package deal discover their approach behind the Golf R’s 19-inch wheels as commonplace gear. We’re speaking 13.Four-inch discs up entrance and 12.2-inchers out again. And the rubber meets the street on the floor of the 235/35 Continental ContiSportContact tires.
Aiding 4Motion is VW’s digital differential lock (EDS) and cross differential lock plus (XDS+) methods that use biased brake stress to make the R’s open differential carry out like a limited-slip unit and to allow torque vectoring when cornering. EDS and XDS+ get the job finished, however a real clutch-based limited-slip diff could be preferable, significantly for monitor use the place elevated brakes use may probably show problematic.
Volkswagen Digital Cockpit, Uncover Media tech
Dashboard tech is equivalent to that of the GTI SE and Autobahn trim ranges, so you’ll be able to nip over to our full assessment for particulars about that glass-covered Eight.Zero-inch “Uncover Media” MIB II infotainment system.
The TL;DR is that it is massive, vivid and exquisite, however may gain advantage from enhancements to responsiveness and menu group. The usual (for the R) navigation software program will get the job finished and there is a wholesome choice of media sources, however I most popular to make use of the additionally commonplace Android Auto and Apple CarPlay connections to deliver my very own maps and apps the occasion. (In the event you’re one of many handful of people that prefers to make use of MirrorLink, the VW helps that too.)
Nevertheless, the Golf R and the electrical e-Golf stand aside from lesser Golfs and GTIs, borrowing the interactive Volkswagen Digital Cockpit instrument cluster from the Atlas and new Tiguan. This 12.Three-inch, high-resolution display screen replaces the bodily dials with digital gauges that may be personalized to showcase a variety of knowledge: from the navigation map to efficiency and driving info.
Digital Cockpit is mainly a much less highly effective model of Audi’s Digital Cockpit tech. The decision is a bit decrease; you’ll be able to solely show the map within the instrument cluster or on the central show, however not each; and I observed that the Digital Cockpit lagged a bit when toggling between show modes. Nevertheless, the advantages of interacting with entrance and middle tech with out taking a hand off of the steering wheel outweighed any negatives I observed.
The total suite of driver support tech out there to the Golf platform is commonplace gear on the Golf R. At low speeds, meaning a rearview digital camera, pedestrian monitoring emergency braking, rear cross-traffic alert and rear park distance sensor with computerized braking. At larger speeds, there’s adaptive cruise management, ahead collision warning, lane departure warning and computerized excessive beams.
VW’s hottest hatch can be extra premium
Here is the place we normally inform you all about trim ranges and choices, however the 2018 Golf R is straightforward: It solely is available in one trim and it is totally loaded with the adaptive suspension, Eight-inch navigation, 4Motion all-wheel drive and the VW Digital Cockpit. That worth additionally rolls in all the out there lively and passive security tech. Past that, it is LED headlights are uniquely styled among the many Golf household, as is its solely barely extra aggressive physique work and exhaust. Pricing begins at $40,635 for the six-speed guide or $41,735 with the brand new seven-speed DSG. (Each costs embody an $850 vacation spot cost and VW’s new 6-year/72,000-mile bumper-to-bumper Folks First Guarantee.)
The 2018 Golf R nearly completely bridges the hole between the a completely loaded GTI Autobahn (about $Four,000 much less) and a base Audi S3 Premium Plus (about $Four,000 extra), form of combining one of the best tech of its VW parentage with the stronger AWD powertrain of the Audi. I feel that places the Golf R in a really candy spot within the lineup, particularly since sticking with the VW badge will get you that candy hatchback profile.
For many, nonetheless, I would advocate sticking with the GTI. It is lighter and less complicated, which makes up for the decrease energy and lack of AWD. I feel the GTI is simply as enjoyable on a twisty street and would solely actually advocate the R to somebody planning to autocross or sometimes monitor their every day driver. Plus, the midtier GTI SE trim stage we advocate is about $10,000 cheaper.
Nevertheless, the Golf R’s place within the pecking order amongst its at-large opponents is a bit distinction. The Subaru WRX STI has a extra refined all-wheel-drive system. The Focus RS is far more highly effective. And the Honda Civic Sort R is the true king of the recent hatchbacks with its track-focused efficiency. Nevertheless, the Sort R and the RS are fairly onerous to seek out and sometimes include excessive markups.
Of those autos, the Golf R most likely has one of the best stability of worth, aggressive road and monitor efficiency and premium consolation and tech. (Plus, it appears to be like just like the form of automotive an grownup would drive; its styling is sporty with out large intakes and goofy wings.) Like its brother, the GTI, it isn’t one of the best at anybody factor, but it surely’s actually good at every little thing. That is a bit harder to promote on this efficiency fanatic class the place specs and pace are king, but it surely hits a candy spot with me.