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2018 Volkswagen Golf R Launch Review

2018 Volkswagen Golf R Road Test, Review

2018 volkswagen golf r

The performance versions of the Volkswagen Golf 7.5 are landing in dealerships now and on the Australian launch I got a drive of both the GTI and the R version.

If you’re not acquainted with the sporty Golf variants the biggest difference is that the GTI is front-wheel drive and the R is all-wheel drive.

The R also gets more power - now 213kW and 380Nm.

That power output (up 7kW over outgoing model) helps push the R to 100km/h in as little as 4.8 seconds (auto) and 5.2 seconds (manual).

There’s a few other differences between the two, other than price, including large wheels and lower profile tyres, quad exhaust pipes, leather interior, and a performance monitor (as seen below).

The suspension is also a little firmer in the R, mostly due to the car requiring a slightly different tune to assist with the all-wheel drive powertrain.

The Golf R also benefits from the Active Info Display - that’s the attractive digital instrument panel.

So, is it worth shelling out the extra dollars for the R, or is the GTI enough?

2018 volkswagen golf r rear sideTo be honest, I don’t think I’d opt for the Golf R.

The lower profile tyres (35 Series) and the stiffer suspension make the R a harder car to live with, especially on Australia’s generally quite poor roads.

Hit even a minor bump and you really feel it through the cabin, even with the suspension set to ‘Comfort’.

The all-wheel drive is a nice thing to have, however if you’re not contemplating track day activities then is it really necessary? I don’t think so.

While I didn’t feel that the Golf GTI really wanted for any extra go, thus I don’t know if, for most people, the extra power/torque is that much of a carrot either.

Sure, there will be some who want to go the whole way, but for me (and most likely the bulk of buyers) the Golf GTI with a few additions like the Infotainment Pack (which gives you the digital dash) might just be the sweet spot.

As compared to the outgoing model, Volkswagen‘s new seven-speed DSG transmission is a welcome improvement (up from six-speed).

While the new colours, fresh alloy wheel designs and updated infotainment system all combine to make the R a more enticing offering for those wanting the sportiest of the sporty.

Check out my 2018 Volkswagen Golf GTI Review and read more about the new Golf 7.5 Performance models.

NUTS and BOLTS - 2018 Volkswagen Golf R

  • Engine: 2.0 litre turbo-petrol producing 213kW/380Nm
  • Transmission: Six-speed manual or seven-speed auto
  • Safety: Five stars
  • Warranty: Three years
  • Origin: Germany
  • Price: from $52,990 (manual), $55,490 (auto)

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About Joel Helmes 3711 Articles
Joel is the founder and CEO of Behind the Wheel. Joel has a background as a radio broadcaster with on-air roles at 4BC, 4KQ, 2KY, 2LT and 2UE amongst others, as well as a news editor and program director. Joel’s relationship with cars stems back to his early childhood learning to change oil and brakes with his father and uncle. This continued on into his driving years owning an assorted collection of cars.

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