Volkswagen Golf R review - a consummate all-rounder - Performance and 0-60 times

The best iteration of the Golf yet?

Evo rating
Price
from £31,685
  • Not just faster than a GTi but more fun too
  • ...but not quite the ultimate hot hatch

Performance and 0-60 time

Make no mistake, the Golf R is a much quicker car than its GTI sibling. With 297bhp and 280lb ft, it simply has more fire in the boiler room, greater aerobic reach at the top end and the all-drive wherewithal to deploy it effectively. The acceleration stats speak for themselves, the sprint from rest to 62mph taking a claimed 4.9sec (or 5.1sec if you opt for a manual six-speed ‘box rather than the DSG double clutch transmission - or if you opt for the DSG estate).

It sounds a lot angrier when you engage Sport mode, too, though much of the added gruff is a bluff generated by a ‘soundaktor’ (sound generator) intended to fill in sonically what the mk 7 Golf R is missing in cylinders measured against its V6-engined forbears though, in truth, it sounds more like a Subaru flat-four. With time you tend not to be so conscious of the less-than-authentic off-beat note, but it could put some people off. 

Subscribe to evo magazine

evo is 21 and to celebrate, we're returning to 1998 prices! Subscribe now to SAVE 39% on the shop price and get evo for its original cover price of £3.00 an issue, plus get a FREE gift worth £25!

Although the DSG equipped Golf R is fractionally more accelerative thanks to its transmission’s blink-quick shifts, it’s heavier than the manual car which commendably, at 1476kg, weighs 45kg less than the previous Golf R. And, using the latest generation of Haldex all-wheel drive, every last bhp and lb ft of the latest car’s larger outputs are put to the tarmac with ease.

That said, the Golf R is certainly an impressive car fitted with the paddle shift double-clutch ‘box, the near seamless shifts and undeniable polish of DSG massaging the impression of instant on-demand thrust to a degree not fully reflected by the 0.2sec-quicker claimed 0-62 time.

Advertisement
Advertisement - Article continues below

Left to its own devices the transmission is rarely caught out. On light throttle openings it does shuffle up as many gears as possible in D to increase efficiency, but it requires little coaxing to kickdown right into the heart of its stout torque reserves. Nudge the gear selector across to manual and it’s good fun flicking between the gears with the paddles, though pull the lever into S (Sport) mode while in Drive and the transmission can be too keen to stay in second and third gears at the sort of urban speeds fourth or even fifth could smoothly handle.

Advertisement
Advertisement

Most Popular

Visit/seat/leon-cupra/202143/seat-leon-cupra-r-st-abt-review-spicy-spanish-dish-gets-even-more-sizzle
SEAT Leon Cupra

SEAT Leon Cupra R ST Abt review

50 horsepower boost puts extra pep in the Leon Cupra’s already athletic step
23 Jan 2020
Visit/dodge/202135/police-spec-dodge-charger-given-1500bhp-widebody-kit-and-awd
Dodge

Dodge Charger given 1500bhp, widebody kit and AWD 

US-based Speedkore Performance works its magic for one-off creation
22 Jan 2020
Visit/volkswagen/golf-gti/22866/new-volkswagen-golf-gti-to-be-revealed-at-geneva-motor-show-plus-new
Volkswagen Golf GTI hatchback

New Volkswagen Golf GTI to be revealed at Geneva motor show – plus new insight on the next Golf R

2020 VW Golf GTI returns in eighth-generation form at this year’s Geneva motor show
20 Jan 2020
Visit/features/22907/hyundai-i30-fastback-n-versus-the-col-de-turini
Hyundai i30 N hatchback

Hyundai i30 Fastback N versus the Col de Turini

We take the Hyundai i30 Fastback N up the Col de Turini, a 31km stage of the Monte Carlo World Rally Championship
19 Jul 2019