Long term tests

Volkswagen Golf R32

David Vivian is obliged to drive the VW Golf R32 - and it's a bit of a shock after his Mercedes

Imagine, if you will, a large, freshly blown soap bubble – all glistening gossamer tension and swirling rainbow reflections – touching down on the floor. Now try to grasp the infinitesimal amount of pressure you would need to compress that bubble with the sole of your shoe without actually bursting it. And reduce that by a factor of a thousand. Now you’re getting close – only close, mind you – to being able to appreciate just how little force you need to apply to our DSG-transmissioned R32’s throttle when pulling away from rest if you’re to avoid the impression you’ve been shunted in the chuff by a 13-year-old joyrider in a Lamborghini Murciélago LP640.

It is possible (just) to merge into a stream of traffic from a T-junction without scaring the life out of your passenger and other road users, but only if you enter a trance-like state that affords you preternaturally precise control of your right foot. And you need to be absolutely certain that you’re not going to sneeze during the manoeuvre.

Subscribe to evo magazine

Experience the thrill of driving with evo magazine. Subscribe now and get your first 5 issues for £5 or buy the latest issue in all good newsagents!

All right, I’m exaggerating. And, yes, I’ve probably been spoiled by the unerringly slick, swift and smooth performance of the conventional seven-speed auto in my regular Mercedes CLS 350 CGI long-term steer. But, despite having read Neil’s entirely justified gripes in print, I just didn’t expect the knife-edge-nervy chuntering-around-town side of designer Carey’s R32 to be such a pain in the backside.

It’s a great shame because, in almost every other respect, it’s a hugely capable and likeable car. Freed from its urban shenanigans, the DSG ’box performs like a dream on the open road, delivering a level of driver satisfaction my Merc can’t match. The R32 is an uncannily refined motorway cruiser, too. The only real downside, apart from the transmission, is a ride that never lets you forget how firm it is. That said, the Golf has stood in for the CLS heroically.

Running Costs

Date acquiredNovember 2006
Total mileage9,072
Costs this month£0
Mileage this month685
MPG this month24.1mpg
Advertisement
Advertisement

Recommended

Visit/volkswagen/golf/21122/all-new-volkswagen-golf-revealed-eighth-generation-of-an-icon-reborn
Volkswagen Golf hatchback

All-new Volkswagen Golf revealed – eighth generation of an icon reborn

24 Oct 2019
Advertisement

Most Popular

Visit/porsche/911/201958/porsche-911-gt3-vs-gt3-rs-vs-gt2-rs-track-battle
Porsche 911

Porsche 911 GT3 vs GT3 RS vs GT2 RS - track battle

Porsche’s GT3, GT3 RS and GT2 RS are the most hardcore of the 911 breed, but pitched head‑to‑head which will we crown champion?
15 Nov 2019
Visit/buying-advice/19675/used-car-deals-of-the-week
used cars

Best used cars for sale this week

We’ve delved into the classifieds and chosen our favourite cars for sale this week
15 Nov 2019
Visit/ferrari/201950/new-ferrari-roma-612bhp-198mph-gt-car-joins-the-range
Ferrari

New Ferrari Roma: 612bhp, 198mph GT car joins the range

Ferrari has expanded its GT car range with the V8 powered Ferrari Roma
14 Nov 2019
Visit/hyundai/201819/hyundai-i30-fastback-n-versus-the-nurburgring
Hyundai i30 N

Hyundai i30 Fastback N versus the Nurburgring

We brought the Hyundai i30 Fastback back to its spiritual home in Germany's Eifel mountains, where there is a racing track you might well have heard o…
7 Oct 2019