Ride and Handling
The Golf R is fantastically well set up, both as an estate and a hatch. Driven quick, but not hard, it is wonderfully fluid and supple, but push harder and you uncover yet more of its dynamic abilities. It’s very much a car of layers of ability.
The Golf R is at its very best when up on its toes. Just like the hatch, the estate gets better the harder you push it. That initially smooth and supple ride is met with tighter body control, sharper steering and ever the more incisive turn-in and response.
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While the estate is a full 80kg heavier than the hatch, little is lost in terms of dynamic abilities. It’s both massively fun yet entirely benign, being so poised under pressure that it’s possible to take the most outrageous liberties with the estate without it ever breaking a sweat.
Steering feel is a step above most of the hot hatch competition, with it easily besting the likes of a Focus ST Estate or an Octavia vRS. It’s crisp and pure, yet gives enough feedback to properly engage you with the R’s darty front end.
Haldex four-wheel drive coupled with an XDS+ torque vectoring system help ensure that the R estate does a very good job of getting its power to the road. The front axle resists push admirably well and by backing the car into a corner on the brakes the rear end can be persuaded to take on some attitude, although it’ll never do so under power alone.
That supple and smooth ride also works wonders when you want your Golf R Estate to function as a practical machine. Switchable driving modes allow you to control steering assistance, throttle response and damping rates and all can be dialled back when you don’t fancy driving the car in anger.
All in all, it’s a hugely formidable dynamic package, with very little lost to the added heft of the estate.