2017 Volkswagen Golf R

2017 Volkswagen Golf R

After a week with the 2017 Volkswagen Golf R, I am re-christening the Three R’s.

Rather than reduce, reuse, recycle (all good ideas, by the way), when driving the Golf R, they become: the Roar of the engine, the Rumble of the exhaust and the Revelry when getting behind the wheel.

Don’t be fooled by its small stature and subtle R badging, this Golf is far from timid.

Granted, there’s less power than the Focus RS – a main rival – but the Golf R is still a pretty entertaining ride.

Under the Golf R’s hood is a 2.0-litre turbocharged inline four-cylinder engine, and it delivers 292 horsepower and 280 lb-ft of torque (for comparison, the Focus RS has 350 horses and lb-ft of torque).

When picking up the Golf R, I was initially disappointed by the fact there was no manual transmission, but the 6-speed DSG gearbox quickly made me forget about that. The gearbox is lightning fast and helps the Golf R to a 0 to 100 km/h time of 5.2 seconds.

It’s pretty easy to burn through a tank of (premium) fuel when booting around town in the Golf R. Fuel consumption is rated at 10.4 litres per 100 kilometres in the city and 7.9 L/100 km on the highway, but of course that all depends just how hard you are pushing the engine.

From afar, the Golf R doesn’t look terribly different than any other VW Golf. The shape and design ensures you immediately recognize it as a Golf. It’s upon closer inspection that the vehicle’s true self is revealed.

For starters, a look at the rear hatch shows no nameplate other than the stylized R, so right away you know this isn’t your typical Golf. The dual exhaust with quad tips is also definitely a standout feature – and not only for the looks, but also for the sound they emit. And the final touch that makes the R stand out is an attractive set of 19-inch Cadiz alloy wheels.

2017 Volkswagen Golf R

Inside, the distinctive touches continue.

To go along with the car’s sporty performance is a set of racing-inspired fronts seats emblazoned with the R logo. While the high sides can make getting in and out of the seats a challenge at times, they are quite hug-y, so don’t be afraid to take the Golf R on some twisties. The flat-bottomed steering wheel – also with the R logo – looks good and feels great in your hands.

One eye-catching feature about the interior really only comes out at night when the gauges are illuminated in a nice blue light. The gauge needles are also blue. The glossy black panels that surround the controls in the centre stack add a bit of a more upscale feel to the interior, which is otherwise cosy in how its laid out. And if you someone who likes to blare the tunes while kicking it around town, the Golf R won’t disappoint. It has a Fender Premium Audio system that features nine speakers and a 400-watt amp, so turn up the volume!

2017 Volkswagen Golf R

The infotainment system features what Volkswagen calls Car-Net App-Connect, which allows you to connect your smartphone to the vehicle using Apple CarPlay or Android Auto. As mentioned in a previous review, I find this to be a very handy feature.

For those who really want to know how they are driving, the infotainment screen doubles as a performance monitor on the Golf R. In that mode, you can monitor the engine’s PSI, temperature and how many Gs your are pulling.

And it’s quite easy to pull some Gs when you floor the accelerator off the line thanks to the turbocharged engine.

And an added bonus of that hard acceleration is the roar that comes out of those exhaust pipes.

2017 Volkswagen Golf R

The Golf R’s ride is kept in check thanks to the suspension, which has four firmness settings to choose from. Called Dynamic Chassis Control (DCC), it uses sensors on the front and rear wheels to adjust damping force on each wheel individually.

And the R also comes equipped with 4MOTION all-wheel drive, which powers the front wheels under normal conditions, but shifts that torque rearward when needed.

The Golf R definitely put a smile on my face when driving it and Golf enthusiasts will surely appreciate it. Whether or not they appreciate the $45,745, however, is another matter entirely.

2017 Volkswagen Golf R

Price as tested: $45,745
Freight: $1,625
Configuration: front engine/four-wheel drive
Engine/transmission: 2.0-litre turbocharged and intercooled inline four-cylinder/ 6-speed DSG
Power/torque: 292 horsepower/ 280 lb-ft
Fuel (capacity): Premium (55 L)
Combined fuel economy ratings (L/100 km): 9.3 L/100 km
Warranties: 4-years/80,000 km (basic)
Competitors: Ford Focus RS, Subaru WRX STI

Related links:

Volkswagen Canada
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