2018 Volkswagen Golf R
2018 Volkswagen Golf R

Test Drive: 2018 Volkswagen Golf R

Because apparently you didn’t stand out enough driving a ho-hum Volkswagen Golf R, the German automaker decided to give you the choice of a multitude of new colour options to make sure you really do stand out!

And given the reaction to the Violet Touch Pearl paint job on the 2018 Golf R we tested recently, it definitely works. But be ready to fork out an additional $2,995 for any of those fancier colours.

When you add in other options like $1,500 for the driver assistance package and $250 for optional Spielberg 19-inch alloy, the $43,465 base price tag climbs to just over $48,000.

The 2018 model remains mostly unchanged from the 2017 model, except for the addition of new safety features as standard equipment, including lane-keeping assist, automatic high beams, and front and rear parking sensors.

Also unchanged is the rather large grin that comes along with driving the Golf R.

The engine is the same as last year, a 2.0-litre turbocharged inline four-cylinder engine that produces 292 horsepower and 280 lb-ft of torque.

2018 Volkswagen Golf R side profile
2018 Volkswagen Golf R

Once again, the tester was not of manual variant, but the 7-speed DSG automatic gearbox didn’t disappoint in helping deliver all the power when called upon without hesitation.

And the sound from the engine/exhaust makes you only want to keep on accelerating.

Of course, there’s a cost to all that fun, in the form of the fact that the Golf R burns premium fuel – at a combined average of 9.4 L/100 kilometres.

While the R stands out because of the paint colour and some R badging, there is not that much difference between it and most of the VW Golf family. There’s no mistaking that this is a Golf when you see its silhouette.

There are some exterior differences, however, including the fact that the rear hatch does not have a nameplate other than the stylized R.

And the source of that exhaust tune – dual exhausts with quad tips – is another feature that stands out.

Inside, you are welcomed by a cozy passenger compartment that includes racing-inspired fronts seats emblazoned with the R logo.

They offer plenty of lateral support, which comes in handy if you intend on fully enjoying the R’s power and handling to their full capabilities.

At night, the interior is illuminated in a blue accent light that has a soothing feeling.

The interior also features some stylish carbon decorative inserts in the dash and door panels.

The audiophiles among us will appreciate the Fender Premium Audio system that includes a subwoofer and eight speakers. In such a small cabin, that’s some serious business.

The audio system is controlled through an 8.0-inch touchscreen with proximity sensor, CD player, voice control and satellite radio. The proximity sensor means that when the screen detects your hand moving near the screen, several hidden controls pop up for you to use.

It also comes with Apple CarPlay or Android Auto.

2018 Volkswagen Golf R
2018 Volkswagen Golf R

When you care more about how you are driving than who is playing on the radio, 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 you are pulling.

And gone are any analog gauges in the dashboard, replaced with the Volkswagen Digital Cockpit (instrument cluster) which is a clean and crisp display.
The Golf R has what is called Dynamic Chassis Control, which uses sensors on the front and rear wheels to adjust damping force on each wheel. You can also select between drive modes, including Eco, Comfort, Normal and Race, as well as a customizable Individual mode.

And this sporty ride also comes with all-wheel drive thanks to Volkswagen’s 4MOTION system. Under normal conditions, only the front wheels are powered, but the power gets moved to the rear wheels as needed.

Add to that Volkswagen’s Cross Differential System (XDS), which the automaker says anticipates inside wheel spin and directs power to the outside wheel, and what you have is a pretty complete package when it comes to the fun quotient on the road.

The Golf R is a lot of fun to drive and offers a lot in a small package that diehard enthusiasts will – rightfully – love.

And now that you have a whole palette to choose from, there’s also a colour for everyone.

2018 Volkswagen Golf R
Price as tested: $48,260.00
Freight: $1,645.00
Configuration: front engine/four-wheel drive
Engine/transmission: 2.0-litre turbocharged and intercooled inline four-cylinder/ 7-speed DSG
Power/torque: 292 horsepower/ 280 lb-ft
Fuel (capacity): Premium (55 L)
Combined fuel economy ratings (L/100 km): 9.4 L/100 km
Warranties: 4-years/80,000 km (basic)
Competitors: Honda Civic Type R, Ford Focus RS, Subaru WRX STI

Related links:
Volkswagen Canada

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