The fast just got faster! The 2018 Volkswagen Golf R has just hit Australian Shores. With an engine upgrade, styling updates and new technology, the new Golf R hits the mark perfectly with 4 drive modes: Eco, Comfort, Normal and Race Mode.
The Golf R’s celebrated 2.0L turbocharged engine finally gets an upgrade, and now pumps out 213kW of power at 5100 rpm, delivering a peak torque of 380Nm from only 1800rpm making it able to achieve 0-100km/h in a staggering 4.8 seconds. But what does that mean in the real world? Well, off the mark the Golf R provides more than enough grunt to breeze past any slow goers, and helps with overtaking.
Despite some turbo lag in the low end, any passenger is then immediately thrown into the back of their seat once the pedal is put to the metal. But that is exactly what we were expecting from anything with an infamous “R” badge – and no that doesn’t include “R Line”. The pervious Mk 7 Golf R had 206kW and the Mk 6 Golf R lagging behind with 188kW of power. But the 7.5 soars ahead with a quicker launch time.
You’re left questioning whether it really is a ‘high performance’ hot hatch whilst in Eco, Comfort and Normal mode. But let’s be real.. If you are one to spend over $50K+ on a hatchback, it’s unlikely you will be cruising in Eco Mode all day. My motto: Race Mode or Go Home. The Golf R picks up infinitely more in Race mode along with the gear lever in “S” for Sport (instead of “D” for Drive). The shifting is enhanced, the steering is tighter and the exhaust spits and pops 10x more in Race Mode leaving a grin on all our car enthused faces.
Combined fuel consumption has improved to just 7.1L/100km officially rated by Volkswagen. Our test involved a combination of highway driving, urban driving and even some typical Sydney bumper to bumper traffic. We averaged around 10-11L/100km which we were quite impressed with given the circumstances of being a brand new car with low km’s, race and sport mode and lots of traffic driving.
The model tested is the Grid Edition as listed above, which is the entry level Golf R available on offer. The consequence of this: suede leather and canvas as opposed to an entirely leather interior, but we like it that way!
The likes of sports car and hot hatch enthusiasts aren’t Eastern Suburbs housewives that demand alligator leather items with chandeliers and diamonds. The Golf R’s seats were big, comfy and most importantly fit my lanky 6 foot body. Even tested with passengers, the back seats provide a decent amount of room for those not quick enough to call shotgun.
The head unit now comes in a massive 8.0 inch size which provides an insane amount of screen real estate – it’s basically an iPad shoved into your cars head unit. Better yet, Apple CarPlay is standard, which made things a lot easier when driving and easy to navigate on the monstrous screen.
The head unit provides a plethora of options and settings with great visuals of the car interior to decide where sound and AC goes. Our favourite feature: performance monitor! Basically 3 big dials in the middle of the screen that provide intel such as: kilowatts, horsepower, torque, oil temperature and so on (and of course live data). The performance monitor also has a lap timer after scrolling right.
The dashboard on the Grid Edition misses out on the 12.3 inch active info display which would be a nice addition, but not absolutely necessary. The aim of the Grid Edition is to minimise costs and let you enjoy the roar of a Golf R without the hefty price tag. The dashboard also has all the information you need; driving data, service info, lap timer and digital speedo.
Overall, we were super impressed with the new Golf R. It stands out in comparison to the previous Golf R’s and most certainly launches ahead of the GTI. The GTI as a frame of reference lacks that tiny bit of wanted fear the Golf R gives you. The Golf R walks on 225/40R/18 wheels with a thin profile, but not thin enough that you will be left bone broken after feeling every bump on the road.
The 4Motion system keeps you intact around tight corners and gives you the confidence to know that you will remain planted on the ground. A limited-slip diff would be nice, but not a necessity. We love the Golf R and everything it stands for. It can act as a calm and collected daily driver for you, then in the blink of an eye (or push of a button) the cat is let out of the bag as it purrs its way down the highway leaving loud DSG farts in the midst of all drivers behind.
So how much will it set you back?
The Grid Edition is priced reasonably well given it’s stripped features. Manual will start at $47,990 excluding on-roads, with the DSG starting at $49,990. We love the addition of the Grid Edition. It saves you $6,000 and still gets you a Golf R! Perfect way to entice new car buyers.
Prices for all variants as follows (excluding on-roads):
• R Grid Edition (5dr Hatch) – $47,490/$49,990 (6MT/7DSG)
• R Grid Edition (Wagon) – $51,990 (7DSG)
• R (5dr Hatch) – $53,490/$55,990 (6MT/7DSG)
• R (Wagon) – $57,990 (7DSG only)
• R Wolfsburg (5dr Hatch) – $57,990 (7DSG)
• R Wolfsburg (Wagon) – $59,990 (7DSG)
Checkout ALL our videos of the Golf R Grid Edition:
Interior Tour in 4K
Point of View Test Drive
Head unit, dashboard, performance monitor and CarPlay