VW Golf R Review

2011 VW Golf R External front

Rob Fraser reviews the Volkswagen Golf R 2.0L TSi 6 speed DSG. The new VW Golf R now has a more powerful version of the motor that is in the Golf GTi.

Volkswagens Golf GTi has always been the perennial favourite here at AnyAuto over the more powerful and pricey Golf R32. No longer as the Golf R is a beauty.

Now in its 6th generation the Golf is a beautifully balanced hatch. The main downfall of the old R32 was the extra weight over the front wheels that upset that fine balance that is so evident in the GTi. Now that the R uses the same motor as the GTi that balance remains the same and with all wheel drive the handling is even better

If your buying one tick the box for the adaptive damper system as it is worth it. It allows you to select between comfort and dynamic meaning that you can smooth the daily drive better.

While not in the same go-kart ride category as an Evo, the Golf R nevertheless handles like it is on proverbial rails. Almost nothing will upset the line through corners and with the all wheel drive delivering power to the road it is noticeably quicker than its GTi stablemate.

The latest version of the Haldex all wheel drive system ensures quicker response times before it engages the rear wheels and combined with less weight over the front wheels means FUN driving.

2011 VW Golf R engine

The 2.0L TSi petrol engine delivers 188Kw @ 6000rpm and 330 Nm between 2400 – 5200 rpm. This means that the motor is as happy pottering around at 50 kmh as it blasting through the gears on your favourite winding road. Speaking of gears the 6 speed manual transmission is smooth and matches the motor however I would opt for the 6 sp DSG transmission as it provides faster acceleration, loses bugger all in economy and is a delight to drive and has the better exhaust note. The DSG sometimes is hesitant in the daily commute though.

The Golf R will go from 0-100kmh in a little over 5.7 seconds and sips fuel at a miserly 8.4l/100km. On a trip the economy dropped to around 5.8l/100km on the freeway. That is awesome for a hatch with such performance.

2011 VW Golf R internal dash Left Hand Drive version

Internally the look is pure VW, which means stylish, clean and neat. VW is pretty much the benchmark in its internal layout and space for small hatches. Like the other Golf’s the internal storage is excellent, seats are supportive and they manage to find space where others seem lost. The Haldex all wheel drive system does reduce boot space marginally but that is a small price to pay for its handling benefits.

The Golf sports steering wheel is the best in the business and the relationship of driver to controls is superb.

The R has a black theme with an R logo on the seats. The seats are now a Microfibre, with grey stitching which looks better than the red on the GTi, as the leather has bitten the dust in an effort to reduce the entry pricing. Other features to go are the heated front seats and the electric adjustment is an option.

2011 VW Golf R internal front

Other goodies now included are front and rear parking sensors, 18-inch alloy wheels, dual-zone climate control, cruise, bi-xenon headlights, visual parking aid with sensors, six-CD audio with colour touch screen and metallic paint.

One noticeable ommission is bluetooth, Volkswagen continues with its mean minded attitude and has what is essentially a safety feature as a dealer fitted option. This has been a continual beef of ours for a while now. Shame Volkswagen.

While the Golf R is not in the same pure performance class as say a the Mitsubishi EVO, Honda Type R or even the Ford Focus RS it does provide scintillating performance with a level of sophistication the others can only imagine. It is the hot hatch that is easy to live with every day of the week without opting for a kidney belt.

2011 VW Golf R External front

At $48,490 MLP as a starting price for the three-door version it can be regarded as a performance bargain but as always the options list is long and can be expensive.

Now to the big question. Would I buy one? I would absolutely jump at the chance to have a VW Golf R in the garage but if I was shelling out my hard earned dollars I would probably opt for a GTi or even a GTD and option it a touch. You would get 98% of the same fun for less money. The only thing you would really miss is the all wheel drive system, which is a shame.

What is Good and Not so Good

What is Good?
• The balance between performance, handling and comfort is unmatched
• Looks great
• Easy to live with

What is Not so Good?
• No Bluetooth
• Adaptive suspension is an option
• Um still thinking

2011 VW Golf R External rear

About Rob Fraser 1803 Articles
Rob Fraser – General dogsbody & Director Rob is the founder of the business. He constantly mutters something about way too many red wines one evening being to blame. Often known for taking the 4WD in the driveway over the sports car, he has travelled pretty much everywhere in Australia and when he is bored goes for a drive. He first learned to drive on the farm in a left hand drive WW11 Jeep when he was 11, and was hooked on 4WDriving way back then. In addition to 4WD he is an avid motoring enthusiast and has maintained a strong interest in the industry ever since his teens. He has owned way too many cars in his time as well. Having previously lived at the top of corporate life he retired in 2000 and hasn’t put a suit and tie on since. Cars are his passion so why not have a business doing what you love he figures. He has towed either a caravan or camper trailer to most parts of Australia, has run guided tours for camper trailers’ and instructed drivers in off road towing.

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