In our evaluation of the 2018 Volkswagen GTI, the Roadshow employees agreed that it is top-of-the-line “bang for the buck” rides on the highway with a candy mix of efficiency and value, enjoyable and performance. However what for those who had only a bit extra buck? Might you get a bit extra bang?
Permit me to reintroduce the revised for 2018 Volkswagen Golf R: it is just about all the things that is nice in regards to the GTI with extra energy, extra grip and a way more efficiency focus. It additionally packs higher tech with a handful of distinctive security options and an attention-grabbing fully-digital instrument cluster. Extra bang hasn’t thrown off the Golf R’s stability and it is nonetheless a properly rounded trip that is very simple to dwell and it is nonetheless an excellent day by day driver for these with barely extra twisty drives.
292-horsepower 4Motion efficiency
Constructed on the bones of the GTI, the Volkswagen Golf R is powered by the identical 2.Zero-liter four-banger. Nonetheless, the R’s powerplant has been upgraded with distinctive cylinder head, turbocharger, pistons and direct injection system. Mainly, all the things necessary save the block has been modified. The result’s a lift in energy to 292 horsepower and 280 pound-feet of torque. (That is a 72 horsepower and 22 pound-feet of torque over the already vigorous GTI.)
Come for the ability, however keep for the torque. The Golf R’s engine pulls properly at just about any velocity. Peak torque comes on at an informal 1,800 rpm, which makes for off the road efficiency (particularly with launch management), however the broad and flat torque curve additionally begets very responsive throttle response whether or not around-town or round a quick nook.
New for 2018, is a seven-speed dual-clutch automated transmission (DSG) possibility with paddle shifters. I am certain it is lots quick — VW is a model that has confirmed to know its means round a dual-clutch field — however my instance was blessedly geared up with the usual six-speed handbook transmission. Rowing your personal gears is actually the easiest way to expertise VW’s hottest hatch and I extremely advocate it.
At an EPA estimated 22 metropolis and 29 freeway mpg, the automated does supply a slight in-town gasoline economic system benefit over the handbook which is rated at 21 metropolis mpg. That is partially as a result of additional ratio, however principally as a result of the DSG includes a stop-start anti-idling system that the handbook doesn’t.
On the enterprise finish of the powertrain is the latest-generation Volkswagen 4Motion all-wheel drive system. It is an on-demand setup that drives the entrance wheels and decouples the rears below low-load circumstances. Nonetheless, the rear axle may be near-instantly engaged with an electronically-controlled middle clutch when grip is demanded, constantly various the break up to ship as much as 50-percent of accessible torque to the rear axle.
DCC adaptive dealing with
The trip peak is barely decrease even than the GTI, hinting at additional dealing with enhancements for the Golf R. Along with revising a number of the geometry and tweaking the steering price for higher really feel and responsiveness, the R comes customary with VW’s DCC adaptive dampers that constantly range the rebound and compression damping of the suspension whereas cornering.
The R sits decrease than even the GTI and options customary adaptive dampers that may modify for consolation or velocity.
The energetic dampers have three settings — Consolation, Sport and Race — that permit the motive force to shortly modify the firmness of the DCC suspension. These settings are tied into 4 driving mode presets — Consolation, Regular, Eco and Race — that additionally modify the responsiveness of the engine and, in that case geared up, the shift program of the DSG. A fifth “Particular person” drive mode allowed me to combine and match settings.
The beefier brakes from the GTI’s Efficiency Bundle discover their means behind the Golf R’s 19-inch wheels as customary gear. We’re speaking 13.Four-inch discs up entrance and 12.2-inchers out again. And the rubber meets the highway on the floor of the 235/35 Continental ContiSportContact tires.
Aiding 4Motion is VW’s digital differential lock (EDS) and cross differential lock plus (XDS+) programs that use biased brake stress to make the R’s open differential carry out like a limited-slip unit and to allow torque vectoring when cornering. EDS and XDS+ get the job finished, however a real clutch-based limited-slip diff can be preferable, significantly for observe use the place elevated brakes use may probably show problematic.
Volkswagen Digital Cockpit, Uncover Media tech
Dashboard tech is equivalent to that of the GTI SE and Autobahn trim ranges, so you may nip over to our full evaluation for particulars about that glass-covered Eight.Zero-inch “Uncover Media” MIB II infotainment system.
The TL;DR is that it is large, vivid and exquisite, however may gain advantage from enhancements to responsiveness and menu group. The usual (for the R) navigation software program will get the job finished and there is a wholesome choice of media sources, however I most popular to make use of the additionally customary Android Auto and Apple CarPlay connections to deliver my very own maps and apps the social gathering. (If you happen to’re one of many handful of people that prefers to make use of MirrorLink, the VW helps that too.)
Nonetheless, the Golf R and the electrical e-Golf stand other than lesser Golfs and GTIs, borrowing the interactive Volkswagen Digital Cockpit instrument cluster from the Atlas and new Tiguan. This 12.Three-inch, high-resolution display screen replaces the bodily dials with digital gauges that may be personalized to showcase a variety of data: from the navigation map to efficiency and driving data.
Digital Cockpit is mainly a much less highly effective model of Audi’s Digital Cockpit tech. The decision is a bit decrease; you may solely show the map within the instrument cluster or on the central show, however not each; and I seen that the Digital Cockpit lagged a bit when toggling between show modes. Nonetheless, the advantages of interacting with entrance and middle tech with out taking a hand off of the steering wheel outweighed any negatives I seen.
The complete suite of driver assist tech out there to the Golf platform is customary gear on the Golf R. At low speeds, which means a rearview digicam, pedestrian monitoring emergency braking, rear cross visitors alert and rear park distance sensor with automated braking. At greater speeds, there’s adaptive cruise management, ahead collision warning, lane departure warning and automated excessive beams.
Volkswagen’s fully-digital instrument cluster shows map and infotainment information and may be personalized with steering wheel controls.
VW’s hottest hatch can also be extra premium
Here is the place we often inform you all about trim ranges and choices, however the 2018 Golf R is easy: It solely is available in one trim and it is totally loaded with the adaptive suspension, Eight-inch navigation, 4Motion all-wheel drive and the VW Digital Cockpit. That value additionally rolls in all the out there energetic and passive security tech. Past that, it is LED headlights are uniquely styled among the many Golf household, as is its solely barely extra aggressive physique work and exhaust. Pricing begins at $40,635 for the six-speed handbook or $41,735 with the brand new seven-speed DSG. (Each costs embody an $850 vacation spot cost and VW’s new 6-year/72,000-mile bumper-to-bumper Individuals First Guarantee.)
The 2018 Golf R nearly completely bridges the hole between the a completely loaded GTI Autobahn (about $Four,000 much less) and a base Audi S3 Premium Plus (about $Four,000 extra), kind of combining the perfect tech of its VW parentage with the stronger AWD powertrain of the Audi. I believe that places the Golf R in a really candy spot within the lineup, particularly since sticking with the VW badge will get you that candy hatchback profile.
For many, nevertheless, I might advocate sticking with the GTI. It is lighter and easier, which makes up for the decrease energy and lack of AWD. I believe the GTI is simply as enjoyable on a twisty highway and would solely actually advocate the R to somebody planning to autocross or often observe their day by day driver. Plus, the mid-tier GTI SE trim degree we advocate is about $10,000 cheaper.
The 2018 Volkswagen Golf R provides extra bang for these with just a few extra bucks to spend on efficiency.
Nonetheless, the Golf R’s place within the pecking order amongst its at-large opponents is a bit distinction. The Subaru WRX STI has a extra subtle all-wheel drive system. The Focus RS is far more highly effective. And the Honda Civic Sort R is the true king of the recent hatchbacks with its track-focused efficiency. Nonetheless, the Sort R and the RS are fairly arduous to search out and infrequently include excessive markups.
Of those automobiles, the Golf R in all probability has the perfect stability of value, aggressive avenue and observe efficiency and premium consolation and tech. (Plus, it seems to be just like the kind of automobile an grownup would drive; its styling is sporty with out large intakes and goofy wings.) Like its brother the GTI, it is not the perfect at anybody factor, nevertheless it’s actually good at all the things. That is a bit harder to promote on this efficiency fanatic class the place specs and velocity are king, nevertheless it hits a candy spot with me.