w/Dynamic Chassis Control and Navigation 4dr Hatchback AWD (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6AM)
Considering the options available for this car, this is definitely the best bang for the buck out there. Especially when considering the other vehicles out there that offer dynamic suspension, automatic w/ paddle shifters, and a 0-60 in under 5 secs (they just don't exist in the Golf R's price range).
The Golf R is a total blast to drive. It hangs in the curves like it's on rails. Mine has the DCC suspension. The best part is that the 'comfort' setting dials everything back enough that my mother would have no problems driving it. Most of the time I leave the suspension dialed in to the 'race' setting, which is fine for most of my driving.
MPG isn't quite as good as advertised. And will get slightly worse if you add the APR stage 1 kit (even though APR claims otherwise) - my combined MPG is around 22. However gas milage is still darn respectable considering the performance. Adding the stage 1 APR kit drops the 0-60 time to under 4 secs. And keeping the foot off the gas pedal becomes an exercise in will power.
One of the things I have come to like a lot about the Golf R is that it is a wolf in sheep's clothing. It doesn't beg for attention from law enforcement like other performance cars do. Yet, it has plenty of thrill providing capabilities whenever the mood strikes. And it's practical enough for grocery shopping and driving my kids.
Overall, there is very little that I would have changed about this car. My 1st complaint is the lack of a sun roof on the R model. On the flip side, a sunroof decreases chassis stiffness and moves the center of gravity higher, both of which adversely affect handling. Supposedly the Euro spec model comes with a sunroof. I could have sacrificed a little in the handling dept. for a sunroof.
A 2nd complaint is that there is no middle ground for the engine mapping. The DCC provides 2 engine mappings - 'normal' and 'race' which are at opposite ends of the spectrum. VW needs a setting between those two. The 'race' setting would be great if you don't mind frequent visits to the gas station. And the 'normal' setting just isn't quite peppy enough.
A 3rd change would be to add an over drive gear for highway driving. At the 80+ mph speeds on many interstates, the Golf R hums along around 3k rpm, well into its power band. An overdrive gear would definitely help with gas milage.
Alright, so no car is going to perfectly appeal to everyone. For me, the Golf R is about as good as it gets, especially when compared to the other junk that car makers are putting on the market. BTW - I had been a Honda owner for over 15 years and am glad to be rid of them.