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.
Firstly, before I get into the nitty gritty, if you are going to compare this in any way to a GTI, don't. They are both in totally different classes and the golf R is on such a higher performance tier than the GTI, you'd be doing yourself a dis-service. This car is competing with STI's, EVO's, M235i's, CLA45 AMG's, Focus RS, etc. Anyways....I bought the car shortly after it came out, deep pearl black, 6spd manual, no dcc/navigation. Was one of the lucky few that was able to walk into a dealership, find the perfect one, was not being held, bought it same day. Car is incredible!!! Factory performance on these is nothing short of stunning. Judging from the overall looks of the car, it's quite surprising what this thing is really capable of. If I were to compare to others in it's class, it is more refined (excluding the BMW and Mercedes I mentioned above of course). In my honest opinion, there is not a better performance car that you can buy for the money, currently. Power/Engine performance: 292hp/280tq reported by VW. This is very impressive as it sits, coming from a 2.0L. However, after having the car tested on a dyno after the break in period (100% stock) the numbers were far closer to 318hp/310tq (which makes sense when these run against EVO's and STI's and out pace them). Since then, I purchased the stage 1 package from APR (just a tune) and it becomes a completely different predator. With the tune, you'll be looking at 354hp and 379tq (dsg 0-60 mph capable of sub 4 second times). In this setup, much fewer cars can compete in terms of speed, acceleration, agility. Handling: I think the handling is excellent. The model I have does not include the dynamic chassis control, and it still handles on rails (I can only imagine how well the DCC model handles). Traction: Excellent. Uses the exact same quattro system as the Audi S3 (actually the whole car is almost an exact copy of the S3, minus some interior options). I've had this in snow, gravel, ice, mud (not by choice), rain, you name it. Nothing will keep this thing off the road, I would pit it up against the best AWD's out there in terms of traction/grip. Interior: Very impressed with the interior of this car. Everything is either carbon fiber (it's a vinyl like carbon, still looks nice), quality italian black leather (yes it's real leather, not like the crap on Jetta's), and piano black trim. Looks very classy and sexy, feels like a much nicer car than a VW. Gear shift has a quality feel to it, along with all of the interior buttons and knobs. Makes me feel as if everything was well thought out and materials were not skimped on in any circumstance. Exterior: Love it. I personally am a big hatch fan, so this is a little biased. I dig the small, hunkered down, lowered look of the R. Quad exhaust tips are a sporty/sexy addition. I also appreciate how tasteful the body kit is. It's not near as "boy racer" as many of it's competitors, and outruns all of them! Overall, I absolutely love the car. I highly recommend this to someone that is interested in an STI, EVO, M235i, S3, etc. I strongly feel that VW has done an amazing job with this car, very excited to see how the next few R's progress.
w/Dynamic Chassis Control and Navigation 4dr Hatchback AWD (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6AM)
Had the 2016 Golf R for 13 months now. Overall I don't find myself left wanting for anything. Wish the German version of a Nav system worked faster, it shows your at a intersection well after you've passed it (at any speed). Also when seeking back roads hoping for a challenge/new sights by selecting shortest distance it always sticks to more major roadways - boring! Inputting addresses to search has more effective results if done one way v.s. another (starting w/ street v.s. town). I did catch it being down a couple qts. of oil in one oil change, others were ok, maybe garage didn't top it off, not sure. Stock tires were shot in 10 K miles, but they had v good grip. Not trilled with 35 sidewalls especially w/ soft tires, any edges on the roadway over 1.5 inches over 35 mph and you're flirting w/ bent rims. I think the 235 45 tire size would be better overall. Clutch seems strong in the car, hasn't showed signs of weakness (unlike my previous 2005 Mitsu Evo). The ride selections are very nice and effective although I usually leave mine in race mode but the wife sometimes complains which is easily resolved. Interior design is plush, but they shouldn't disable the center console lid/compartment - plain BS. I'd like to see it more aggressive with proportioning more drive to the rear tires when it's needed, having driver control over that like the ride selection would be a blast. I had a 2005 Mitsu Evo and put 175000 mls on that car. Between the 2 I'd choose the Golf R, biggest reasons are: interior comfort/fit and finish, seats, cruise control, radio, less road noise. Of course this isn't fair as my Evo was a 2005. I think the Golf R is a little faster but that my be the gear boxes. I do miss the engine sound feedback the Evo provided, the Golf R isn't as good which compromises your driving abilities. Update 5/2/2017: +36000 mls and going. I don't park the car in the garage. I've noticed on occasion that the clutch will slip at first use until things warm up. Could be moisture or temp related seemed to act up when v cold or wet out. Runs low on oil at end of 10 k oil changes 1-2 qrts, isn't leaking, probably just normal burn off. Engine noise just isn't loud enough for driver feedback, it's v easy to hit the rev limiter especially in 1st gr. Gas mileage runs 26 when ran hard, 32 in ideal conditions. Brakes on the car are holding up really really well. The car's driver interface (radio, nav, etc.) freaks out on occasion at 1st start, sometime it'll recover, other times I need to restart the motor to get it to come around, it locks up or ignores driver input for several minutes happened 4-5 times so far.
Golf R, Long Term Winner over almost bought FordRS
written on 06-03-2016
w/Dynamic Chassis Control and Navigation 4dr Hatchback AWD (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6M)
This review has been updated after owning the Golf R a little over 1 year. I drove a 6 speed manual Ford Focus ST, ST3 and moon roof for 3 1/2 years. I was going to get the Ford Focus RS with AWD and 350 Hp. The color selection on the RS was limited to grey,white,black, and nitrous blue). I knew that the interior of the VW was better, but I didn't know how much better until I actually bought the Golf R and had some seat time with it. The ride of the Ford Focus ST was pretty stiff and the RS was going to be 33% stiffer on the comfort setting; I wasn't looking forward to a rougher ride. The ride on the Golf R with the DCC mode set in comfort mode is very smooth and compliant. I was right on this one some late Ford RS reviews compare the Ford RS ride to a pogo stick or a bucking bronc on anything but very smooth roads. Okay , I bought the 2016 Golf R with Manual 6-speed transmission, DCC with Nav, and the Driver's Assistance Package. With DCC (Dynamic Chassis Control) there is a dramatic difference between the settings. I like the individual settings with most everything set on normal or comfort except for the sport exhaust sound. I like this setting because the Golf R remembers it between stops and starts and you don't have to always reselect it every time you start. I found the interior , especially how the devices function at night to be a lot nicer with better feel and better night lighting. The interior is much higher level than first look, the back seats have 2 inches more room, the gas tank is 14.5 gallons compared to 12.4 in the ST and 13.9 in the RS. The mileage is great 22/31 rated , compared to ST 23/32 and RS 19/25. Long term, even with sporty driving, I get around 26 miles overall which makes for a very nice driving range. The rear seat passenger leg room is 35.4 Inches which is 2.2 inches more than the RS and ST and allows a 6 ft passenger to comfortably ride behind a 6 ft driver. The Golf R can travel 4 adults for long distances in comfort. Another nice feature in the Golf R is that the seats actually fold fairly flat. In the ST there is a 4 inch drop and they don't actually fold flat. Now one of the best features is the Driver's Assistance Package which includes several higher level safety items: (1) the ACC (Adaptive Cruise Control), (2) lane keep assist,(3) are front and rear proximity sensors that help you when you are parking or backing with visual and audio warnings of objects in your path, and (4) and probably the best is blind spot monitoring, a yellow blind spot light flashes in you left or right mirror if a vehicle is in your blind spot area. (5) autonomous emergency braking if the front sensors detects an impending collision it brakes for you, and (6) rear traffic alert alerts you to cars coming up fast in the rear of your left or right; this works extremely well. The rain sensing wipers work so well, I just leave it on that setting all the time. The Golf R is very planted in wet or inclement weather; no slippage at all even under sporty acceleration. Oh now let's talk about the turbo, since the power comes on at a very low 1,800 RPM and the boost is fairly linear you don't notice any turbo lag and it almost feels non-turbo like until you look at the speedometer and you are rapidly increasing your speed. The power is great, you have a lot of power in sixth and most of the time unless you don't need to downshift to pass In summary, the is a very fast, very fun car, that has high level accoutrements, and gets good gas mileage, with very comfortable seats and easy drivability. Also a lot of things are automatic; auto lights(early, normal, late), driving mode, rain sensing wipers, radar detector automatically starts, gas door automatically unlocks and no start-stop to disable. And did I mention it comes in great looking colors including Tornado Red, Lapiz Blue, and Limestone Gray Metallic in addition to black and white. The 2016 Golf R is a winner. Ford Focus has announced a limited edition 2018 supposedly last year Race Red. Modifications: I had the following installed: Diesel Geek Sigma 6 short shifter (very precise shifting ), 50% Luminar Tint, and front bumper and partial front hood PPL protection, Escort Red Line radar detector. I thought the winner was the Golf R when I first bought it, and now I am absolutely sure it is by far the best choice in a "hot" manual shift hatchback. The Golf R triumphs in the long-term evaluation! While maybe not as fast as Focus RS or as "school-boy gaudy look at me" or as loud of stock exhaust the Golf R is a far, far better all around car and daily driver. It doesn't have all the rough edges or the rough ride the Ford Focus RS has. At a little over year of driving no problems, no maintenance costs ( first 2 years free service); 10,000 mile service interval.
This is definitely one of the most stunning and surprising cars that I've ever driven that has a high-quality Porsche feel to it when you're driving. I also love the fact that it is purely a sleeper car. For a mere $800 you can get a stage 1 tune and add almost an extra 100 HP and beat 2015 M3s, Porsche Carreras, and all sorts of muscle cars from Mustangs to Camaros and Dodge Chargers/Challengers. What's even more amusing is when you add some turns to the track and the Golf R will compete extremely well against anything you throw at it. Even with all the power, the gas mileage is pretty high around 25/26 combined mpg (80% city, 20% hwy).