2018 Volkswagen Golf R

2018 Volkswagen Golf R
Save up to $3,258
2018 Volkswagen Golf R
Save up to $3,258

What’s new

  • Seven-speed automatic transmission
  • Adaptive LED headlights
  • 8-inch touchscreen display
  • Part of the seventh Golf generation introduced for 2015


  • Impressive performance from the all-wheel-drive system
  • Great handling without sacrificing ride quality
  • Interior is well-built with excellent materials
  • Accommodating and flexible cargo space


  • Outstanding performance aside, hard to justify the lofty sticker price
Volkswagen Golf R years

Which Golf R does Edmunds recommend?

There's only one Golf R trim level. As such, your choice comes down to picking one of the R's five colors and either the manual transmission or the new dual-clutch automatic. The automatic is the more pragmatic and sensible choice, but you'll have more fun if you choose the manual.

Edmunds' Expert Review

Overall rating

8.5 / 10

With an abundance of power, sporty handling and all-wheel-drive stability, the 2018 Volkswagen Golf R is a wildly entertaining car that will boost your pulse rate. It's a star member of the hot-hatch club, which is fitting since VW practically invented the hot hatch with its original 1983 GTI. This newest R version packs 292 horsepower and improved handling and braking capability compared to a 2018 GTI. Naturally, it also boasts a comfortable interior and inherent hatchback versatility.

For 2018, the Golf R carries over largely unchanged, but with a few important tweaks. There are new LED headlights, taillights and daytime running lights. The new headlights are adaptive, meaning they swivel in the direction of turns. There's a new 19-inch wheel design, an 8-inch touchscreen display, a customizable gauge cluster display, pedestrian detection built into the forward collision warning system, and VW's new six-year/72,000-mile bumper-to-bumper transferable warranty.

Perhaps most important is the availability of a new seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission to accompany the six-speed manual transmission. A boon to the performance enthusiast who loves the feeling of a manual transmission but faces the reality of bumper-to-bumper commutes, the new automatic also achieves slightly better fuel economy than the manual.

The only real knock on the Golf R — and it's a big one — is its lofty price tag. It's a hefty premium over the GTI, which isn't quite as capable but is a blast to drive. You're also in V8-powered muscle-car territory. Yet the Golf R is a top pick for any pragmatic performance enthusiast who wants outstanding performance, impressive utility, and a generous set of features.

2018 Volkswagen Golf R configurations

The 2018 Volkswagen Golf R is the hot-rod edition of the Golf and GTI hatchbacks. The four-door Golf R seats five and comes with a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine (292 horsepower, 280 pound-feet of torque). Power is sent to all four wheels through either a standard six-speed manual transmission or an optional seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission (called DSG).

Standard features include 19-inch wheels with performance tires, an adaptive suspension, adaptive LED headlights, heated mirrors, a rear spoiler, keyless entry, push-button ignition, dual-zone automatic climate control, leather upholstery, a power-adjustable driver's seat and heated front seats. On the tech front, the R comes with VW Car-Net communications, Bluetooth, a navigation system, a digital gauge cluster, an 8-inch touchscreen, a rearview camera, and an eight-speaker Fender audio system with a CD player and satellite radio.

Advanced safety and driver aids include front and rear parking sensors, forward collision warning and mitigation, pedestrian detection, blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, a lane departure warning system, automatic high beams, and adaptive cruise control.

Trim tested

Each vehicle typically comes in multiple versions that are fundamentally similar. The ratings in this review are based on our full test of the Volkswagen Golf R (turbo 2.0L inline-4 | 6-speed dual-clutch automatic | AWD).

NOTE: Since this test was conducted in 2016, the current Golf R has received some revisions, including a new seven-speed automatic transmission. Our findings, however, remain applicable to this year's Golf R.


The Golf R's 292-horsepower 2.0-liter turbo four-cylinder produces strong power that few competitors can match, and its braking and handling are impressive as well. Importantly, the R's upgrades represent clear improvements over the Volkswagen GTI. As a performance machine, it doesn't disappoint.


There's plenty of torque right off the line, but power really explodes around 4,000 rpm. It goes from 0 to 60 mph in an effortless 4.6 seconds with the DSG automatic and launch control. Our best GTI time is 6.2 seconds; the Subaru STI takes 5 seconds. AWD assures there's no torque steer either.


Stopping from 60 mph required only 102 feet thanks in part to the summer tires, but that's still fantastic for any car. The reassuring, progressive pedal response is accompanied by good feedback. It's easy to get just the right amount of braking you want.


In Normal mode, the steering can feel numb and overly light considering the car's sporting intent. Race mode is better and feels more responsive, but in the end, the Golf R's steering is good but not great.


The combination of all-wheel drive, summer tires and a smart stability control system makes the Golf R very easy to drive aggressively. When going around turns, there's lots of grip, and it's predictable and manageable.


The DSG dual-clutch automatic transmission fires off smooth shifts without the low-speed stuttering and hesitation of other such transmissions. It's an easy car to drive quickly or slowly. The traditional manual is also easy to use, even in bumper-to-bumper traffic.


Despite its performance potential, the Golf R is surprisingly comfortable, especially compared to other sport compacts. Your daily commute doesn't have to suffer because of your weekend fun.

Seat comfort

The seats are superb, offering just enough side bolstering to keep the average person in place through turns without feeling confining the rest of the time. They're also very supportive over long distances.

Ride comfort

The Golf R has a firm ride compared to similarly priced luxury cars, but it's a La-Z-Boy compared to some rival hot hatches. Ruts and bumps are well-damped and rarely harsh. The standard adaptive dampers further improve the ride.

Noise & vibration

Tire and wind noise is minimal, especially compared to other high-powered sport compacts. The engine note has a fantastic snarl, and it sounds even better when the car is put in Race mode. You can also select the louder engine note individually.


Yes, this is a very expensive compact hatchback, but it's arguably the best in terms of practicality. The added R touches don't take anything away from that, making the Golf R a car you'd be happy to use every day.

Ease of use

The driver-centric controls are close, clearly labeled and easy to use. The touchscreen is better than those of rivals, thanks to sharp graphics, large icons and quick responses. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are also included.

Getting in/getting out

The wide and tall doors and a moderately high seat make this an easy car to get into and out of, especially for its size. Given that cars of similar performance are often coupes, this four-door hatch gains an even greater advantage.

Driving position

With 10 power adjustments for the driver and a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, drivers of nearly any body type will be able to find their ideal position.


The cabin feels spacious, and the back seat offers plenty of leg- and headroom for even tall passengers. This is as good as it gets for cars in this class.


Visibility is superior all around, and a high seating position gives the driver an unobstructed outward view. A rearview camera is standard but not entirely necessary, and the same holds true for the advanced safety features.


Unlike other high-dollar sport compacts, the regular Golf already has a near-luxury cabin with superior materials and switchgear. The Golf R sweetens the deal with standard leather and attractive blue stitching. In this case, the quality matches the price.


In general, hatchbacks gain an edge for their versatility and generous cargo capacity for the size. The Golf R is no different and gets a slight advantage for everyday usability as a result.

Small-item storage

We like the cupholders with an anti-tip design and the forward media bin, but the center armrest bin annoyingly doesn't open for extra storage space.

Cargo space

The cargo area has a maximum of 22.8 cubic feet with the rear seats up, or 52.7 cubic feet with them down, which is comparable to space in some compact SUVs.


A centerpiece of the new Golf R's tech offerings is an 8-inch capacitive touchscreen that responds when you hover a hand over the screen. Elsewhere, the Golf R offers a robust set of driver aids, including lane departure warning, automatic high beams and pedestrian detection.

Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 2018 Volkswagen Golf R.

Overall Consumer Rating

Most helpful consumer reviews

Loving VW Golf R
LaCa Golf R,05/20/2018
Had 2 GTI’s before this car. Loved them and decided to go for even more bang. It’s more than I need but super fun to drive. The tech on it is great and I enjoy driving this car. The suspension is sporty so you do feel the road, which I like. But avoid potholes.
Quick enough!
This is a small car. I traded my MB E350 for the Golf R. I wanted a sporty car that could be serviced locally. This car is for people who like to drive rather than sit and aim. It is a high performance car that is totally fun and it is fast. I am just through the 600 mile break in phase and am looking forward to upping the revs. The mileage is about 23 all around but I have not been concerned. The 13 gallon tank last about 2 week. The most fantastic thing about this car is the electronics and displays. The nav is fully integrated in the touch screen and with gauges in the dash. Make sure you talk to a salesman who knows the car. I have no regrets and do not miss the big Mercedes. Good luck!
Three GTI’s and Now Perfection
Rex Applegate,11/07/2018
My 2012 GTI (after an ‘84 and ‘96) was running fine but I felt a need to upgrade. Wanted all the latest tech (like on my wife’s ‘15 Audi Q5) and was thinking Autobahn. But I hate moon roofs! Nothing for it but to go Golf R. 3k miles later and I Love it! A ton more performance than my driving ability can use, but it’s nice to know than when you want to punch it the result is pure joy. Also like having a comfortable, practical, low profile hatchback that doesn’t attract attention. I don’t want to impress anybody, just enjoy my ride. And I definitely do!
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2018 Volkswagen Golf R video

[MUSIC PLAYING] KURT NIEBUHR: On my left is the 2018 Volkswagen GTI. On my right is the 2018 Volkswagen Golf R. They both look pretty similar. So what makes this one the GTI, and what makes this one the R? Let's find out. [MUSIC PLAYING] The entry level 2018 Volkswagen GTI starts off at about $26,500 and goes up to what this car costs, about 36 grand. All GTIs come with front-wheel drive, four-cylinder, turbocharged engines. This particular GTI has the Autobahn trim, which comes with bigger brakes, the same size brakes that you can get on the Golf R. The 2018 Golf R starts at about 39 to 40 grand with a 6-speed manual. It's also a two liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine, but it has all-wheel drive. This particular one has the DSG automatic. That bumps the price up closer to 41 grand. But there aren't really any other trims or options for the car. Is it really worth the extra money? [MUSIC PLAYING] The GTI has chunked up a bit over the last 20 something years. And it tips the scales at 3,216 pounds. The Golf R weighs about 200 pounds more. But you wouldn't know it based on the way it accelerates. We ripped off a zero to 60 time at 4.7 seconds. Shifts from the DSG were quick and aggressive, even chirping second gear. And the engine pulled hard right through the quarter mile. Try as we might, we just couldn't get the GTI to hook up. And our zero to 60 time suffered as a result. We suspected the Pirelli all seasons as the culprit and confirmed that suspicion as the day went on. Braking in the R was impeccable with consistent stopping distances and a low 106 foot range. The Golf R is faster for obvious reasons. It has more horsepower, But what's it like to drive? That's the important part. [ENGINE ROARING] One of the benefits to all-wheel drive is that you can use all of the power and the torque that the engine is making. The Golf R has all-wheel drive. So I can come out of a really tight hairpin, like this one, and I don't have to worry about feathering the throttle, managing wheel spin. I can just mash it. Even though you can get a 6-speed manual in this car, which is great, I love the fact that you can get a manual, the DSG is a fantastic gearbox. It's really fast. It's right with you. It knows what I want. It knows when I lift off not to upshift. It knows when I hit the brakes really hard like this. It goes down through the gears for me. It's a great gearbox. A great gearbox. [ENGINE ROARING] If I had one complaint about the Golf R is its weight. It just can't get away from how much it weighs. The front tires can get overworked and overheated pretty quickly if you start to push too hard. That's not saying that they're weak. You can cover ground at a pretty quick pace and they'll hold up just fine. But if you overdrive it, you'll lose the front tire. [MUSIC PLAYING] I think the Golf R is the pinnacle of practical performance. It's compact. It's fast. It has a hatchback. So if you really have your heart set on that nonexistent Audi S3 hatchback in the US, this is the car that you have to buy. Oh, it's good. [MUSIC PLAYING] So because the GTI isn't as fast, it doesn't have the raw speed of the R, you've got to work a little harder to make it go fast. But that's fun. And that's kind of always been the point of the GTI. You work hard and you're rewarded. I like that. [ENGINE ROARING] So this has front-wheel drive, not the all-wheel drive, which means you've got to pay attention on slow corner exits like this one. You come into it, and you can't just mash it. You've got to wait. And you still get wheel spin on the inside. This car does have an electronic limited slip, which helps a little bit, but you're still wasting power with wheel spin. It's really hard to find fault with a manual transmission in the GTI. It's just so intuitive. It's so easy to just rev match. Up shifts are positive every time. The gates are well defined. The action is right. There's really no reason not to buy the 6-speed manual. There really isn't. There is one knock against the GTI. I've got to say, it's the tire choice. These Pirelli all seasons just don't do the car justice. The chassis feels really good, and even without a limited slip in the front, or a proper limited slip in the front. It's still really playful. But the tires just give up really quickly. And they are loud and squealy. Listen to that. I wish this thing came with summer tires. The 2018 Golf GTI, it's got different ingredients, but it's the same recipe. What's not to like? Maybe besides the tires. Clearly, we love the GTI for the driving experience. It's fun, it's rewarding. But as the price climbs with options, it makes less and less sense. A $36 thousand GTI is a little hard to swallow, especially when the Golf R is looming just a few thousand dollars more. While the price tag might seem a bit expensive, the more time we spent in and around and driving the R, the more we were smitten with its mix of performance and comfort. At $40 thousand, we think it's right on the money. [MUSIC PLAYING] For more videos like this, hit subscribe. For full reviews on these VWs, be sure to go to Edmunds.

What's the Difference Between a Golf GTI and Golf R?

To the untrained eye there's little difference between the Golf GTI and Golf R. Under its subtly styled skin, the Golf R packs all-wheel drive, considerably more power and a more upscale interior. The GTI, however, stays true to its roots with its torquey engine and front-wheel-drive layout. So which of the two cars offers a better driving experience? Road Test Editor Kurt Niebuhr drives them back to back to find out.

Features & Specs

22 city / 29 hwy
Seats 5
7-speed automated manual
292 hp @ 5400 rpm
21 city / 29 hwy
Seats 5
6-speed manual
292 hp @ 5400 rpm
See all 2018 Volkswagen Golf R features & specs


Our experts’ favorite Golf R safety features:

VW Car-Net
Helps you connect with emergency services in case of a breakdown.
Front Assist
Warns you if you're in danger of rear-ending the car in front and applies the brakes if you don't.
Automatic Post-Collision Braking System
Automatically applies the brakes after a collision has occurred to prevent additional impacts.

NHTSA Overall Rating

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
    Overall4 / 5
    Driver5 / 5
    Passenger4 / 5
  • Side Crash Rating
    Overall5 / 5
  • Side Barrier Rating
    Overall5 / 5
    Driver5 / 5
    Passenger5 / 5
  • Combined Side Barrier & Pole Ratings
    Front Seat5 / 5
    Back Seat5 / 5
  • Rollover
    Rollover4 / 5
    Dynamic Test ResultNo Tip
    Risk Of Rollover13.4%

Volkswagen Golf R vs. the competition

2018 Volkswagen Golf R

2018 Volkswagen Golf R

2018 Ford Focus RS

2018 Ford Focus RS

Volkswagen Golf R vs. Ford Focus RS

Much like the Golf R, the RS throws just about all of the performance and features available from the Focus lineup into a screaming hatchback design. The RS dominates the Golf R in terms of power; with the RS' 350 horsepower compared to the Golf R's 292 hp, it's no contest. Still, the RS is an edgy design, inside and out. Some drivers will prefer the Golf R's restraint.

Compare Volkswagen Golf R & Ford Focus RS features

Volkswagen Golf R vs. Honda Civic

The Civic Type R Touring is a sublime blend of power, handling and light weight. The Civic Type R is the most balanced of this group, a fast car that's easy to drive both slow or fast. The Type R lacks the all-wheel-drive grip of the Golf R or the Focus RS, which would cause it some problems on a racetrack. Out in the real world, you'll never notice.

Compare Volkswagen Golf R & Honda Civic features

Volkswagen Golf R vs. MINI Hardtop 2 Door

Forget the Mini's cute and chipper image; this is the Mini gone bad. With pint-size power, the John Cooper Works edition is the Mini Cooper at its meanest. Unfortunately, it'll go hungry in this class since its 228 horsepower pales in comparison to the Golf R's 292 hp. The Mini JCW is, like the Honda, a front-wheel-drive machine, lacking the bite of its VW and Ford rivals.

Compare Volkswagen Golf R & MINI Hardtop 2 Door features

Sponsored cars related to the Golf R

2018 Volkswagen Golf R for Sale

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More about the 2018 Volkswagen Golf R

Volkswagen's legendary GTI is credited with introducing America to the hot-hatchback phenomenon, and the 2018 VW Golf R is a hot-rodded version of it. The Golf R has an even more powerful engine, all-wheel drive, and a suspension tuned for maximum grip and response. This is a serious performance car that will get your pulse racing, yet it has all the comfort and practicality associated with the Golf, which — though not terribly popular in America — is one of the world's best-selling cars.

At the heart of the Golf R is Volkswagen's venerable 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine, but not in the same form to which you may be accustomed. The Golf R's version is hypertuned for 292 horsepower and 280 pound-feet of torque. Both a six-speed manual and a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission are offered.

We've clocked the Golf R to 60 mph in a very impressive 4.6 seconds — just over 1.5 seconds quicker than we've seen in the GTI (and when talking about 0-60 mph times, 1.5 seconds is akin to 1.5 hours). EPA fuel economy estimates are 25 mpg combined (22 city/29 highway) for R with the new seven-speed automatic.

The Golf R has the suspension to back up that engine. With all-wheel drive to boost the grip, the Golf R is incredibly quick and responsive through the turns, and driving it fast is relatively easy and a lot of fun. The adaptive suspension ups the ante significantly, and though the steering is a bit lightly weighted for our tastes, switching to Race mode improves the feel significantly. Braking is excellent, although the standard-fit summer tires will need to be changed out for winter driving.

Most cars with the Golf R's abilities are unsuitable for day-to-day driving, but the Golf R is the exception to the rule. The no-nonsense dashboard is smartly trimmed and easy to use, leather upholstery comes standard, and there's plenty of headroom so you can sit up properly. The Golf R has a perfectly usable back seat, plenty of cargo space, and useful driver aids, including adaptive cruise control and forward collision warning with automatic braking and pedestrian detection. The Golf R comes exclusively as a four-door, making it a great choice for family duty. You can't say that about a Corvette.

If there's one drawback to the Golf R, it's the price — the bump over the GTI is significant, and many potential buyers will have to ask themselves if so much performance is really necessary. Volkswagen sells the Golf R as a four-door hatchback in a single, full-featured trim level. With such an easy choice, let Edmunds find you the best deal on a 2018 Volkswagen Golf R.

2018 Volkswagen Golf R Overview

The 2018 Volkswagen Golf R is offered in the following submodels: Golf R Hatchback. Available styles include 2.0T w/DCC and Navigation 4dr Hatchback AWD (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 7AM), and 2.0T w/DCC and Navigation 4dr Hatchback AWD (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6M).

What do people think of the 2018 Volkswagen Golf R?

Consumer ratings and reviews are also available for the 2018 Volkswagen Golf R and all its trim types. Overall, Edmunds users rate the 2018 Golf R 5 on a scale of 1 to 5 stars. Edmunds consumer reviews allow users to sift through aggregated consumer reviews to understand what other drivers are saying about any vehicle in our database. Detailed rating breakdowns (including performance, comfort, value, interior, exterior design, build quality, and reliability) are available as well to provide shoppers with a comprehensive understanding of why customers like the 2018 Golf R.

Edmunds Expert Reviews

Edmunds experts have compiled a robust series of ratings and reviews for the 2018 Volkswagen Golf R and all model years in our database. Our rich content includes expert reviews and recommendations for the 2018 Golf R featuring deep dives into trim levels and features, performance, mpg, safety, interior, and driving. Edmunds also offers expert ratings, road test and performance data, long-term road tests, first-drive reviews, video reviews and more.

Our Review Process

This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.

We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.

What's a good price for a New 2018 Volkswagen Golf R?
2018 Volkswagen Golf R 2.0T w/DCC and Navigation 4dr Hatchback AWD (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6M)

The 2018 Volkswagen Golf R 2.0T w/DCC and Navigation 4dr Hatchback AWD (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6M) can be purchased for less than the Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (aka MSRP) of $41,000. The average price paid for a new 2018 Volkswagen Golf R 2.0T w/DCC and Navigation 4dr Hatchback AWD (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6M) is trending $3,258 below the manufacturer’s MSRP.

Edmunds members save an average of $3,258 by getting upfront special offers. The estimated special offer price in your area is$37,742.

The average savings for the 2018 Volkswagen Golf R 2.0T w/DCC and Navigation 4dr Hatchback AWD (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6M) is7.9% below the MSRP.

Available Inventory:

We are showing 5 2018 Volkswagen Golf R 2.0T w/DCC and Navigation 4dr Hatchback AWD (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6M) vehicle(s) available in the in the Ashburnarea.

Which 2018 Volkswagen Golf RS are available in my area?

Shop Edmunds' car, SUV, and truck listings of over 6 million vehicles to find a cheap new, used, or certified pre-owned (CPO) 2018 Volkswagen Golf R for sale near. There are currently 7 new 2018 Golf RS listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as $38,941 and mileage as low as 0 miles. Simply research the type of car you're interested in and then select a car from our massive database to find cheap vehicles for sale near you. Once you have identified a used vehicle you're interested in, check the Carfax and Autocheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the 2018 Volkswagen Golf R. Then select Edmunds special offers, perks, deals, and incentives to contact the dealer of your choice and save up to $3,278 on a used or CPO 2018 Golf R available from a dealership near you.

Can't find a new 2018 Volkswagen Golf Rs you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

Find a new Volkswagen Golf R for sale - 11 great deals out of 13 listings starting at $18,709.

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Why trust Edmunds?

Edmunds has deep data on over 6 million new, used, and certified pre-owned vehicles, including rich, trim-level features and specs information like: MSRP, average price paid, warranty information (basic, drivetrain, and maintenance), features (upholstery, bluetooth, navigation, heated seating, cooled seating, cruise control, parking assistance, keyless ignition, satellite radio, folding rears seats ,run flat tires, wheel type, tire size, wheel tire, sunroof, etc.), vehicle specifications (engine cylinder count, drivetrain, engine power, engine torque, engine displacement, transmission), fuel economy (city, highway, combined, fuel capacity, range), vehicle dimensions (length, width, seating capacity, cargo space), car safety, true cost to own. Edmunds also provides tools to allow shopper to compare vehicles to similar models of their choosing by warranty, interior features, exterior features, specifications, fuel economy, vehicle dimensions, consumer rating, edmunds rating, and color.

Should I lease or buy a 2018 Volkswagen Golf R?

Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.

Check out Volkswagen lease specials