2018 Volkswagen Golf R
- 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
2018 Volkswagen Golf R pricingin Ashburn, VA
Which Golf R does Edmunds recommend?
Edmunds' Expert Review
Overall rating4.5 / 5
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.
Trim levels & features
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.
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.
Noise & vibration4.5
Ease of use4
Getting in/getting out5
Most helpful consumer reviews
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
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.
Volkswagen Golf R vs. the competition
2018 Volkswagen Golf R
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.
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.
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.
2018 Volkswagen Golf R for Sale
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 7AM)Available Inventory:
We are showing 1 2018 Volkswagen Golf R 2.0T w/DCC and Navigation 4dr Hatchback AWD (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 7AM) vehicle(s) available in the in the Ashburnarea.
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 $3,650 below the manufacturer’s MSRP.
Edmunds members save an average of $3,650 by getting upfront special offers. The estimated special offer price in your area is$37,350.
The average savings for the 2018 Volkswagen Golf R 2.0T w/DCC and Navigation 4dr Hatchback AWD (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6M) is8.9% below the MSRP.Available Inventory:
We are showing 12 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 15 new 2018 Golf RS listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as $40,105 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 $3,995 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 14 listings starting at $17,963.
Find a new Volkswagen for sale - 1 great deals out of 24 listings starting at $18,243.
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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.