Driven: Volkswagen Golf R Review

Driven: Volkswagen Golf R Review

Here is Motor Verso’s first drive review of the Volkswagen Golf R.

What’s the Volkswagen Golf R all about?

The Volkswagen Golf R is the fastest Golf ever made. The latest model has 300bhp, a 6 speed DSG quick fire gearbox and a four wheel drive system, so expectations are high.

The Volkswagen looks very much like the classic Golf GTi, it has very subtle yet sporty styling and with the 19 inch wheels, the Golf R certainly looks at its very best.

Volkswagen Golf R

Golf drivers can be anything from single moms, through to all-round car enthusiasts. And the Golf series engines range from the super-efficient diesels all the way up to the mighty R, which will blow your mind.

GOLF R SMMT 2014- (14)

The Golf is powered by a 2.0-litre, four cylinder, turbocharged engine that puts out 300bhp, can do 0 to 60mph in 4.9 seconds, and has a top speed of 155mph. It’s not often you get a hot hatch that does 0-60mph in under 5 seconds!

How does it drive?

300bhp, in a four wheel drive super-hot hatch, it’s got to be fun! This was always going to be something quite memorable, and my first drive in the Golf R was very exciting indeed. Jumping into the Golf and driving off gently, it could have been any other Golf in the range as it is still very refined, but the second you put your foot to the floor and the turbo kicks in; you’re in another world. The level of power in the 2.0-litre engine is immense, the car literally just launches and goes. There was a lot of grip from those 8 inch wide wheels, which may also have been improved by the Golf R 20mm lowered ride height.

GOLF R SMMT 2014- (6)

The car on test came with a 6 speed DSG gearbox, with flappy paddle controls on the steering wheel. The responsiveness from the gearbox was very good and gave the Golf an even greater race car experience. One of my favourite features of the car was the exhaust noise. The car sounds very raspy and when the turbo gets on boost it sounds amazing! I doubt you could ever get bored of hearing this car releasing its power, I know during my short time with the car I certainly didn’t.

GOLF R SMMT 2014- (2)

The car handles well, as does any Golf GTi, it’s simply brilliant with its nice solid chassis. The steering is very controlled and very well balanced, it feels like a great package and really rewards the driver when challenging the car.

GOLF R SMMT 2014- (17)

I doubt that anyone would get bored of driving the Golf R, in my experience it is just such an underdog of a car, driving on the road, normally, the Golf R is very well behaved and then on the track I was enjoying throwing it into corners without any problems or drama. This Golf is just magical, I came away very impressed and wanting more time with the car.

What’s it like inside?

The Volkswagen Golf R is a Golf at heart, obviously; everything inside is very functional it’s well designed, solid, and just works really well.

GOLF R SMMT 2014- (11)

The Golf interior is great with loads of great features including LED lighting, a media system with an 8 inch screen that supports CD, DAB, and MP3, nicely designed and supportive seats, and a very sporty flat bottom steering wheel.

GOLF R SMMT 2014- (10)

And even on the practicality side of things this Golf R comes out on top with five doors, automatic gearbox, and plenty of room in the front and back despite being a hatchback.

The Experience

To put this in perspective I drove the Golf R on the same day that I drove the McLaren 650S for the first time, and I think that the Golf R actually shocked me more than 650S. I knew it had 300bhp, and wasn’t very heavy, but I had no idea how enjoyable the Golf R as a complete package would be. I was blown away by both the performance and the handling. It is a very rewarding car to drive.

Volkswagen Golf R Review


The Golf R is a very affordably priced super-hot hatch that anyone in their right mind would want to own. I doubt there are many people that won’t be impressed by the 300bhp that is delivered in such a nice little package.

GOLF R SMMT 2014- (18)

I think we all thought that the Golf GTi was the best hot hatch available, but the Golf R has taken it to another level in performance. If I had to choose one car to drive for the rest of my life it would be this one!

Video Highlights


Volkswagen Golf R 2.0-litre TSI 300 PS 5dr 6spd DSG
  • Price: £36,335
  • Engine: 2.0-Litre Turbocharged
  • Power: 300bhp
  • Torque: 380Nm
  • Transmission: 6 Speeds Automatic DSG
  • 0-62mph: 4.9 Seconds
  • Top speed: 155mph
  • Weight: 1,495kg
  • Economy combined: 40mpg
  • CO2: 159g/km

Author: Paul Hadley