The Volkswagen Golf R is a turbocharged, all-wheel drive, stealth performance package; it is everything you love about the Golf Range, turned up to 11. The Golf R is exciting and sporty to drive, satisfying the thrill seeker while also performing surprisingly well as a daily driver - it is a Golf after all. With multiple driving modes and a subtle sporty flair, the Golf R has a real performance edge, while still remaining surprisingly spacious, comfortable and practical. We’re taking a look at the flagship Volkswagen Golf - the Golf R, and there’s a lot to like about it.
What we love
1) Efficient, powerful and well-engineered 2L turbocharged 4-cylinder petrol
2) A truly exciting and impressive driving experience
3) Flawless four-wheel drive system that works in the background to distribute power between all four wheels dynamically
4) Selectable driving modes as well as an individual mode
5) Wireless Apple CarPlay + Android Auto paired with a high-resolution, responsive 10” touchscreen
6) An impressive list of safety technology and driver assistance features
The 2022 Golf R is the flagship model of the VW Golf range, only offered in a single variant with two models - a hatchback and a wagon. All models are powered by a 2L, four-cylinder turbo petrol paired to a very responsive 7-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. All Golf R models are full-time 4WD with power sent to all four wheels dynamically.
The styling of the 2022 Golf R is understated and in a way that doesn’t scream ‘hot hatch'. To the untrained eye, you’d almost be mistaken for thinking it was a GTI. The styling of the Golf R is typically Volkswagen - a sleek, refined and mature timeless design that has shaped the iconic status of the Golf line for over 20 years. There are a few subtle hints to this car’s sporty capabilities - mainly the sculpted, reprofiled bumper, rear spoiler and LED matrix headlights, as well as the larger 19” wheels and quad exhausts. The story continues through to the inside, where they have kept it classy, yet subtle. The interior heavily mimics the GTI’s already excellent cabin design, with a couple of R exclusives - namely, the leather bucket front seats, carbon accenting, steel pedals and ambient lighting.
Features and Tech
As there is only one Golf R variant (and this is the flagship Golf), that means Volkswagen have gone all out - there is no base model here, only the top-spec, meaning you’re not missing out on much when it comes to the latest and greatest features and technology. Of course, there are plenty of optional extras you can add, but as standard, the list of features is impressive and generous. On the 2022 Golf R, you’re getting a central 10” infotainment screen with (wireless) Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a secondary 10” digital instrument cluster, matrix LED headlights, indicators and accent lighting, front and rear parking sensors, heated and vented drivers seat, leather seats and leather interior trim, keyless entry and start, a heads up display and more. Possibly the most interesting feature set (what we’re here for with any Volkswagen R series) is the R Performance package, which includes R specific driving modes, 19” lightweight alloys and an extendable, dynamic rear roof spoiler. This is where the R really comes into it’s own.
What’s it like to drive?
Now for the fun stuff - the performance and drive...
The Golf R is the most fun you can have in a Volkswagen, period... It sits low on the road, giving it a road-hugging profile and firm, sporty ride. The 2L turbocharged 4-cylinder petrol engine is tuned to output some serious power, with 0 - 100 figures at the sub-5 second mark. Everything about the Golf R is tuned for the drive; this is a driver’s car after all. The Golf R offers multiple driving modes (sport, race and ‘Nurburgring’ that tailor controls, suspension and ride, and the all-wheel drive system works flawlessly in the background to push power to exactly where it is needed and keep you on the line. Paired with a low ride height, tuned active suspension and larger 19” alloys, the Golf R has a real performance edge.
Despite being a performance car, this is still very much a practical, everyday 5-seater hatchback that you might actually want to take the family around in. Safety is paramount, and thankfully the Golf R hasn’t skipped a beat here. The 2022 Golf R earned a 5-star ANCAP safety rating, scoring highly thanks to its active safety suite which includes the most safety features of any Golf.
As standard, you’re getting: adaptive cruise control, autonomous emergency braking, lane keep assist, blind spot assist, parking sensors and cameras, driver fatigue monitoring, eight airbags and more. In addition to the onboard features, the electronically managed drive system, ESP and adaptive chassis control make the Golf R a very safe and controlled car to drive even at high speed, as the car actively works with you to keep you in control and stable on the road.
If you've got little ones be rest assured you have 2 ISOFIX ports and 3 top tether points located in the vehicle. We fit 2 rear-facing car seats in the vehicle, you may be able to fit 3 car seats across the back however they all need to be compact and front-facing seats to fit.
The 2022 Volkswagen Golf R is a real driver’s car, tailored for the unadulterated driving experience where the driver and car just work together. With subtle yet sporty, menacing styling, the Golf R has a real performance edge, while still remaining surprisingly spacious, comfortable and practical.
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Article was written by: Alex Spurway for carconnect.