The car inspires so much confidence that you’ll invariably push harder from bend to bend. And when you’ve overcooked it with too much speed going into the turn, the XDS+ system will brake the inner wheels enough to guide you through the turn while maintaining optimal grip. Volkswagen has made it near impossible for you to plant their prized hatch into the bush (We tried!) unless you specifically aimed for the said bush! Fitted with a larger set of brakes, on these difficult roads, they anchored well with rather linear pedal feel and no fade throughout our hour climb up the hill.
Off the mountain roads, the Golf alternates back into a comfortable cruiser on the highway. Even at cruising speeds worthy of the Autobahn, it remains compliant whilst smoothening bumps and expansion gaps easily. The Golf R is definitely firmer than the GTI in similar driving modes and at lower speeds, the firmer springs are prone to low frequency bounce that can be annoying for everyone within which gives us a convenient excuse to go faster!
Given its price and configuration, the Audi S3 Sportback would appear to be its natural enemy in this segment. And if you stretch your budget to $300,000, the Mercedes-Benz A45 AMG becomes a target as well.
While both cost more than the Golf R, they don’t however differ significantly in performance and in the case of the A45, the Golf R’s adaptable suspension one ups it immediately. Despite similar performance figures with the S3, the $220,000 Golf is 25 kilograms lighter and $18,000 cheaper than its sister car.
Put it altogether and the Golf R suddenly appears very attractive.
*All prices correct at press time
Credits: Story and Photos by Benjamin G. Kline