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Volkswagen Golf R32 Review: Ridiculously, Rambunctiously, Resplendently Rapid

I had the opportunity to bring this car to the winding roads of Cameron Highlands for the weekend. Having owned a Skyline, WRX and driven an NSX Type-R, I dared to declare myself a hardcore JDM fan. However, this particular car - the Volkswagen R32, swung me around 180 degrees. Soon after, "Skyline R32" slowly became "Golf R32" on
OneShift Editorial Team
OneShift Editorial Team
14 Mar 2007

Stopping it

The brakes are fantastic. Previous-generation R32’s were never short of stopping power, but this car takes the cake. They literally bring the car to a grinding halt. The ABS works so well, they are terribly imperceptible. In fact, I never really knew if they interfered in the first place. Those ventilated front discs measure 345mm, while the 310mm ones in the rear are just as large looking.

You might not even notice the additional curb weight of 64kg, precisely the average weight of one passenger, or rather, yours truly. The pedal offers excellent biting power and remains extremely resistant to fade even after repeated jam braking from over 200km/h on the highway, thanks to ignorant lorry drivers who veer unexpectedly into the overtaking lane without so much as a sign from their signal indicators.

Is it worth the extras?

It takes a whole weekend of driving this VW to realize how much effort has been spent making this car a driving work of art, making it worth the $24,000 premium over the GTi or so ($146,000)

It filters out unwanted intrusions from road, wind and engine noise so much better than the previous generation R32, or its competitors. Then, there’s the deliciously backlit instrument displays. The HID lights were so bright, many road users thought I had my headlights on.

Best of all, the R32 ploughs through corners, and retains its composure when cruising on the highway. With a set of well spaced gear ratios that are longer than the GTi’s, a pair of seriously supportive front seats, and a really potent chassis and engine that shows loads of tuning potential (as if the power wasn’t enough).

The end result, is nothing short of a compact hatch that is endowed with the cornering abilities of a go-kart (of course, not as sharp and blatant), a “eat-you-up-for-breakfast” ability at 3 figure speeds, and best of all, the feeling that car and driver are thoroughly connected to the road. All this in the lap of executively appointed luxury.

Trust me, it wasn’t easy returning the keys back to VW.

Credits: Amery Reuben

Cars in this article
Volkswagen Golf R32 (DSG) 5 Door 2008

Volkswagen Golf R32 (DSG) 5 Door 2008

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