Volkswagen Golf R 2.0 TSI (DSG) Review
The R Word

24 Oct 2018

arr I’m so angry! Ima look this way at everyone!

Volkswagen’s range-topping hatch, the Golf R receives a midlife refresh. There is still a part of me that laments the loss of that lovely V6 engine which graced the engine bay of the R32 Golf, the R’s predecessor. The current-day Golf R, in its second generation, is powered by a 2.0 turbocharged four-cylinder engine.

True to the R badge, the car comes across as a little more visually muted than the GTi. There is no red stripe which spans across the front of the car and into the headlamps. The facelift has definitely given the Golf R a new, slightly more aggressive-angry front end… arr I’m so angry! Ima look this way at everyone!

But what truly matters is that under the hood, the Golf R does get a 10hp bump up in power, taking its output to 290hp, and 4-wheel drive (4MOTION in VW language) driven through a new 7-speed durable wet-clutch DSG gearbox (known as the DQ381) built to handle the Golf R’s 380Nm of torque.

For a car with its compact footprint, the R offers a rather hard-to-beat proposition of bang for buck, if you do consider that the Porsche Carrera T we just wrote about hits 100km/h in 4.2 seconds, 0.4 seconds quicker than the Golf R. And the R seats 4.5 in comfort.

Within the cabin, there is a lovely engine note, accompanied by “DSG farts” from the exhaust when swopping gears under harder acceleration. Drive it in manual mode… Build revs, and punch that 2.0 hard, lift off, drop a gear or two, flick it into a bend, and ease on the throttle right after the tightest bit. The Golf R responds with just so much grip, while the car remains planted. The short wheelbase means that the car will occasionally twitch a little.

Part of this confidence-inspiring drivability can be credited to the cars wider front and rear track, and Volkswagen’s game-changing Dynamic Chassis Control (DCC), adaptive dampers which were available even with the first Golf R.

Intuitive in response to road conditions, the DCC offers a massive plus to owners, when you are done with tearing up the road, switch the DCC to “Comfort”, and the car offers a ride comfortable and silent enough for you to lull a baby to sleep in the rear… Almost like two different cars in one.

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Engine Capacity 1984cc Turbocharged
Engine Type Inline 4
Power 286bhp @ 5400rpm
Torque 380Nm @ 1850rpm


Acceleration 4.6s (0-100 km/h)
Top Speed 250 km/h
Fuel Consumption (combined) 14.1 km/L

Misc Technical Data

Transmission 7 -speed DSG
Drive Type F4
Steering Electric


Body Type 5 Door Hatch
(L x W x H)
(4263 x 1799 x 1465) mm
Wheelbase 2626 mm
Turning Circle 10.9 metres
Fuel Tank Capacity 55 L


Brakes (Front) Ventilated Discs
Brakes (Rear) Discs