Volkswagen Golf R (DSG) 5 Door Review
R you hot enough?

Story and Photos by Raymond Lai
10 Apr 2010

Some say that it's the daddy of all hot hatches but is the Golf R hot enough for our resident hot hatch freak?

R you ready?

I have a penchant for hot Golfs. After all, my car history includes a Mk 5 GTI and a Mk 3 VR6. The latter can be considered to be the spiritual forefather to the recently launched Golf R.

The Golf R is the direct successor to the Mk 5 R32 and will form part of Volkswagen's range from its newly created R GmbH division. The latter is a bit like what Audi does with the S line brand name.

On paper, the Golf R has plenty going for it - 256bhp, 0 to 100km/h in 5.7 seconds, a lightning quick DSG gearbox and last but not least, it's from Volkswagen - the folks that created the hot hatch genre in the first place. But the ultimate question on the minds of performance car enthusiasts is if the Golf R exciting enough in the highly competitive hot hatch class especially when its competitors include the 300bhp Ford Focus RS, the Golf's Scirocco R sibling and the upcoming Megane Renaultsport 250.

The Golf you see here isn't the first to be endowed with the R moniker. There were R models with both the Mk 4 and Mk 5 Golfs with the R32. It's not hard to differentiate the R from any other Mk 6 Golf model. There are no bonnet scoops or hugely exaggerated tailgate spoilers on this car, just understated sportiness and controlled aggression.

The nose features a radiator grille with high gloss black slats with a R badge on it and is matched by similar coloured wing mirror housings and darkened surrounds for the headlamp lenses. The front bumper features three oversized air intakes and LED daytime running light strips on either sides that give the R a distinctive face that is pretty different from the GTI's.

The flanks feature unique sill extensions while 18-inch (19s are an option) Talladega alloys look distinctive enough on a Golf even though they somehow look like a replica of the Audi RS 6's.

The unique darkened tail lamps with LED technology and the heavily sculpted bumper that features an under tray diffuser design that is so de rigueur on performance cars these days characterize the rear. In addition, the roof edge spoiler is slightly larger than the GTI's. The twin, centrally mounted and substantially sized tail pipes lurking with menace underneath are details that are carried over from the R32. Disappointingly though, the Golf R's tail pipes don't emit an exhaust note that is as striking, soulful and intoxicating as the R32's.

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Engine Capacity 1984cc
Engine Type V 4
Power 256bhp @ 6000rpm
Torque 330Nm @ 5200rpm
Power to Weight 177 bhp per ton


Acceleration 5.7s (0-100 km/h)
Top Speed 250 km/h
Fuel Consumption (combined) 11.9 km/L

Misc Technical Data

Transmission 6 -speed DSG
Drive Type F4


Body Type 5 Door Hatch
(L x W x H)
(4212 x 1779 x 1461) mm
Wheelbase 2578 mm
Turning Circle 10.9 metres
Kerb Weight 1446 kg
Fuel Tank Capacity 55 L


Brakes (Front) Ventilated Discs
Brakes (Rear) Discs