With all the “Oppo Car of the Year” hype, I wanted to test drive both the R and the GTI yesterday but ended up just driving the R, so at least I got to try the highest performance trim. First time driving any Golf of any kind ever.
This was a very 10 min quick drive as the salesman was being a douche and giving random excuses that they have “a set loop and we’re not letting anyone take it on the freeway as we’ve had a lot of accidents there this week plus construction”. Bullshit I could smell from a mile away as I literally took a Camaro SS from this very dealer last year and blasted down the very same freeway. Anyway, maybe because I told him I am not looking to buy today, just looking- which I do every time everywhere and no one’s had a problem for years, until this guy.
So back to the R, this was a 2015, with the 6 speed DSG, not the new 7 speed DSG. Man, they really mean compact when they say it. It looks so small from the outside, but the packaging is excellent. At 5’11” I was pleasantly surprised at the space in the front and even more in the back I could sit comfortably behind myself. The square roofline is awesome for headroom. Cargo space is decent but could be bigger. Wish the vehicle was a little more bigger personally, it felt snug. Not sure if rear-facing child seats and such would fit with a tall driver/passenger.
Interior was what you expect from VW, nothing more nothing less, but quality of switchgear feels and looks better than a comparable Japanese/American/Korean car in the segment. Seats were tight, the side bolstering especially but liked the sporty feel. Steering wheel wish I was softer feeling and thicker. Overall controls were logical and easy to use. Visibility was very good.
Okay starting off, I put it in normal mode, transmission in D. As with most DSGs. Crawling speed, stop and go is kind of herky jerky. But the steering feel is awesome, tight and precise. I took it down a residential street and ride was firm but very composed. Then we came to a curvy 45mph road, I put the transmission in S with normal mode. Floored it turning left across 4 lanes. Understeer right away, but it’s very controlled. This is no Acura SH-AWD. and then the transmission and engine really comes into its own. “Pocket-Rocket” is how I would describe. Handles great once on the move. Solid and planted yet feels small and nimble, excellent brakes, sounds good but I read it is artificially piped in. It was addictive. And just like that, the test drive was over.
Anyway, I asked if I could test drive the GTI and the douche salesman went on about how “it is my busy day and has lot of customers coming” when he was literally sitting on the golf cart doing nothing before and after. Screw it, 10 minutes in the Golf R was enough to convince me, I don’t think I am missing much by not trying the GTI. I want that power and AWD to put that down, I just checked the numbers online, 4.5 to 4.8S 0-60 for the DSG. Damn that’s fast. If the GolfR didn’t exist? Yeah a GTI why not. “taut”, “Zippy”, “Punchy” are the words that come to mind when I think back at it.
I like driving it. Wish it were bigger, maybe the new Mk8 version is but I understand it’s a compact hot hatch. I am not paying $40K or anything near that even with how good this is. Used is the way to go. $30Kish, yeah maybe. I still prefer midsize or bigger sedans, personally but I will definitely recommend the R to anyone looking for a sporty daily.
Relevant SmokingTire one take, Matt really likes it: