The most powerful Golf is it up to the best sports compact on the market?
Earlier this year, we were able to discover the restyled version of Golf VII . Logically, its most sporting declination, the Golf R, benefits from the restyling and wins at the same time a handful of additional horses. It goes from 300 to 310 horses and can receive, as a bonus, a new option “performance exhaust” in titanium signed Akrapovič (for 3595 euros) giving it a raucous sound and a few threesomes at the foot. An option surprising enough to be underlined because it does not really reflect the philosophy of Volkswagen, which until now only imagined sporting versatile devoid of artifice to say the least exuberant.
Unfortunately our test version is not equipped, we will be satisfied with the classic exhaust system that already emits a rather nice sound. Our model will certainly be the most sold in view of its equipment: five doors and gearbox DSG seven report equip our version bardées options and, we will see, hurt enough at the time of the painful. The Golf R also faces two strong rivals within the same group with the Audi S3 and the new SEAT León Cupra. What can the Golf bring more compared to these two compact sports that are similar to it? This is what we will try to answer through this essay.
For a car that starts at 41\’900 euros, one would expect to have a rather complete series endowment. But looking closer, it still lacks a lot of equipment for the most upscale golf in addition to being the sportiest. Standard features include the reversing camera, adaptive cruise control, Active Info Display and LED lights in addition to the standard equipment now available as standard throughout.
Where the rub is when it is necessary to add 850 euros to spend from three to five doors, 960 euros for the Drive Assist Premium with Light Assist (Camera and or distance sensor with location of traffic signs, assistant of maintenance on the track, driving in traffic jams, parking exit and blind spot), 576 euros for electric seat adjustments, 1202 euros for the DCC system with controlled damping and selection of the driving profile, 1515 euros for the “Discover Pro” navigation system or 1150 euros for our 19 “ light alloy wheels ” Pretoria “ .
This is a total of 9183 euros of options that add to the 41\’900 euros, and we did not have all the options as for example the leather seats charged between 2250 and 3375 euros depending on the version. More than 50,000 euros for a compact, certainly sporty, it starts to really do a lot, without forgetting the 2773 euros penalty to add on the final bill
A refitted cabin?
Even if the adjustments and the assemblies were always at the highest level, it is clear that with the internal competition of the SEAT León and other Škoda Octavia , the Golf VII suffers from its high tariff and its interior benefits not frankly superior to those of his Czech and Iberian cousins who are however less expensive. Indeed, the quality of the materials has become quite some at this price level, almost without interest.
It is much less shocking in a SEAT León Cupra posted 10\’000 euros below. The restyling of the Golf VII brings a plus to the R version, with the needle instrumentation disappearing in favor of the Active Info Display (standard), the instrumentation of 100% digital instrumentation from Volkswagen. The “Discover Pro” capacitive screen in the center of the center console is a model of its kind in terms of responsiveness, ergonomics and navigation.
You will understand, if there is a real heading between the interior of an Audi S3 and a Golf R, which is explained because there is still almost 10\’000 euros difference between both, we do not find the same difference between a SEAT León Cupra and this Volkswagen Golf R, despite 10\’000 euros that separate them too. Our trial version, billed at a high price, also does not benefit from the electric seats. These are rather ergonomic, however, we would have preferred a more pronounced lateral support.
Before starting our part dedicated to the road, touch a few words of mechanics. With this restyling, the new Golf R has gained 10 horsepower and now peaks at 310 horsepower and 400 Nm of torque from the TSI four-cylinder block 2.0 liter (EA888, it is an Audi engine) indexed to a box robotic double clutch DSG to no more six, but seven reports. The Golf R is a four-wheel drive and inherits the brand\’s 4Motion all-wheel drive. Volkswagen announces a 0 to 100 km / h in just 4.6 seconds and a top speed electronically capped at 250 km / h.
The engine, we already know well since it is prevalent in many cars of the group, and especially in the sports (Volkswagen Golf GTI, SEAT Leon Cupra, Audi S3 …) It is a rather convincing and full engine good wishes. From 2500 to about 5500 rpm, it runs strong, very strong even, without breaking the load, and can easily roll up to the red zone before the gearbox shifts up – a bit too early for our taste – and Investigates new, ever more engaging climbs. Compared to the Golf GTI engine, several parts have been revised such as the cylinder head, the exhaust valves, the pistons, the high-pressure injectors and the turbo. The map has also been modified with a slight dip below 2500 rpm,
The “Race” mode , the most interesting for such a car, transfigures our Golf R into a real sport
Several driving modes are available ranging from “Comfort” mode to “Race” mode . In our view, the “Comfort” mode is the most useful for a smooth ride and a versatile behavior, ideal in urban areas or on highways with steady speeds. The “Normal” mode is not used for nothing, while the “Race” mode , the most interesting for such a car, transfigures our Golf R into a real sport. The management of the DSG box is different, the reports go higher in the turns (unless you lock the passages in manual mode via the small paddles at the steering wheel) and the sound is amplified and distils a roaring and raucous sound thanks to the amplifier.
On the road, what is it? A very correct chassis, with a traction behavior in the soul, helped by rear wheel drive. Technically speaking, the running gear is the same as on an Audi S3, just like the Haldex differential. Our trial version is equipped with adaptive suspension, and the difference is palpable in comfort from “Comfort” mode to “Race” mode . Steeper, it is not better held. It always has a tendency to crash on its cornering supports, even if the nose gear is still incisive and in no way under-steering.
An electronic differential lock is integrated in the ESP and distributes the torque on each wheel. It is also equipped with the front and rear axles of the XDS function that brakes the inner wheels during cornering to reduce understeer and increase agility. In fact, it gives very fast curves, far beyond what one might expect. If the “Race” mode is already reversing the intervention of the ESC (ESP), it is fully disconnectable and allows to afford some pretty sensations, still under the control of the four-wheel drive nevertheless.
The direction is progressive according to the speed and gains consistency at high speed. In fact it\’s nice, but quite unnatural with very little information transcribed behind the wheel. In terms of braking, the Golf R has discs of 340 millimeters at the front. These cash well different constraints imposed, hold rather well the temperature and recover fairly quickly.
It is true that we were a little demanding at first with this Volkswagen Golf R. But remember that within the same group, two other similar models are also trying to stand out. Concretely, the Golf has undeniably won in dynamism but still does not provide the small peak of emotion expected. We expected it after all, but knowing that the latest Volkswagen Golf GTI Clubsport gives the smile to the lips in the same register, besides the four-wheel drive, we expected something similar with this version R.
The advantage of our Golf R is that it can address a wider customer base compared to an Audi S3 for example. It is available in three and five-door version, in manual or DSG box, but also, and this is where the Golf stands out, in break version. Only the SEAT is better, for less expensive more, and even offers the choice between two or four wheel drive now (four-wheel drive available only on the break version). Anyway, the Volkswagen Golf R swims a bit between two waters. Far from being a bad car, it clearly does not justify the 10\’000 euros difference with a SEAT León Cupra which, in addition to that, is a little more fun to take in hand.