My very first car was a Volkswagen Golf Mk2, and I loved it. It sailed through MOTs and only ever broke down when I had run out of petrol. It was the ideal for a first time purchase. Since then I have watched with interest as new models of Golfs have come onto the market. But I have to say I am most excited about the new VW Golf R, which, according to VW, will be the fastest ever hatchback, when it goes on sale next year.
According to latest reports, the new VW Golf comes with exactly the same 2.0-litre TSI turbocharged petrol engine as the VW Golf GTI, but will have a power boosting 296bhp. That constitutes an extra 69bhp more than the current top of the range Golf GTI, and 30bhp more than the old Golf R.
The new VW Golf R comes with four-wheel drive as standard, and a choice of manual or DSG automatic gearboxes. DSG stands for Direct Shift Gearboxes, an automatic gearbox which features two clutches and an electronically controlled gear selection. DSG is available in 6-speed and 7-speed versions.
The way DSG works it that as one shaft selects the first gear, the second shaft is already placing the next gear on ‘standby’. Then, as the gearbox changes to second and the second shaft becomes engaged, the original shaft puts third gear on standby, and so on and so on. This provides you with a much faster and smoother set of gear changes, making driving safer and more fuel efficient.
In fact, you can see how fast these gear changes actually are, by looking at the 0-60 driving times. The DSG fitted cars can go from 0-62mph in just 4.9 seconds, and those cars fitted with the six-speed manual gearbox drive the same distance in 5.3 seconds. Both cars manage a top speed of 155mph.
So we have established that the VW Golf R is faster and more powerful than its predecessor, but it is also more 18% fuel efficient. The Golf fitted with the manual gearbox returns 39.8mpg and emits 165g/km of CO2, whilst the automatic version returns 40.9mpg and just 159g/km.
Other exciting specifications include a clever braking system called XDS+, re-tuned to suit the new four wheel drive, which can brake the inside wheels whilst the car is cornering to improve grip. The VW Golf R also comes with a special ‘Driver profile selector’. Pick the ‘Race’ mode and immediately the suspension in the car firms up, the DSG keep the gears for a little while longer, and the response of the throttle is much sharper.
The VW Golf R comes with 18″ alloy wheels, or 19″ rims are optional, and is available in a three or five door version. It looks pretty meaty too, a large pimped up model, that will be instantly recognised on the road, complete with the fabulous throaty four exhaust pipes.
The VW Golf R also comes with a unique bodykit, a choice of 8 exterior colours, redesigned lights and quad exhausts. Interiors feature blue lighting and sports seats upholstered in cloth and Alcantara, ( a luxury type of artificial suede leather).
Although exact prices have yet to be announced, word is the new Golf R will start at around £30,000 and come with standard features such as air con, Bluetooth, parking sensors and a touch screen entertainment system.
For those who cannot wait until 2014, you can see the new four-wheel-drive Golf R at next month’s Frankfurt Motor Show.