VOLKSWAGEN last week launched their latest model which, arguably, is the hottest hatch on the road. There is nothing to touch the Golf R in this segment and for those wanting a high-performance hatch that is also at home on the school run, or blasting it full bore around a race track, then this is the car.
It is powered by a new two-litre, 206kW engine, which provides 18kW more power but is up to 18% more fuel efficient than the unit it replaces. Like all previous Golf Rs, the new model also transfers its turbocharged engine power to the road via a permanent all-wheel drive system.
Remember that glorious rain we had on Friday – well some would say it was not ideal conditions for a new car launch. The 300km drive started at the Port Elizabeth airport and then up to the Fish River Sun where the cars turned left inland to rejoin the N2 back to the high-speed test track at Volkswagen Motorsport in Uitenhage.
The permanent 4motion all-wheel drive has always been a trait of the Golf R and was perfectly suited to handle the tricky wet road. The car stuck to the road like blue soap to a baby’s blanket!
The all-wheel drive system has been further perfected by enhancements such as the Haldex 5 coupling which eliminates nearly all traction losses.
On the test track, in driving rain, we were able to hit 200km/h down the straight before entering a tightly banked corner and then back to the start. The car was a perfectly example of how research and development and technology can combine into a machine capable of handling most extreme conditions safely.
One of these is XDS, which makes tracking in bends more precise. The car is equipped with XDS at the front and rear axles. This brakes the wheels on the inside of a bend during fast driving through bends, optimising steering behaviour. This functionality is applied to a larger range of dynamic performance – making the vehicle more agile even when the car is not in an acceleration state.
Volkswagen claims the Golf R with a manual gearbox (only available in the second half of 2014) reaches 100km/h after just 5.2 seconds (previous model: 5.7 seconds). The classic 0 to 100km/h sprint is completed in 5 seconds with dual-clutch gearbox. The car’s top speed is limited to 250 km/h. Fuel consumption is down from 8.5 to 6.9l/100 km compared to that of the previous model. CO2emissions are improved from 199 to 159g/km. The Golf R 2.0 TSI 206kW DSG costs R486200 and comes standard with a five-year/90000km service plan, three-year or 120000km warranty, and a 12-year anti-corrosion warranty. Service interval is 15 000km. It’s brilliant!