We drive the new Volkswagen Golf R
We love a hot Golf and the rest of South Africa does as well. The GTI nameplate has reached icon status over the years, in fact the GTI was, up until recently, the only modern Golf that you could buy. Now the German automaker has introduced the hottest Golf, the Mk8 R. We got behind the wheel recently to see what it is all about and if it is worth its near R1 million price tag.
The latest Golf R boasts a sporty and dynamic design that reflects its performance-oriented nature. With aggressive lines, a sculpted hood, and a distinctive front grille featuring the iconic R badge, the Golf R commands attention on the road. Striking LED headlights and taillights, as well as a sporty rear diffuser and dual exhaust outlets, further accentuate the athletic appeal of this compact powerhouse.
Step inside the Golf R, and you'll find a cabin that seamlessly blends comfort, sophistication, and modernity. Premium materials, including soft-touch surfaces, brushed aluminum accents, and supportive sport seats, create an upscale ambiance. The driver-centric cockpit features intuitive controls and a multifunction steering wheel, ensuring a seamless and engaging driving experience.
The Golf R is equipped with an array of advanced technology features that elevate the driving experience. The Volkswagen Digital Cockpit, a customizable 10.25-inch display, provides essential information in high resolution, while the central infotainment system offers seamless connectivity and entertainment options. Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and an available premium sound system further enhance the in-car entertainment experience.
Under the bonnet lurks the brand's tried and tested EA888 2.0-litre 4-cylinder turbo petrol engine produces 235 kW and 400 Nm. This motor combined with 4Motion all-wheel drive allows the Golf R to sprint from 0 to 100km in just 4.71 seconds. The Golf R still sounds purposeful, if less than sonorous. Our unit was equipped with the optional Akrapovic exhaust, which is lighter than the standard unit by a few kg and adds some gravitas to an already urgent exhaust note.
To enhance performance, the Golf R features a performance-tuned suspension, larger brakes, and an available Dynamic Chassis Control system. This combination ensures precise handling, responsive steering, and a comfortable ride, whether you're carving corners or cruising on the highway.
Volkswagen prioritizes safety, and the 2023 Golf R comes equipped with an array of advanced safety features. From adaptive cruise control and lane-keeping assist to blind-spot monitoring and automatic emergency braking, the Golf R provides peace of mind on every journey. Furthermore, driver-assistance technologies such as park assist and a rearview camera make parking and maneuvering effortless.
The 2023 Volkswagen Golf R stands as a testament to Volkswagen's commitment to performance, craftsmanship, and driving pleasure. With its striking design, luxurious interior, advanced technology, and exhilarating performance, the Golf R represents the pinnacle of hot hatch excellence. Could this however be the last petrol-only powered Golf R? We tend to think so. Is it then worth its hefty price-tag? That will be for your budget to decide.