Volkswagen The Golf R Review: 2015 Model | The Golf R | Car Buyers Guide

Volkswagen Golf R - Driven

The three little letters ‘GTI’ are ones that are synonymous with petrolheads. Even those that are not so aufait with cars are familiar with the acronym. “Ooh it’s one of those fast ones isn’t it?” you might hear them utter. And yes they are absolutely right and since its inception in 1976, the Golf GTI has remained the benchmark with the latest Mark 7 GTI showing no signs of it losing its crown just yet. It’s fun, refined, practical and most importantly fast. Volkswagen themselves, however felt it was night quite fast enough, and we now find ourselves in ‘R’ territory.
Volkswagen Golf R

To recap for those that might not know or even cared before, the Volkswagen Golf R was first introduced in 2006. It was a very exciting addition to the top end of the Golf range and back then packed a 3.2 litre V6 engine spitting out 250bhp. It was no slouch and proved a massive hit with the enthusiasts and remains so to this day. It made an appearance in the form of the mark 6 Golf in 2009 but economic doom and dwindling car sales firmly sealed the cars (and those like it) fate. Roll on 2015 and we find ourselves in the middle forced induction and car sales revolution. Fast hatches are back in fashion while turbo charging and excellent VW finance packages make them cheaper to run and more accessible than ever.

The latest Mark 7 Golf R now packs the same 2.0 litre 4 cylinder turbo charged engine as the current GTI albeit with a few modifications. The results however are quite staggering, squeezing 300bhp from the unit. That’s 50 more than the V6 packed. Witchcraft I hear you cry. Perhaps, but on the road coupled with Volkswagen 4Motion the Golf R feels like a very fast, very angry, but very capable car. It revs 1100rpm higher than GTI to 6600rpm. Mated to the 7-speed DSG automatic, torque delivery feels almost instant and linear throughout the rev range making it feel like you are covering ground at a freakishly rapid pace, and you are. 0-100kmh is achieved in 5.0 seconds flat taking you onto a top speed that is most likely illegal. Like any other Golf in the range, it will happily pootle around town, cruise contently on the motorway and pack the weeks shopping and three kids. Put your foot down however and you will reap the rewards.

Dynamically, is it as good as a GTI or the SEAT Leon Cupra, I would have to say no. It is one accomplished machine but one that just lacks that little bit of extra feedback and fun you get from either of the other two at the limit. The Volkswagen Golf GTI with Performance pack is all the Golf you could ever want and for the extra money, the Golf R may only appeal to the enthusiast.

In the metal, it is subtle looking machine but the devil is in the detail with every curve, bumper and spoiler designed to enhance performance and make it as aerodynamically slippery as possible. The result is the perfect looking Golf with a party piece at the back in the shape of four chrome exhausts stamping its power credentials on its rear end. Of course you still have all of the benefits of it being one of the best selling hatchbacks in Ireland.

Like a standard Golf 7 it is impeccably finished inside with R embroidered sports seats, blue LED strip lights on the sills and door cars and around the instrument cluster. With its attractive new price tag of €43,060 (down from €51,360) comes a generous amount of specification including 19 inch alloy wheels, 5.8 inch touch screen, Bluetooth, adaptive cruise control, climatronic air conditioning, sports suspension, R spec bodykit, park distance control, chrome quad exhaust pipes, electronic differential, R spec interior and R specific automatic bi-xenon lights and LED rear cluster.

As far as economy goes, the Golf can be as forgiving as it's claimed economy of 6.9l/100km. Use the power frequently however and you are not likely to come near that figure. As emissions stand at just 159g/km, the Golf R falls into Tax Band D at just €570, so if we have anything to thank the Green Party for, it is that.

Volkswagen may have dropped the huge asking price of the Golf R from €51,360 to €42,060 (3 door option) in an attempt to lure more curious punters. The Golf R left me with a feeling of wanting one instantly, but so did the Golf GTI. The Mark 7 Golf R is a perfect package for those who want fast, but the GTI with Performance Pack is the ultimate Golf drivers package.

Compare specs to an alternative car!
€ 45,750 when New

Key Facts

New Price
€ 45,750


The Golf R
First Launched
Engine & Transmission
Fuel type
Body Type

Running Costs

Tax Band
Average L/100km
Fuel Tank Capacity (L)
Fuel Tank Range (km)
CO2 emmissions (g/km)
Emission Standard EU


Engine (L)
Break Horsepower
Top Speed
Acceleration (0-100 km/h)
Fuel Tank Capacity (L)

Space & Practicality

Boot capacity (L)
Tyre Size Back
225/40 R18


Euro NCAP Star Rating


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