Volkswagen of America confirmed that the U.S. spec 2015 Golf R will debut at the Detroit auto show next week. While at 290 horsepower, it’s down 6 HP from the Euro spec Golf R shown at the Frankfurt Motor Show last September but that still will be enough power driving through all four wheels to tick off 5.3 seconds in a zero to sixty run with a six speed fully manual transmission and an even quicker 4.9 seconds in the DSG dual clutch equipped R. That’s correct, U.S. consumers will finally have a choice of gearboxes in the R. Starting with the 2004 R32, VW has only offered either the six speed manual or the DSG transmission on American versions of the Golf R. (Read More…)
Westmoreland Rabbit! Say it with me: WESTMORELAND RABBIT! The minute Volkswagen announced that they would be building a new-from-scratch sedan in a new-from-scratch American factory, the cries of WESTMORELAND RABBIT were heard across the land, from MIVE to the “Emm Kay Eye Vee” forums. Westmoreland, of course, was the infamous transplant Volkswagen factory that gave us wide-taillight, square-headlight Rabbits with stupid-looking side markers and velour interiors and horrifying quality control and wallowing non-Euro suspensions and the Rabbit GTI, which is usually left out of the “complaining about Westmoreland” narrative. The fact that the “NMS” Passat would be considerably bigger and blander than the Euro B6 or the CC didn’t help matters.
Car and Driver gave the new Passat a first-place finish in its comparison-test debut and then, following certain rules of the industry, dropped it to last place in a follow-up comparison eight months later. Neither result stilled the cries of the Westmoreland Rabbit crowd. The Internet hates this car. The American public, however, loves it and VW’s sales are through the roof this year, largely on Passat momentum. For 2013-badged-2014, the Passat drops the not-quite-evergreen 2.5L five-cylinder in favor of a turbo four-cylinder with a rather odd cylinder head design.
After thirty-five fast miles in the TSI SEL, I was convinced that it wasn’t “Americanized” much at all. Instead, it’s a return to VW’s water-cooled roots…