By on June 17, 2016

2016 Volkswagen Golf R Lapiz blue

TTAC reader Gerard Van Ginkel writes:

I love your reviews.
I drove the Golf R last week and it was nice but it didn’t compare to my RS4. I was wondering, of all the cars you have driven recently, anything you would suggest that might be a reasonable replacement for this Audi RS4 monster?

Gerard obviously loves the horsepower and torque of his vehicle’s 4.2-liter V8, but the time has come to dump his German pocket rocket, which he identifies as a 2007 model. The 292 horses under the hood of the Volkswagen Golf R didn’t set Gerard’s heart on fire (or maybe the package was too Volkswagen), so what’s a reader to do?

Rather than have TTAC brass tell him what to do, we’re turning this question over to the minds of the Best and Brightest.

Put yourself in Gerard’s car-buying shoes and weigh in. With Golf R-level money ready to spend, what should this man buy?

[Image:  © 2016 Timothy Cain/The Truth About Cars]

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61 Comments on “Ask the Editor/B&B: What Should This Power-Loving Reader Buy?...”

  • avatar

    Ford Fusion Sport. 2.7TT V6, 325hp, 380 lb/ft torque. Essentially German.

  • avatar


  • avatar

    Mustang GT with the 5.0, add the Roush supercharger kit if more power is needed.

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  • avatar

    Chevy SS – may be the last of its breed, available with a 6-speed. It’s no Audi, but if he’s test driving Golf’s, this isn’t too far away in prestige or price.

    And if power is your thing, there’s always a Hellcat…

  • avatar

    I’m going to come down so hard on the first person who recommends an SUV/truck/restomod/FWD Volvo.

    It’s hard to come up with a rec for this, since he wants moar power, but limited to a Golf R budget. Since V8 Mustang has been addressed, I’ll go the other way and recommend the Genesis Coupe 3.8 Ultimate. RWD and 348 HP, slightly cheaper than the Golf R.

  • avatar

    I watched a smoke fest road test of a Lexus rcf. It was very appealing. V8 NA rev happy and looked like it drove very good with the wheels spinning. I love v10 noise myself. But that Lexus just had me, try one of those?

  • avatar

    A used RS5 or TTRS are the best options at $35k.

  • avatar

    It’s kinda hard to pin down exactly what Gerard wants. That RS4 is a beast. Don’t really know if he’s looking for only euro makes or if Japanese and American are also on the table. With that being said. Here are my picks:

    1. Late model e90 M3- doesn’t have the torque of the RS4 but is a V-8 screamer.

    2. New Mustang GT/ Used Boss 302- Won’t have the interior of a new Audi but won’t have the running costs either. Both cars are fun to drive.

    3. Chevy SS- small block LS, manual transmission. Might be bigger than you’re looking for.

    4. Lexus IS-F- some say it’s an acquired taste. See how you like it.

    5. CPO C63 AMG- Not too much else to say.

    6. This next pick is a wildcard. How ’bout a nice mid-trim level GTI *and* a streetfighter such as a BMW S1000R or a Yamaha FZ10.

  • avatar

    New Camaro SS. You won’t be able to see out of it but it handles and accelerates like a dream.

  • avatar

    Replacing an RS4 — an $80,000 car when new — on that kind of budget is a real challenge. Personally, I’d be inclined to keep the RS4 and use the budget on the inevitable high-four-figure service visits.

    But in the new market here are the choices:

    1) Camaro SS. The best performance for this budget, period.
    2) Mustang GT. Gives up a bit in performance to the Camaro but gains a lot in practicality and livability.
    3) Chevy SS. The previous-generation Camaro SS with four doors and a much nicer interior.
    4) The next-level-down Germans. Audi S4, BMW 340i/440i. These will perform almost as well as your previous-gen RS4, but at this price level you’re going to be looking at a bare-bones version.
    5) Used M3s and C63s. Not clear whether you’ll be able to afford anything in this category that’s significantly more up-to-date than your RS4.

  • avatar

    Accord V6 Coupe

  • avatar

    CPO 335 and have it chipped. Goes like stink and steers where you point it.

  • avatar

    How much money you got? Porsche GT3

  • avatar

    Power, refinement, affordability:
    Pick two.

    That said, I’d probably go with a Mustang GT and then supercharge it after the warranty was up.

  • avatar

    I think the GOLF R fail indicates Gerard is maturing. I think there is one car that will make him not miss that German thrust.


    • 0 avatar

      “I think the GOLF R fail indicates Gerard is maturing.”

      Why do you say that?

      • 0 avatar

        Not a remark about the R but about op. He did consider it, so he’s not hung up on the fact that it has hundred less horsepower. But he didn’t like sth about it. Either transverse, or non Quattro add. So either power delivery, or package… sth. Based on the little we know, my hunch is he is not looking for raw but perhaps more mature power. Hence the 425 lb ft torque and comparable to R hp – OK less but it feels like a lot due to torque – in a good package.

  • avatar

    CPO audi S4 in his price range and he knows the brand, perhaps if he wants new he will test a bunch and come back to the R.

  • avatar

    +1 on the Mustang GT or Camaro SS vote.

  • avatar

    Lebanon Ford Roushcharged Phase 2 Mustang…..duh!

  • avatar

    Tell him to call Lebanon Ford if he wants power for under $40k.

  • avatar

    To satisfy the need for speed, get a used motorcycle. With the left over money buy a sensible daily driver of whatever flavour fits the budget.

  • avatar

    Just to throw it out there, I could get a used 2011 Jaguar XFR (510hp) with 30,000 miles for less than a new base level Golf R.

  • avatar

    I bought a new Golf R last week. Love it. Would be curious to know more about why he’s rejecting it. At just under $40k, it can’t be beat. And it’s much more comfortable and practical than the Focus RS, if slightly less powerful.

  • avatar

    I’ll bet the Golf R lacked character. V8 > I4 turbo.

    With that said, Mustang GT and Camaro SS are good choices. Might as well consider a Challenger Scat Pack too, though it’s possibly too big and heavy.

    However, the RS4 and Golf R make me wonder if Gerard prefers AWD. The Fusion Sport could work, though I don’t know what that 2.7 EB sounds like. I’ll assume it sounds like a broken shop vac, and will suffer the same fate as the Golf R when compared to the RS4.

    RS4 and Golf R make me think a manual is desired, which rules out the Fusion Sport. I think Gerard wants:
    * power with character
    * AWD to put down said power
    * manual transmission

    For new, this leaves the WRX STI. I think the boxer rumble is pretty cool, though it isn’t everyone’s cup of tea.

    For used, he could try to find a 335xi with a manual (I think they exist?). It will be slower and it’s going to be damn hard to find.

    Either STI or or stay with the RS4. It sounds like Gerard likes the RS4, and there isn’t always a suitable replacement for an old favorite. Pay the mechanic what he wants and hold on to it.

  • avatar

    The Golf R is a great starting point. There may be an R400 version awaiting if VW didn’t divert all the development money to the TDI lawyers. There’s also the new-edition R4 which is nice, or the upcoming RS4 which should be sedate but powerful. Maybe an R5/RS5 someday and an RS3 and e-Tron based on the A3, which is based on the Golf R.

    If you leave VAGland, there’s always lightly-used Bimmers and Benzes that others here have mentioned. Has Jaguar done anything interesting lately? Chevy SS or Dodge Hellkitten?

    • 0 avatar

      Yes, Jaguar just launched the F Type SVR, but way out of the price range mentioned. You might find a used XKR in the price range.

      Actually, if I had to choose an F Type I’d take the V6 over the V8.

    • 0 avatar

      That should have been S4 and S5, not R4 and R5 of course. Note to self, don’t post early in the morning

  • avatar
    87 Morgan

    used X5M with the Dinan tune. Essentially a 640 HP AWD minivan. What more do you need?

  • avatar

    What does a medium equipped Mustang GT sell for these days? I mean actual transaction price? Surely it has to be within Golf R range. It is also driven by the correct wheels. There is a reason they are selling so well in Europe.

  • avatar

    Based on the 2 cars mentioned, the first answer was the best. FoRS.

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    Buy a Chev SS.

    It will give you a thrill and if you take care of it, it might become something with more value in the future.

  • avatar

    Unless it is physically falling apart, keep the RS4 and invest on the maintenance. I can’t think of a car today that is better than that RS4.

  • avatar

    G8 GTP
    Find a CTS-V that fits the budget

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