It’s hard to come up with a better hot hatch than the 2022 Volkswagen Golf R. Unfortunately, it’s also hard to build such a sublime vehicle and also make it a bargain.
If you’re on a budget, VW will happily sell you a GTI and you’ll get about 80 percent of the Golf R’s performance. On the other hand, if you have the scratch, the Golf R is worth it.
Let me start this by saying that I considered the previous Golf R to be the all-around best enthusiast vehicle available in its price range during its time on sale. That’s particularly high praise coming from someone whose performance tastes generally gravitate toward V8-powered, rear-wheel-drive coupes, but I think Volkswagen had achieved something remarkable with the Mk7. It was a car that had the dynamic chops to hang with some very serious hardware out in the canyons but didn’t need to shout about it from an aesthetic standpoint, and it also sacrificed very little in terms of daily drivability and practicality to get there.
Beyond the fundamentals, the Mk7 Golf R had other important elements sorted out too – solid interior materials in a well laid out and comfortable cabin, a class-leading infotainment system with a nice-sounding stereo – that sort of thing. Automakers can get away with phoning in some of that stuff when it comes to their top-tier performance cars because enthusiasts tend to have different priorities than mainstream buyers do, but Volkswagen didn’t half-ass it. This is all to say that the Mk7 Golf R set the bar pretty high.
Volkswagen cannot seem to get away from software issues on its newer vehicles. This problem botched the launch of numerous models, including the Mk8 Golf, and seems to have returned now that every single example of the car is being recalled in Europe.
Drivers have been reporting gauge clusters displaying incorrect data, infotainment systems going offline, keys failing, and advanced driving aids that are perpetually on the fritz. The latter issue has also resulted in Golfs engaging in some erratic behavior, like erroneously triggering their own forward collision-warning sensors. This has left more than a few drivers complaining about cars stopping randomly in traffic as the automatic emergency braking system came alive.
The 2022 Volkswagen Golf R remains a potent backroad weapon – almost too potent.
I came to this conclusion while driving part of North Carolina’s famed Rattler highway. The Golf R, one of the hottest of hot hatches, was making me feel a bit like a superhero thanks to stout brakes, the ability to shorten straightaways, and firm and accurate steering that allowed me to place the wheels exactly where I wanted/needed them to be.
And all this while I was driving relatively conservatively because I was on a public road. Imagine this car unleashed on a track.
If Tanner Foust was given the keys to a Volkswagen GTI or Golf R, and told to track it at Willow Springs, all while being filmed by Volkswagen, what do you think the VW-sponsored professional driver would say about it?
Yeah, exactly. Seems CarBuzz either didn’t know or flat-out forgot to mention that Foust is sponsored by VW when it wrote a quick piece on how Foust was touting the virtues of the two cars. A piece that appears to be based on a Volkswagen media release.
The 2022 Volkswagen GTI and Golf R have been unveiled in the flesh (or sheetmetal, as it were) at the 2021 Chicago Auto Show.
The landlord came around yesterday. No, your author was not in trouble for throwing raucous, all-night shindigs, nor was he in need of a hooked wire to unclog a bathroom sink. The purpose of this visit was automotive in nature.
My landlord had just purchased a car, you see, and was understandably feeling pretty damn proud about it. Instantly, his choice of ride fostered an online discussion about visibility.
Volkswagen has revealed an updated R logo that it says will still symbolize performance while also representing the brand’s “fresh start” — its refocus on electric vehicles, rather than the diesel ones that got it into trouble back in 2015.
VW similarly rejiggered is brand’s main logo, eliminating its three-dimensional aspects for a streamlined version highly reminiscent of the symbol used through the 1970s, debuting the new (old?) design at this year’s Frankfurt Motor Show. But the R’s transformation has resulted in something entirely novel, abandoning the leftmost vertical line in favor of an abstracted representation of the letter.
However, tweaking the visuals of a single character doesn’t have much meaning in itself. All we really care about is whether or not the R badge will still denote the maximum performance available from various VW models.
It’s tumultuous times for fans of the long-running Golf nameplate. As Volkswagen slowly births an eight generation of the popular compact (an official European debut is scheduled for this fall), Golf devotees in North America find themselves having to say goodbye to a number of variants.
The Golf SportWagen and Alltrack? They’re gone after the current model year. There’s a strong possibility that the plain-Jane Golf itself will fade from view in the near future, leaving only the sportier versions to tempt hatchback buyers of greater means.
Speaking of sporty Golfs, the hottest of VW’s compact hatches will also stage a disappearance for 2020.
Fans of the Golf R, a machine generally accepted as being the most serious car … in the world, will have the chance to jazz up their ride with VW’s Spektrum Program, now available on the Golf R.
The program will allow customers to choose from 40 custom order colors in addition to the five standard colors. Price for such largesse? $2,500.
I’m about to get a new Golf R and everyone complains about the boring VW Golf design thingamajiggit. Yes. I find the boring classic outside to be comforting. I’m in it for the longevity of the design and body, and want to keep this until it dies or 10 years; I intend to ceramic coat the Lápiz Blue. It’s a manual, of course, and when the clutch eventually dies I may replace with a tougher version and chip it.
What I don’t like, and a major strike against the R in my mind, is that the interior is so dark as to make the interior basically invisible.
Last week I had the good fortune to spend a couple of days with Andrew Comrie-Picard, wheeling some gnarly Jeeps and riding along in psychotic 600-horsepower rallycross cars at a GRC event in Seattle. The Jeeps growled like Chewbacca on a bad fur day, while the rallycross cars felt like a freight train speeding up my spine and coming out my ear.
As with all good conversations, the topic frequently centered on cars. On the way to drive Jeeps, ACP posed a great question: What’s your definition of a supercar?
Not long ago, I wrote glowingly about the new Honda Civic Type R. Part of my praise was based on the fact that the Type R is bargain-priced compared to its competition.
Yeah, I liked the Type R. A lot. Even took a little crap in the comments for it (fair enough). But again, a big reason for my praise was the price. If the Type R was stickered the same as its three main competitors – the Ford Focus RS, Subaru WRX STI, and Volkswagen Golf R – would it still be “all that?”
On its own merits, sure. It’s very, very good. Great, even. But a strong argument can be made that all things being equal, the Golf R is even better. And I’m about to make it.
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