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Motor Trend Drives The Volkswagen Golf R: Video

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The new Volkswagen Golf R is the most powerful production Golf ever built by Volkswagen, boasting 256 horsepower and 243 pound-feet of torque from its turbocharged, 2.0-liter engine. Unlike the front-wheel-drive GTI, The Golf R sends power to all four wheels, ensuring the maximum amount of forward thrust regardless of available traction.

Compared to the GTI’s force-fed, 2.0-liter four-banger, the Golf R motor gets strengthened internals to cope with the car’s higher output. Customers in the U.S. get the choice of any transmission they want on Golf R models, so long as it’s a six-speed manual. Since the Golf R will be imported in limited quantities, Volkswagen isn’t offering the car with a DSG gearbox on this side of the pond.

As you’d expect, the Golf R is quicker than a GTI, reeling off the 0-60 run in 5.8 seconds (compared to the GTI’s time of just over 7 seconds). Like the GTI, however, the Golf R is saddled with the same performance Achilles heel: you can’t defeat the car’s stability control, making it safer on the road but slower on the track.

At a starting price of $35,360, the Golf R isn’t the most cost-effective way to go fast, either. As Motor Trend’s Carlos Lago points out, both the Mitsubishi Evo and the Subaru STI offer more performance for a comparable price, but offer far less refinement than the Golf R. While the Japanese models sacrifice comfort (and to some degree, build quality) compared to the Golf R, the German hot hatch is working overtime to make everyone happy. It may not be the fastest car around the track, but it’s the car you’ll most want to drive to the track, especially if its in the next state over.


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