Owners review of the fantastic VW Golf R DSG
Review updated by Jay Kay 25 February 2017 08:02 am | Motoring
For a long time I sat on the fence when it came to buying this car, but then one day I test drove it and bought it. So after nearly 12months of owning the Golf R DSG, is it still the car I fell in love with during that test drive?
Score 5.0 / 5 RRP £30500.00
Pros: Fantastic handling, power and grip. Subtle good looks and affordable to run
Cons: Electronic parking brake, changing the battery isnt straight forward
Top Speed: 155mph
Road Tax: G
Release Date: 2014-01-01
Verdict: This car truely is Jekyll and Hyde incarnate which is brilliant!
VW Golf R DSG on a track run
Back in 2014 when I first caught sight of Volkswagens Mk7 Golf R I loved it. The aggressive bi-xenon headlights supported with daytime LED's look quite nice and the side of the car looks as good as a hatch back ever could look. Then there is the rear of the car, which is my favourite part to stare at. I absolutely love those 4 rear exhaust tips. To me, they are among the best looking factory fitted on any car.
The performance figures looked even better: 0 to 62 in 4.9secs with a DSG and a limited top speed of 155mph, which rumours suggested could be removed upon request... that's blisteringly fast! A bit further reading showed that this was made possible thanks to AWD traction and a 2.0 litre 4cylinder 300bhp unit. It got better too because it was receiving rave reviews from the press as well!
So far so good then, its good looking, its fast, it has immense grip and nice power with power being sent to all 4 wheels. However once I saw the price I quickly stepped back and changed my mind. Over £30,000 for a hot hatch! Not only that but a Golf of all cars!! I remembered the days when you could buy a well spec'd hot hatch for half that cost. Not to mention that in today's money you can buy a BMW 3 series for that as well...
So with that in mind, I never gave the Golf R another thought until one drizzly Friday afternoon in March 2016, when I decided to do a test drive in the car I was sitting on the fence over. Not only was I about to test drive a VW Golf R DSG for the first time in my life, but it was also the first time I had ever driven a German car! Anway cutting a long story short, I loved the car and bought it! It beat off some stiff competition too, from the Audi RS3 to the FK2 Honda Civic Type R. The only close contender's being the Audi RS3 and the Mk3 Ford Focus RS both of which are fantastic car to drive.
It was a brilliant test drive which demonstrated what the car really is - a Jekyll and Hyde. A car capable of letting a software engineer like me drive as if he were Michael Schumacher! This thing is fast, capable and has many driver aids. The soundaktor might not be to everyone taste, but it does a good job of making the car sound more exciting.
Turning into bends at speed in this car is a joy too, where the car feels darty and agile - exactly what you'd expect from a small hyper hatchback. It gets better too, because as you enter a tight turn and floor it, you don't have to worry about spinning out and ending up in a ditch, because the cars 4motion and ESC make sure you're in safe hands! Just incase that wasn't enough excitement, the car has a launch control procedure as well!
When I test drove the BMW M2 last week, you saw that I said that it was better than the Mk7 Golf R for several reasons - it has a fantastic sounding 6 cylinder engine, it has fantastic steering wheel (although artificial) feedback, it has a snappy tail wave happy nature, all of which is wrapped in a very attractive looking coupe shell and this is good, very good! But that might not be to everyone's taste, you might not want to feel as though any minute now the rear end might come out and have you facing the wrong way, or worse still have you sitting in a ditch hoping you get recovered before the police arrive.
The Golf R DSG is the better car of the two in the real world. You have comfort, refinement and decent fuel economy for those drive's home from work or days out with the family. Then there's the Hyde side, where you might steal the car from the family one early Sunday morning and destroy a few B roads. The BMW is more of a weekend B road toy. Yes it can do the daily thing, yes it can fit children in the back seats and a bit of shopping in the boot. But can you really see yourself taking the BMW M2 to your nearest morrisons car park for the weekly shop??
Suddenly you realise then, that this £30,000 Golf is actually a bargain! It can keep up with the likes of the BMW M2 and the Porsche Cayman GTS on real world roads, yet these cars are a good 15 to 20 grand more. Thats the entry level price for these cars too, you then have to start spec'ing the cars where the Golf R comes with a lot of kit standard!
Then there is the boring stuff it does better, such as the road tax. For the Mk7 Golf R it is £185 for 12 months! The other two cars are over £500! Then there is the cost of tyres where BMW and Porsche will again be much heavier on the wallet. This is before we start investigating the cost of service and maintenance, where once again the Golf R is far cheaper.
A few months ago I did the 5 things i love about my car video, and the points in that video still stand today. The Golf R with DSG then is what everyone should want from a practical performance, daily driver car, and for that reason I give it 5 out of 5