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Volkswagen's new AWD Golf R is an upper-crust hot hatch with few foibles

13 Apr 2014

VOLKSWAGEN’S new-generation all-wheel-drive Golf R flagship is the fastest, most powerful and most high-tech version to wear the venerable nameplate.

The rorty V6 of the two-generations-removed R32 is firmly relegated to history, and in its place is an all-new 2.0-litre turbo-four that outperforms the previous 2.0-litre R engine across the parameters of power, torque and fuel economy.

This new Mk7 Golf-based R is also lighter than the old car, more nimble in the corners and has more standard equipment.

It also goes a long way to justifying its carryover $10,000 premium over the front-drive Golf GTI with its punchier and more sonorous drivetrain, and its prodigious AWD grip.

That said, adding a DSG automatic and leather seats brings its price to within a hair’s breadth of the closely related but decidedly more upmarket Audi S3.

Indeed, despite all its charm, this enemy from within — developed down the road at Audi HQ in Ingolstadt — looms as VW’s biggest worry.

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Model release date: 1 April 2014

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