If I had to choose just one word to describe the all-new 2015 Volkswagen Golf R – the fastest and most powerful Golf from VW yet – I’d use stunning. This new hot hatch, based on the new seventh-generation Golf, is stunning to look at, stunning to drive (especially in “race” mode) and stunning to learn the window sticker price.
Nearly everyone I encountered during my week behind the wheel of the 2015 Golf R liked the body lines and sporty look of this new five-door hatchback. And they were just as shocked as I was to learn how much this Golf R fetches at the dealership – a cool 40 grand.
Forty thousand dollars – no ifs, ands or buts, no accessories, no more add-ons, and, most likely, no dealer incentives. The new Golf R we tested arrived in “pre-production” trim which means some things may change between this vehicle and the final production units rolling off the assembly line in Wolfsburg. The copy of the window sticker that arrived with this vehicle listed the body color as reflex silver metallic and stated in all capital letters this color is not orderable. Pity, as this car looks amazing in this color. In all fairness with regards to pricing, this model is the top trim level vehicle and VW offers it without a lot of the technology for under $37k.
That said, there is nothing more the 2015 Golf R needs or could want really. It arrives with a very strong 2.0L TSI turbocharged four-cylinder engine generating 292hp and 280 lb. ft. of torque. For its first year of production the new Golf R is only available with a six-speed DSG dual-clutch automatic gearbox with steering wheel paddles shifters. Next model year with add a six-speed manual transmission option.
The Golf R employs Volkswagen’s 4MOTION permanent all-wheel drive technology and used a Haldex 5 coupling differential. Other performance aspects of this hot little hatch include driving mode selection, launch control feature, adaptive sport suspension with four-mode Dynamic Chassis Control, ESC Sport stability control, XDS Electronic Differential Lock, front and rear vented disc brakes and 19-inch alloy sport wheels with summer performance tires.
For those concerned with fuel economy, Volkswagen has not only given the 2015 Golf R more power but it has managed to deliver improved gas mileage as well, up some 3 mpg over the previous model. The 2015 is rated at 23 mpg city and 30 mpg highway.
The 2015 Golf R shares the same architecture as the rest of the new Golf lineup in the form of the Modular Transverse Matrix design that is bigger, lighter and more spacious than before. The 2015 VW Golf was named new car of the year by quite a few prestigious automotive organizations, beating out the likes of the new Ford Mustang among others.
As a daily driver this new Golf R performed admirably and was very comfortable and quiet and surprisingly smooth despite its underlying performance character. The Drive Mode selector allows the choice of Comfort, Normal, Race and Individual settings that affect such systems as steering, throttle, transmission, suspension, etc. The first three modes utilize preset characteristics while the Individual mode allows drivers to “dial in” their own unique preferences.
As a competitive set, Volkswagen uses the BMW M235i and Mercedes-Benz CLA45 AMG along with the Subaru WRX STi. I would add to that the Mitsubishi Evo MR (while it is still being produced), the little Audi hatch and the upcoming Ford Focus RS. The Subie and Evo feature competitive pricing with the base MSRP of the new Golf R while the Bimmer and Mercedes fetch a bit more but they also offer more power and shave a bit of time off the 0-60 clock.
As for amenities, the Golf R is loaded. It arrives with comfortable, supportive leather seats up front along with leather-wrapped shift knob and multi-function sport steering wheel, Fender premium audio system, 5.8-inch touchscreen nav display, keyless access with pushbutton start, cooled glovebox, rearview camera and front and rear park distance control. The Golf R also featured unique badging, exclusive grille, trim and body panels, alloy pedals and metal door sill scuff plates and dual muffler with chrome quad exhaust tips. Now all it needs is a standard USB or Auxiliary port.
The 2015 Volkswagen Golf R is simply stunning. It is a blast to drive and that is even before reaching over and choosing “Race” mode. Although the rest of you cannot order this exact silver body color, it too is stunning to look at and truly accentuates the body lines of this seventh-gen Golf. Get past that stunning price tag and you have yourself one awesome little hatchback.