Quick Drive: 2014 Volkswagen Golf R 2.0 litre 300 PS manual

Volkswagen Golf R 2014 2.0 litre 300 PS manual quick drive-9367

A 40 minute drive of the 2014 Volkswagen Golf R is certainly not long enough to do our usual in-depth review from. So, here’s a taster of the Golf R from our (all-too) brief encounter with it.

Quick facts

  • Most powerful production Golf yet
  • Fastest-accelerating production Golf ever
  • Around 30 bhp more powerful than the previous version
  • 18% more fuel efficient than last Golf R
  • Around 45 kilograms lighter than before
  • New ESC-cancelling in ‘Race’ mode is a first for the Golf
  • 0 – 62 mph run quicker than last R
  • New exterior facelift

Exterior notes:

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The VW Golf R is visually very striking. In the short test run, the R got plenty of attention from people of all ages. This thing combines a hard, focussed look that is altogether German, yet it is stylish enough to exude a degree of class. It’d fit in as easily at on the forecourt of a high class hotel as it would tearing up chunks of Autobahn. We love it!

This 2014 Golf R sports a new front bumper that houses massive air inlets, a modified radiator grille displaying the ‘R’ logo – just so you definitely  don’t mistake this for the GTI – and there are also integrated running lights housed within the bi-xenon light clusters. Matching sills and matt wing mirrors finish off the sides, whilst the rear has quad exhaust pipes to give you a clue that it’s a bit of a monster.

Interior notes

Pull open a door, and it’s obvious that some things haven’t changed with this new Golf R: it’s the usual no-nonsense, high quality interior that people have come to expect. There are large sections of piano black trim swathing various panels,and it gives the cabin a smart, contemporary look.

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The front ‘bucket’ seats look great are extremely supportive and decently comfortable, but people on the erm… larger side, let’s say, may have trouble getting into them, or at least getting comfy if they do, as the side bolsters are deep and thick. The rear seats are also pleasant, and have decent legroom too. Thanks to reasonable headroom and large windows, it’s also non-claustrophobic back there considering this is a 2-door hatchback.

Highlights for me also include the (optional) large 8″ ‘Navigation Pro’ touchscreen system, which has superbly clear mapping, pinch-to-zoom/enlarge the routes, and a great sound system too.

Engine & gearbox

The 2014 Golf R has a newly-developed 2.0 litre, 4-cylinder, turbocharged TSI version of the one used in the latest GTI’s, albeit a rather modified of it to cope with all the extra power it produces. On that note, it puts out 296 bhp (300 PS) from 5,500 – 6,200 rpm, and 280 lbs ft (280 Nm) of torque from 1,800 to 5,500 rpm.

With the DSG transmission you’ll cover the 0 – 62 mph ( 0 – 100 km/h) run in an incredible 4.9 seconds, whilst the manual version does it in 5.1. That’s crazy-fast for a Golf! At the limited top end you’ll hit 155 miles-per-hour. Not bad at all. UK mpg stats are: urban: 30.1, extra urban: 47.9, combined: 39.8, and the DSG will give you an extra 2 mpg over the manual, apparently.

Drive and handling

Slide into the deep driver’s bucket seat, fire the engine into life, and you’re greeted by a low, deep tone. If you’re just pottering about only two of the exhausts will be working, but once you’re on it all four kick in. For the majority of my road test I can guarantee I kept ’em all pushing gases through – after all, that’s exactly what the Golf R is all about.

This thing is a monster, and the soundtrack – which is partially artificial, boooooo – goes well with the car. Try to block out the faux-noise side of things by having the windows down, and as you accelerate hard you can plainly hear the turbo spooling up beautifully, and a roar from the quad ‘zorts. For me there were hints of my old Mk 2 Golf GTi in there as well. To say the least, it’s very satisfactory.

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Floor the Golf R and the rpm needle swings round quickly in any gear as the car builds its speed quickly and relentlessly even from low revs. Its engine gives a wonderful clean wave of power and torque right up to the rev limiter, and it feels more like a twin-turbo unit over a single. A trick high-power injection system makes sure the R has a constant feed of all the fuel it needs, which in turn also helps with the fuel economy too.

Around corners, the Golf R stuck to road like glue, the fifth generation Haldex 4MOTION four-wheel-drive system making sure the beast remains fully planted. Even when I really pushed it hard around the bends I was only rewarded with yet more confidence-inspiring grip and a minuscule amount of body roll, thanks partially to the optional Dynamic Chassis Control. Every single time I mashed the accelerator, the Golf R surged forward strongly and eagerly, and firing it out of a long flowing corner in the right gear gave me a huge rush.

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In the very short time I did some slow town driving, I noted the R’s suspension is liveable enough but still fairly firm even in Comfort mode. One final thing – whilst I’m a fan of manual gearboxes on sporty cars, the DSG ‘box is more suited to the Golf R. Heading hard around longer corners I really didn’t want to let go of the ‘wheel to change gear, and a set of paddle shifters would have been most welcome so my choice would be the DSG with optional paddles.

Any negatives? I noticed that at around 1,700 – 1,800 rpm the low exhaust tone reverberated unpleasantly in my ears. I’ve had people say they’ve experienced this from outside certain cars in the past (the Jaguar XKR-S being one), but this is a first for me.

All said though, the 40 minutes I had the Volkswagen Golf R were absolutely fun ones, but it was simply nowhere near long enough. More, I need more!

Do you own a 2014> VW Golf R? What are your views on it, and what are the best and worst points? Share your thoughts and leave a comment below!

Specs

Model (as tested)  2014 Volkswagen Golf R 2.0 TSI 300 PS 3dr 6-speed manual
Price  (Aug. 2014) £29,900
Engine  Petrol, 2.0 litre , 4-cylinder (in-line), 16-valve, turbocharged
Power, Torque  Power:  296 bhp (300 PS) @ 5,500 – 6,200 rpm | Torque: 280 lb ft (380 Nm) @ 1,800 – 5,500 rpm
Drive, Gears (as tested)  4 wheel drive (4Motion) | 6-speed manual
Top Speed, 0 – 60 mph, Euro NCAP  Max speed (limited): 155 mph | 0 – 62 mph: 5.1 (DSG: 4.9) seconds | Euro NCAP rating: 5-stars
Fuel economy (UK mpg), CO2  Urban: 32.1,  Extra urban: 47.9, Combined: 40.9 | CO2: 165 g/km CO2
Weight (kerb)  1,496 kgs (3,298 lbs)
Websites  Volkswagen UK

Words: Chris Davies | Photography: Chris Davies, Matthew Davies

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