Extra £150 on top of your valuation when you upload pictures of your car within 24 hours**T&Cs apply

Volkswagen Golf R review 2022


Are you ready for the Golf R? Boasting four exhaust pipes, an advanced four-wheel drive system, and an interior adorned with more blue cabin highlights than a British Airways jet, this Golf R exemplifies the pinnacle of automotive excellence.

At first glance, you may think the Golf R formula remains unchanged, and it’s hard to blame Volkswagen for sticking to what works. So without further ado, let’s start our review of the 2022 edition of the Golf R.

Key Takeaways

Sell my VW

Sell your car in 3 easy steps


What’s inside the Volkswagen Golf R?

The Golf R mirrors the fresh cabin design of the GTI, elevating its sporty allure compared to the previous-generation Golf. Both models feature a robust steering wheel with touch-sensitive controls that seamlessly commands a 10.2-inch digital gauge cluster and offers customisable layouts.

While the GTI delights with its signature plaid seat inserts, the Golf R takes a different approach, embracing bolstered front seats wrapped in luxurious nappa leather. These exclusive seats showcase captivating blue and carbon-look accents on the side sections, accompanied by a distinguished blue “R” logo embedded in the backrest.

The interior ambiance is further enhanced by the presence of lighting offering an extensive palette of 30 captivating colours. Stainless steel pedals and additional carbon-look trim on the dashboard add a touch of sophistication. Moreover, the new Golf R ensures exceptional cargo space and a comfortable rear seat, making every journey a pleasurable one.

How does the outside of the Volkswagen Golf R look?

The Golf’s evolution continues, showcasing subtle yet noticeable refinements in its exterior design. Embodying the unmistakable Golf DNA, the new iteration maintains its iconic two-box silhouette that has since been emulated by many rivals. However, both the surfacing and intricate detailing have undergone a fascinating transformation, exuding a newfound complexity.

At the front, the Golf R boasts a more distinctive appearance compared to its predecessors. The lower bumper is adorned with elegant manta ray-like upswept fins, gracefully intersecting the grille openings.

The slim LED headlights contribute to a sleek and modern look, although some might find the accompanying light strips between the headlights a bit clumsy. The near clamshell bonnet, although usually a delightful detail, can create a perception of a prominent forehead in automotive design terms, particularly when paired with the car’s tall glasshouse.

In its unassuming form with 18-inch wheels, non-Performance Pack cars possess a modest presence. However, opting for additional specifications can amplify the car’s aggression, especially with the larger stacked rear wing featured in the Performance Pack variant. For those seeking a more audacious statement, the availability of the larger Akrapovič exhaust system adds an extra layer of fierceness.

Interestingly, Volkswagen has chosen a selection of three colours for the Golf R – the iconic Lapiz Blue, alongside simple black or white options. Nevertheless, the wheel designs are thoughtfully crafted and complement the car regardless of size.

It’s worth noting that wheel finishes are limited to diamond-cut or black, and dedicated Golf enthusiasts may lament the absence of the Pretoria alloys. The Golf 20 Years models present a virtually identical exterior appearance, unless one dares to be bold and opt for the striking combination of white paint and blue wheels.

In the end, the Golf R’s design evolution encapsulates its distinctive character, blending sportiness and sophistication into an irresistible package.

View our post – VW Polo vs Audi A1 2022 Review

Performance of the VW Golf R

When considering the Golf R from a logical standpoint, it undeniably possesses impressive speed. However, its performance can feel dulled by its weight. Tipping the scales at 1553 kg, which is over 100 kg heavier than the larger Honda Civic Type R, the Golf R carries a substantial mass. Our own measurements revealed that the Golf R 20 Years edition actually registered a slightly lower weight of 1529 kg, but for a four-cylinder hot hatchback, it remains a significant figure that can present certain challenges.

Thanks to the potent combination of a high-torque turbocharged engine, 4 Motion all-wheel drive, and a dual-clutch transmission, the Golf R accelerates from 0 to 62mph in a swift 4.7 seconds. The 20 Years edition shaves off an additional tenth, achieving an impressive 4.6-second sprint, truly pushing the boundaries of speed.

In terms of in-gear performance, the Golf R showcases remarkable capabilities. However, there may be a slight delay before the turbocharged engine fully unleashes its potency when you put your foot down in a high gear. This sensation of sluggishness is a common trait among many modern performance cars, deliberately tuned to operate outside the powerband as much as possible to maximise fuel efficiency and minimise CO2 emissions.

Fortunately, this can be mitigated by selecting one of the Golf R’s more dynamic driver modes, which encourages the engine to remain more responsive. The 20 Years model experiences a similar quirk, albeit with a more pronounced surge of power at the upper rev range to compensate.

One notable advantage is the ability to decouple the transmission mode from the engine mode, providing greater flexibility. Should you decide to take control yourself, the new set of paddles behind the steering wheel allows for precise manual shifting. This enhancement is among the few but highly appreciated improvements introduced in the Mk8 Golf R.

Despite its weight-related challenges, the Golf R still delivers an exhilarating driving experience, combining power, agility, and innovative features that keep pushing the boundaries of performance hatchbacks.

The Golf R’s running costs

Amidst the new Golf R’s focus on fuel efficiency, notable features such as particulate filters, eco modes, and a dual-clutch transmission highlight Volkswagen’s commitment to sustainability. However, it’s important to note that, like many of its modern high-performance counterparts, pushing the Golf R to its limits will significantly impact its MPG figures, deviating considerably from the claimed values. While VW officially rates the Golf R at 36.2mpg, enthusiastic driving can easily result in figures in the mid-20s.

On the other hand, adopting a more relaxed approach during a gentle motorway cruise allows the Golf R to comfortably achieve over 40mpg. This noteworthy variation in fuel consumption serves as a testament to the extensive development and integration of advanced technologies within the venerable EA888 engine.

Volkswagen’s efforts to strike a balance between performance and efficiency in the Golf R are evident, providing drivers with the flexibility to enjoy spirited drives while still benefiting from fuel-saving capabilities during more relaxed journeys. The integration of these advancements showcases the evolution of the Golf R and its commitment to embracing modern technology without compromising its inherent power and dynamic driving experience.

Engine, gearbox and technical highlights

The new Golf R lineup consists of five-door models only, with no manual gearbox option. Three variations are available, all powered by the 2.0-litre EA888 turbo engine. The standard models deliver 316bhp and 310lb ft of torque, while the 20 Years edition offers 328bhp. The twin-clutch DSG transmission provides quick shifts, although there may be a slight delay in responsiveness due to the gas particulate filter. The 20 Years edition features software updates for sharper transmission and an anti-lag function. The Golf R benefits from refined suspension and offers options like adaptive dampers and a Performance Pack with additional features.

VW Golf

Our verdict

The Golf R has garnered a reputation as a car that elicits strong and differing opinions from those who have driven it. When seeking the perspectives of others, it becomes apparent that they either criticise it for its interior frustrations or find fault with its perceived lack of excitement despite its impressive capabilities.

Interestingly enough, there are those who ardently champion the sophistication of the 4Motion all-wheel drive system and commend its ability to fully exploit the potential of the EA888 Evo4 motor. Such is the nature of the Golf R, a vehicle that sparks debates and evokes contrasting sentiments among enthusiasts.

And remember, if you’re considering upgrading or selling your car, look no further than BigWantsYourCar.com for a hassle-free transaction, 7 day guaranteed valuations, and free collection.

Posted By: BigWantsYourCar

Date Published:
Share this!

Get a free valuation today

Value my car