With the exception of the quirky Beetle, modern Volkswagens display an understated style. So we shouldn’t be too surprised that this
little Golf is toting around nearly 300 horsepower and all-wheel drive. The Ford Focus RS has the attention of most shoppers looking for an all-wheel-drive hot hatchback, but should we really forget the
2016 Volkswagen Golf R so quickly? 292 horsepower and 280 lb-ft of torque may not sound like much next to the numbers for a Focus RS or a Subaru WRX STI, but the Golf R’s 2.0-liter turbo 4-cylinder will get you to 60 miles per hour in less than 5 seconds with the 6-speed DSG automatic transmission, and just over 5 with the 6-speed manual. The Golf R’s 4Motion all-wheel-drive system favors the front wheels but will apply torque to the rears when necessary, effectively mitigating understeer. Most cars like this wear performance on their sleeve – just try counting the RS badges on the hot Focus – but the Golf R is classic VW. Outside a few R badges, a tasteful aero kit, and its quad exhaust pipes, the R could easily be mistaken for a standard Golf or GTI. Inside, things are definitely a bit more luxurious, which is good, seeing as this hatchback’s price starts at more than 35,000 dollars. Heated leather seats and a leather-wrapped wheel, aluminum pedals and interior trim, and LED running lights caught our attention, although the 6.5-inch touchscreen seems unimpressive in today’s world of 7-, 8-, and even 10-inch
screens. The Golf R sacrifices a little power for a
lot of elegance. No shouty exhaust, no plaid, no ridiculous
Recaro seats. Shoppers always look to measure cars against the competition, but a good look at this VW makes us wonder: Is there really anything
like the Golf R on the road today?