Sprint Review: Volkswagen Golf R 

Sitting atop the Golf family tree and also jostling for position in the uber-hot hatch category, we took a quick spin in this Vrr-Phah monster to see what’s new for 2018/19.

What you need to know: South African Transport Minister Dipuo Peters, in case you were wondering who invented the term “VrrrPha”; or however it’s spelled. Implying high-performance cars with raspy exhaust pops during upshifts, our dark blue press demo even brought along a set of jolly expensive Akrapovic pipes.

Firing up to 310hp through the R40,000 exhaust system, the R also possesses 4Motion (all-wheel drive) and a seven-speed DSG (dual clutch auto) gearbox with multiple drive modes, steering-mounted shift paddles and a launch control for 0-100km/h in just 4.6 seconds. Despite some rather enjoyable efforts, our best time was 0.2 seconds off that claim.

More info: Nonetheless, that’s plenty fast enough to give all sorts of bigger machines a skrik at the robots. The brakes are equally superb with a single full-bore stop from 100km/h taking just 2.64 seconds and 37.66 metres. What impressed me even more though, was the Golf R’s exquisite handling and utter refinement.

It can tear around like a loud and hard lunatic but Jackal and Hydes into a smooth and quiet cruiser whenever you want it to. That’s thanks to a very clever suspension setup and decades of VWAG quality control. By comparison, the Golf’s competitors feel (and sometimes look) cheap and cheerful.

What else? It’s another advantage of the R – enthusiast will recognise it as something special while Joe Public may hardly notice the go-fast parts – especially if they’re hidden by this deep blue metallic paint. The sports seats are comfy and supportive, the digital instruments and cabin materials are finely detailed while the boot swallows up to 343L.

Watch out for: Those captivating 19-inch Spielberg wheels are covered in expensive 235/35 rubber with a ride some may describe as choppy. VW claims 7.2L/100km from the 55L fuel tank and while that may be plausible on a steady cruise, budget for a few more when you’re having fun. Also, there’s no volume knob and the base price of R676,500 is ridiculous for a Golf.

Why you’ll want one: A bewitching combination of power, finesse, handling and practicality wrapped up in the seemingly-bulletproof VW quality. If you can afford this level of expenditure, you won’t find many worthy rivals and VW even throws in a 3-year/120,000km warranty with five-year/90,000km service plan.


  • Engine:                        2L i-4 turbo-petrol
  • Transmission:          7-speed twin-clutch Automatic, AWD
  • Max. Power:              228kW
  • Max. Torque:             400Nm
  • Avg cons.:                   Approx. 9.5L/100km (claimed 7.2)
  • 0-100km/h:              4.80 seconds (claimed 4.6)
  • Top Speed:                 (claimed 250km/h)
  • List Price:                   R 676,500


0-10km/h: 0,33 seconds
0-20km/h: 0,70 seconds
0-30km/h: 1,07 seconds
0-40km/h: 1,46 seconds
0-50km/h: 1,89 seconds
0-60km/h: 2,38 seconds
0-70km/h: 2,84 seconds
0-80km/h: 3,40 seconds
0-90km/h: 4,03 seconds
0-100km/h: 4,80 seconds
0-110km/h: 5,57 seconds
0-120km/h: 6,41 seconds
0-130km/h: 7,33 seconds
0-140km/h: 8,49 seconds
0-150km/h: 9,71 seconds
0-160km/h: 11,00 seconds
0-170km/h: 12,44 seconds
0-180km/h: 14,22 seconds
0-190km/h: 16,15 seconds
0-200km/h: 18,24 seconds

0-100m: 5,60 seconds @ 110,42km/h
0-200m: 8,46 seconds @ 139,70km/h
0-300m: 10,86 seconds @ 159,01km/h
0-400m: 13,02 seconds @ 173,44km/h

100-0km/h: 2,64 seconds @ 37,66 metres (once-off)

Maximum deceleration G-force: 1.18G

0-10mph: 0,56 seconds
0-20mph: 1,16 seconds
0-30mph: 1,79 seconds
0-40mph: 2,55 seconds
0-50mph: 3,43 seconds
0-60mph: 4,54 seconds
0-70mph: 5,78 seconds
0-80mph: 7,24 seconds
0-90mph: 9,06 seconds
0-100mph: 11,13 seconds
0-110mph: 13,67 seconds
0-120mph: 16,79 seconds

1/4 mile: 13,07 seconds @ 107,90 mph

Maximum acceleration G-force: 0.79G

Altitude: 60m

All data captured by Racelogic® Performance Box

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