Ride & Drive: 2015 VW Golf R
The new Golf R performance compact has arrived.
Larger, lighter, more spacious and equipped with the most powerful 2.0-liter turbocharged engine ever sold in North America, the 2015 Volkswagen Golf R is engineered to go head-to-head with the BMW M235i, Mercedes CLA45 AMG and the Subaru WRX STi.
Based on the seventh-generation Golf, VW fans have been waiting two years for the return of the popular compact performance R version.
After spending a week behind the wheel, it was worth the wait.
Equipped with Volkswagen’s 4MOTION permanent all-wheel drive system, a new sport suspension, a variable-ratio steering system and an ESC sport stability control system, the new Golf R delivers exceptional handling.
Under the hood, the new 2.0-liter turbo I-4 delivers 292 horsepower and 280 lbs.-ft. torque — 36 more horsepower and 37 lbs.-ft. torque more than the previous generation — capable of producing a 0-60 mph time of 4.9 seconds.
It’s also more fuel efficient, delivering an EPA fuel economy rating of 23 mpg city, 30 mpg highway.
The DCC adaptive damping system has three programs — Normal, Individual and Race mode for track use that has been specially designed for the Golf R.
With a base price starting at $35,595, the new Golf R is available in two packages.
The base Golf R package includes six-speed DSG dual-clutch automatic transmission, sport suspension, hill hold assist, rear window wiper, gloss black-painted brake calipers, rear roof spoiler, sport front/rear and side valences, heated washer nozzles, power-adjustable and heated exterior mirrors, Bi-Xenon headlights with adaptive front lighting system and LED turn signals, LED daytime running lights, leather-wrapped shift knob, tilt and telescope steering column, split-fold rear seat, alloy pedals, leather-wrapped multifunction sport steering wheel, power windows, cruise control, automatic rain-sensing wipers, automatic headlights, keyless access with push-button start, power outlets, power locks, driving mode selection, ESC Sport Mode, rear view camera, compass, color trip computer, automatic dual-zone A/C, 12-way power driver’s seat, heatable sport front seats, ambient lighting, leather seats, touchscreen radio with CD changer and SD card slot, iPod interface, Sirius/XM Satellite Radio, Bluetooth connectivity and automatic post-collision braking system.
The Golf R with DCC & Navigation package ($39,090) adds 19-inch aluminum-alloy wheels, DCC adaptive damping system, touchscreen navigation system, front and rear park distance control and a Fender premium audio system.
The Golf R interior is very well designed. The controls are intuitive, and within easy sight of the driver making it easy to keep your eyes focused on the road. The 2015 Volkswagen Golf R is an absolute blast to drive and I highly recommend a test drive — especially for compact performance enthusiasts.
Although initially introduced with the six-speed dual-clutch automatic, a manual transmission will be available later in the model year.
Neal White has been covering the automotive industry for more than 20 years and is affiliated with the Texas Auto Writers Association.
THE NUTS AND BOLTS
2015 VW Golf R
5- seat compact performance 4-door hatch
(Specifications for Golf R model only)
Golf R, Golf R w/DCC & Navigation
2.0L turbo I4 (292 hp/289 torque)
6-speed dual-clutch automatic
MT late model year introduction
EPA: 23 mpg city, 30 mpg highway
FUEL: Premium unleaded
Electronic Stability Control
LENGTH: 168.4 inches
WHEELBASE: 103.5 inches
WIDTH: 70.8 inches
HEIGHT: 56.5 inches
WEIGHT: 3,340 pounds
FUEL TANK: 14.5 gallons
TIRES: 18-, or 19-inch
CARGO: 22.8/52.7 cubic feet (behind first/second row)