2022 Volkswagen Golf R evaluate: A fair hotter hatch

Blue plaid? Do not thoughts if I do

In case you’ve by no means seen, VW’s efficiency hatchbacks are color-coded, with the GTI leaning closely on purple and the Golf R counting on blue. That visible differentiation is a little more apparent this time round, thanks largely to a bright-blue strip that spans the width of the entrance finish, which nonetheless has a little bit of the ol’ sloping-brow look because of the brand new fascia. There are loads extra visible variations that set the GTI and Golf R additional aside from each other, just like the Golf R’s extra aggressive bumpers, 19-inch alloy wheels and the not-so-large-I might-call-it-obscene rear wing. Mix that each one and you’ve got a Golf R that lastly has some visible bark to match its chunk. The brand new look is kind of visually aggressive, though it is value mentioning that the wheels and wing on my take a look at automobile are a part of a Efficiency Bundle, so that you could possibly skip ’em should you want. (The early take a look at automobile proven right here is definitely a European-spec mannequin, and it is unclear at the moment if VW will provide this tools as an choice or if the corporate will simply bundle each US-spec automobile with it.)

The inside has a couple of key variations, but it surely’s largely the identical expertise you get in lesser Golf variants. R-specific touches embrace a great deal of blue distinction stitching, totally different dashboard trim and a very good pair of sporty entrance seats with built-in headrests and bitchin’ blue plaid inserts. The seats themselves aren’t so tight as to alienate elements of the American market, however they’re nonetheless supportive in the precise methods when the driving will get spirited.

In any other case, the cabin is simply as pleasant and purposeful as it’s on the GTI. The door pockets are carpeted to your pleasure and can maintain loads of junk, as will the glove compartment, however the middle armrest’s cubby stays too compact for, say, a handbag. There is a particular place forward of the shifter to your cellphone, which you’ll be able to shut into its dock for max distraction avoidance. The trunk will maintain loads for a automobile of this measurement, too, with about 13.5 cubic toes of storage on provide. The one actual usability bummer is the cup holder, which tries to be intelligent with transferring elements, however usually finally ends up incapable of doing its job, particularly should you deign to have two drinks up entrance without delay.

All the time hustlin’

The earlier Golf R’s efficiency at all times felt OK, however by no means nice, prefer it was a GTI that had gone to a tuner for some further pep in its step. That adjustments with this 2022 mannequin. The honkin’ tailpipes out again give greater than a delicate trace that there is one thing strong beneath the hood, which on this case is a 2.0-liter turbocharged I4 placing out 315 horsepower and 310 pound-feet of torque.

For these holding observe at residence, that is 27 hp and 30 lb-ft greater than its predecessor, and boy, howdy is that bump instantly noticeable. No matter drive mode, the engine and its seven-speed dual-clutch automated push me alongside on a wave of low-end torque, seemingly by no means needing to eclipse 3,000 rpm to get me as much as no matter velocity I would like. However when the time is correct, the engine will hustle at greater revs, screaming its four-pot tune to the surface world. Shifts in each instructions are lightning fast and devoid of clunks or different unfavourable attributes. All of it simply works.

Each 2022 Golf R comes with adaptive dampers and steering, so automobile drive settings ought to really feel the identical throughout all examples. Consolation mode does an honest job in day by day use, with loads of out there energy underfoot paired with a suspension that soaks up some, however not all highway nastiness — in any case, the alloys are massive and the 235/35R19 Pirelli P-Zero summer time tires are skinny. Sport corporations every thing up, and it is my choice for spirited driving — VW’s, too, as this setting is the default mode when beginning the automobile. Race is a bit too, um, racy for many American backroads and is probably going greatest reserved for observe days. However irrespective of the underlying modes, the Golf R appears like a distinctly distinctive mannequin this time round, providing full-assed efficiency that feels a complete tier above the GTI.

The beforehand talked about non-obligatory Efficiency Pack additionally provides Nürburgring and Drift modes; the previous units the automobile up particularly to deal with Germany’s legendary Nordschleife racetrack, and Drift eases up on traction management whereas ensuring the rear axle will get as a lot energy as it could. There’s additionally an Particular person mode if, like me, you need most of Sport’s advantages with out the detriment to journey high quality.

Is the brand new Golf R environment friendly? Yeah, I might say so. The EPA has but to launch estimates for this new mannequin, however for context, the earlier one managed 23 mpg metropolis and 30 mpg freeway, which is not dangerous for a strong AWD sizzling hatch. The numbers might development southward given the additional oomph, however powertrain growth being what it’s, I am positive VW managed to remain fairly near the previous figures. In my time spent not grinning like an fool in switchbacks, I see freeway figures proper round 30.

2022 VW Golf R

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2022 VW Golf R

Just like the previous Golf R, when you slide into the motive force’s seat, all that issues is having enjoyable. And don’t fret, enjoyable isn’t exhausting to come back by.

Andrew Krok/Roadshow

Infotainment largely successful, however some misses

Now that I’ve skilled VW’s latest, flashiest infotainment system in two totally different automobiles, I can see previous a few of Uncover Professional’s frippery and expertise its tough edges. Wi-fi Apple Automotive Play and Android Auto are onboard, and it is clear that VW understands the development towards smartphone mirroring, as a result of its native infotainment system just about seems like CarPlay on its 10-inch show. The {hardware} boots rapidly, but when my fingers are too quick, the system can begin tripping over itself, treating one faucet like two or simply straight-up ignoring my requests till it feels prefer it. These experiences are few and much between, and issues may very properly change for the higher by the point the primary automobiles arrive in showrooms later this yr, but it surely’s value mentioning. Two USB-C ports up entrance means units cost rapidly, however should you want to trickle, a Qi wi-fi pad is correct beneath ’em.

VW Group has been a longtime proponent of digital gauge clusters, and the story stays the identical right here. A 10.3-inch digital cluster gives up a powerful variety of types to peruse, altering what info will get your eyes’ precedence. You’ll be able to view a full-screen map or examine audio choices in larger element, however I want to depart the readouts in a extra conventional gauge mode. A head-up show additional reduces distraction by beaming automobile velocity, velocity restrict indicators and extra proper to your peepers.

Volkswagen might have gone a bit overboard on contact functionality, although. The steering-wheel buttons perform as each touchpads and common buttons, which might result in some awkward work on the amount slider. The local weather management is completely digital, which may be irritating, too, because it means swapping by means of menus to vary frequent capabilities like fan velocity. Temperature and quantity controls are accessible on sliders beneath the show, however for some cause, they don’t seem to be illuminated at evening.

Hopefully, among the Golf R’s technological kinks are ironed out earlier than its official US debut.

Andrew Krok/Roadshow

Right down to brass tacks

So, how a lot will the Golf R price? I don’t know. The outgoing Golf R was already a hair over $40,000 when it was discontinued again in 2019, and given the newfound options and energy in its successor, it is probably that the price of entry will rise. That is a tall ask for a Volkswagen Golf, even one as spectacular as this. However then once more, a Honda Civic Kind R is almost $39,000 today, and the VW does really feel extra premium, so maybe that is simply what state-of-the-art sizzling hatchery prices these days. For a man raised on cheap sizzling hatches, that is nonetheless a troublesome capsule to swallow, though this new mannequin will not be confused with a 1.8-liter Golf anymore.

In case you do resolve to take a dive into the deep finish, the 2022 Volkswagen Golf R is immensely rewarding. It is a hoot and a half on any highway, straight or curvy, and now greater than ever, it appears like a mannequin that may stand by itself as a real efficiency automobile.

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