When I first got the Golf R 2.0 TSi DSG for testing, I was not one of those who stared at it with mouth agape. But once I started the engine, my machismo dropped a gear. It was as though I had unleashed the hounds of hell.
The subtle but noticeable growl emitted by the four exhaust pipes is enough to make any passer-by with blood in their veins do a double take. VW has kept the Golf 7 pretty much a family hatch with all the necessary safety features, as well as an efficient powerplant in the R version, generating 206kW between 5 500rpm and 6 200rpm.
I know you cannot normally say hot hatch and family car in the same sentence, but VW seems to have the recipe for success very much in hand. This edition of the Golf R has reaffirmed the iconic status it has in the market. For the aficionados out there, this beast gets from 0 to 100km/h in five seconds and has a governed top speed of 250km/h. All this power is laid down by way of 19-inch Bridgestone-shod alloy rims. With a tank capacity of 55 litres, and driving like I did, frequent stopping at fuel stations is a given — but oh, so worth it.
It has a combined (manufacturer’s claim) fuel consumption of 6.9l/100km. Talking of it being a family car as well as a weekend racer, the luggage or boot space is 343 litres. The Bluetooth connectivity allows you to keep both hands on the steering wheel to enjoy the adrenaline rush. The DSG gearbox adds the feeling of being in charge of all that power. The two different modes on the gearbox also give this car a Jekyll and Hyde personality — although you may have a problem determining who is who.
None of the features installed in this vehicle to assist the driver and keep this rocket in a straight line should ever be turned off. If you do, trouble will be just a corner away. Having waxed lyrical about this Golf R, I can only say that cars and technology have come a long way. The price tag of R528 300 for the vehicle I tested may seem a bit high for a Golf, but the pure excitement of driving a car of this calibre seems worth it. The standard warranty of three years/100 000km applies. The service plan is five years/90 000km with 15 000km service intervals.
The Facts: 2014 Volkswagen Golf R 2.0 TSi DSG
Engine: 1984cc, four-cylinder, turbocharged, petrol
Power: 206kW at 5500rpm
Torque: 380Nm at 1800rpm
0-100km/h: 5 seconds
Fuel consumption: 6.9l/100km (Claimed)
Top speed: 250km/h
Price: R483 500 (Manual) R499 900 (DSG)
–Sagie Moodley/Sunday Times Extra