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2016 VW Golf R

The Car That Changed My mind...
2016 VW Golf R

What changed is the answer to the question I’m often asked: “If you could buy any car and money was no object, what would it be?” For the past decade or so my answer has been the VW GTI, which these days is known as a Golf GTI. The Golf R is a GTI and then some...

Its 2.0L engine has 292 hp and moves the R from zero-to-60 in less than five seconds; it has a six-speed manual transmission which just makes it so much more fun to drive; and it has VW’s 4Motion all-wheel-drive system, making it the perfect year-round driver, even in WNY! You may recognize this powertrain from the Audi S3. It’s EPA-rated at 25/31 mpg city/highway.

There aren’t a whole bunch of Golf Rs out there available for test drives (an internet search of area dealers turned up exactly... none), but I’m fortunate enough to know that the General Sales Manager at Basil VW, Adam Beck, just bought himself a new 2016 Golf R in Oryx White with a black leather interior and a six-speed manual transmission (a six-speed DSG® dual-clutch automatic transmission is available for an extra $1,100). A quick call and I was on the 990 heading up to Lockport last Saturday afternoon to take it for a spin.

One quick glance at the Golf R points out yet another difference between it and the GTI: it sits closer to the ground, which not only gives it a better stance, but a lower center of gravity never hurts in the handling department. It wears a set of exclusive 18” Cadiz aluminum alloy rims which fill the wheel wells nicely. The front suspension has also been reworked for 2016. Other than that, the Golf R is rather subtle about announcing itself to the world, with small R badges on the grille and rear hatch, as well as just ahead of the door on both front fenders. Four tailpipes poking out from beneath the rear bumper are also a Golf R exclusive.

The interior is nothing less than what we’ve come to expect from VW over the years: super comfort surrounded by high quality materials. And of course, the Golf R being a performance car you just know the seats (12-way power for the driver) aren’t just something to be sat upon. They envelop you as you throw the car around curves so your butt stays right where it belongs. The flat-bottomed steering wheel offers just a bit more room at the thighs. The dead pedal gives your left foot a comfortable resting spot when you’re not busy shifting. Being a compact, everything’s within easy reach as well as being simple to figure out. The back seat is very usuable for two American-sized adults or three underfed supermodels—or at least would be without Beck’s baby seat back there, lol. There’s also a good amount of storage behind the fold-down back seat easily accessible through the hatch. Too bad the only interior color choice is black, though; at least it goes well with the five (only five?) available exterior colors.

You can imagine driving a car like this is nothing short of a blast. I took it through some of Lockport’s country, curvy back roads and was not disappointed. As a matter of fact, it wasn’t until I got back to Basil and shut the car off that I realized I never turned the sound system on. The car’s powertrain was music enough as I went through the gears over and over again. But, just so you know, the Golf R does come with an AM/FM/HD radio with SD memory card reader and voice control, operated via a 6.5” color touch screen, which is also used to display the backup camera.

Pricing for the Golf R starts at $36,470 for the manual transmission model. Building one online shows that there aren’t a lot of options to choose from other than the automatic. None, actually. But none are really needed, as the Golf R is a complete car. To steal a line from Nissan, you might call it the four-door sports car.

And it’s baby-approved!

More info at:

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