Nice review of the VW Golf R which is the near-perfect marriage of refinement and rapidity.
If the Golf R looks like a mature hot-hatch inside and out, the driving experience doesn’t contradict.
It’s as easy and enjoyable to drive slowly to Woolies as it is to drive quickly along a winding country road.
Even if the firmer springs and dampers mean you’ll feel bumps a bit more through your seat compared with the GTI, the suspension is still relatively comfortable in hot-hatch terms.
And, as with the GTI, spending $1500 on the optional “adaptive chassis control” is worthwhile to introduce a more settled urban ride – by selecting Comfort mode – or a slightly tauter drive (Dynamic).
Either way, mid-corner bumps won’t upset the R’s trajectory and the new, faster-acting Haldex all-wheel-drive system – which no longer needs to detect front-wheel slippage before engaging the rear axle – delivers leech-like traction on greasy winding roads.
Less weight over the nose also makes the R feel a better-balanced car than its bigger-engined predecessor, though the R isn’t necessarily more thrilling to drive than the GTI.