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Juliet McGuire

First Drive in the enhanced Volkswagen Golf R

If you ask a South African what car they drive and their answer is a Volkswagen Golf, you know that they don’t just need a car to get them from point A to be point B, but rather that petrol flows through their veins. The Volkswagen culture in South Africa is like a religion and the Golf, its divinity.

More than 36 717 Golf 7s have been sold since it launched in 2013. 12 412 being Golf GTI’s and 4 050 being Golf R’s. That’s a 32.5% market share for Volkswagen Golf.

It’s no wonder really, the Golf is an almost faultless piece of machinery. But like anything, too much of a good thing can be bad…or in this case, bland. And when South Africans love performance cars as much as they do, the Golf GTI and Golf R come to the rescue.

CARmag.co.za was the first to break the news that the enhanced Golf R would be hitting our shores with its 2.0-litre engine gaining 15 kW more power to now produce 228 kW. It has 400 Nm on hand that should propel you to 100 km/h in just 4.6 seconds. It is the fastest Golf ever sold by Volkswagen. Read that sentence again!

AURAL PLEASURE

If you have an extra R39 900 to spend, opt for the new R Performance Titanium exhaust to experience the aural pleasure you so desire. Volkswagen has partnered with Akrapovič to bring you this exhaust system which is seven kilograms lighter than the standard system. The bubbles and pops will have you smiling like an idiot – it is that typical Akrapovič sound that is tight and finely tuned, but not too loud. It gives the Golf R a whole new sound. If you want to know what it sounds like, I’ve got you covered.

CAN YOU HANDLE IT?

Our launch route took us over a few of the Western Cape’s great mountain passes, namely the Franschhoek pass and Du Toitskloof pass. No matter how you want to take each corner, there is a confidence in knowing that this car is so securely planted to the road that you can go in like a hooligan and still come out the other side laughing. (Don’t drive like a hooligan though, just know you can).

NO, STOP IT!

There is also a new brake system on offer which is two kilograms lighter than the standard brakes. The brake pot is made out of aluminum and joined to the cast steel disc by cast pins. This means it can expand radially when heated. You will identify these brakes by a silver logo plate with R lettering on the 17” brake calipers. The cost will set you back R9 900

The enhanced Volkswagen Golf R is priced at R676 000 and comes with a standard five-year/ 90 000 km service plan and a three-year/120 000 km warranty. It is offered in the following colours: Tornado Red, Pure White, Atlantic Blue Metallic, Indium Grey Metallic, Deep Black Pearl Effect Oryx White Mother of Pearl Effect and the classic Lapiz Blue Metallic paint finish.

FINAL THOUGHT

There is no denying just how good this car is. Volkswagen fans will be extremely pleased with the extra bit of power and the optional extras that now take it to a new level. The thing with a Golf R is that it can just be your every day Golf, if that is the sort of drive you feel like, but it can switch in to a lively pocket rocket at the touch of a button and this is where the excitement lies…knowing its holds so much power.

Ian McLaren took the previous Golf R for a spin back in 2017 and speaking of its rival, said, “The question remains then, how much more value do South Africans place on an R badge over Vorsprung?” What do you think?

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