By BOB GRITZINGER, Contributor | @bobgritzinger For the 2013 model…
Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone! <3 I figured in honor of most people’s least favorite holiday that I’d have a little fun and share one car that I’ve recently fallen head over heel-and-toe for.
It’s just a little crush…
Last fall, during the Washington Automotive Press Association annual Rally outside of D.C., I borrowed the 2016 Golf R for a lunchtime pizza run. I can honestly say I’ve not had so much fun running an errand in a very long time. I zoomed along the suburban streets, anticipating each turn as the navigation pointed me to my destination. Stoplights were even exciting because that meant the 292-hp engine would once again send me flying through the gears.
Now, if you know me, then you know I used to own a 2007 Honda Civic Si sedan (throwback picture of me and Spike!). In my six years running this site, I have praised the likes of the Mazda 3 hatch, the Ford Focus ST, the Golf TDI and the WRX STi.
What can I say? I love a fun, affordable, souped up, yet totally practical five-door (or sedan!).
I only have eyes for you, Golf R
I recently got the new Golf R in my weekly press loans and couldn’t have been more ecstatic. In preparation for its arrival, I carefully crafted my pitch to my more rational half that this is a second car we needed to buy.
The Golf R barely needed to land in our driveway before my husband texted me to tell me “We should get this car!” We spent the next seven days finding excuses to drive the car wherever we were going together — the grocery store, the office, a dinner date in the city. We couldn’t get enough of it!
More about my Valentine — the 2016 Golf R
The new Golf R gets a turbocharged 2.0-liter engine from its Audi S3 compact sport sedan cousin. With nearly 300 horsepower and almost as much torque, the Dynamic Chassis Control (DCC) system comes in handy, delivering power to each wheel equally and just at the right time. So yeah, you’re going to have to try harder to squeal your tires at the stoplight.
The 2016 Golf R receives a much-needed infotainment system update with a larger 6.5-inch touchscreen. Also, all Golf models now come with six months of VW’s Car-Net, including App-Connect a free feature we tested on the 2016 Passat. Given its near-$40,000 price point, the outgoing model’s center stack simply couldn’t be justified.
With its high level of functionality, comfort, excitement — not to mention a plethora of technology and advanced safety features — enjoying the 2016 Golf R requires no sacrifices.
Right now, Volkswagen’s biggest competitors to the Golf R have to be the BMW M2, Subaru WRX STi and Ford Focus RS, of which only the Ford comes in a hatch with four doors. It will be interesting to see which will be the biggest seller in 2016.
The layout of the Golf provides an impressive max cargo capacity of 52.7 cubic feet (with rear seats folded down) and adequate passenger room in both front and rear seats. The rear seats split 60/40 and even include a pass-through for long items such as snow skis.
Everyone will know that you upgraded from the GTI to get the extra 72 horsepower thanks to “R” badges the accent the grille, side panels, tailgate, and front seats.
There are a few ways you could examine the Golf R: as a costly entry-level hatchback or as a more affordable, more practical Audi S3. (We weren’t impressed with the legroom in that car.) Golf enthusiasts may only be willing to pay for the GTI trim level, but we have a feeling that the Golf R’s premium yet athletic persona will attract contenders who are cross-shopping the competition.
As for whether or not my crush and I will be wedded in blissful matrimony, the stars have yet to align. But if they do, I’ll be sure to update you!