I actually remembered this thread
from a while back. Since that was a theoretical one though, and I actually own the car, I thought I'd post a new one.
First off, since context is important, I'll say that I'm a long-time VW owner--and hater... Owned a '78 Scirocco (awesome until the strut towers rusted out), '84 GTI (taught me a lot about road side repairs!), and a '93 Eurovan (great when it worked. Eventually had to carry a bike with me at all times so I could get be assured to get to my destination). Electrical problems with the Eurovan just broke me on the brand, for a number of years. I ended up coming back for a simple reason: they're the only ones making a manual transmission wagon. Fast forward a bit, and I somehow end up with an Allltrack (tuned, modded a bit, awesome), and a MK7 GTI.
I picked the GTI up at a ridiculous price, and ended up driving it for a year and making about a thousand bucks on it. While I really liked it, it became clear that even with the differential, almost 300HP and tons of torque on a tuned GTI was more than the car really wanted to handle. Additionally, I may go down to one car at some point, and having it be AWD is helpful. Lastly, I like the idea of a well-appointed car without a sunroof. Enter the Golf R:
For some additional context: I'm cheap. I think 40K for any car is stupid. That said, I have the money and I'm not hung up about needed prestige for my $$. That said, after owning it for just a few weeks, I will say that I now believe the hype--and this is an over-hyped car. It actually is a blend of the Alltrack and GTI, which is what I expected, but I like it better than both by a pretty good margin. Engine:
what can you say? Even stock, it rips. Gobs of low-end torque, 300HP, and a bottom end and head that can handle a lot more power. I'll tune it eventually, but not go crazy. Transmission:
wince away, but I got the DSG. It's the better performing transmission in this car, and it's incredible. Stock programming is worlds better than the 6 speed DSG, IMO. I normally prefer driving a manual in traffic (weird, I know), but this thing downshifts as it should, and doesn't try to run away from me at a stop. In manual mode, shifts are lightning fast. I really like the gear ratios as well. Chassis:
so much has been said about it, but its even better than expected. The dynamic chassis control (DCC) is awesome. In comfort mode, even the stock 19" wheels weren't too punishing. On 18's, it's downright floaty--until you need it to not be floaty. In the normal mode it's still comfortable, but tightens up the feel considerably. Handling it taut, but not nervous. All of the superlatives used to describe the chassis are actually true.AWD system:
I'm familiar enough with the Haldex system to like it. FWD fuel economy, traction when you need it, and very flat handling. If you're looking for a drift machine, this isn't it, but it's almost free of understeer at the limits.Interior:
it's perfect, IMO. Just enough tech, but not oppressive, subtle styling that won't get dated, and awesome seats (have the same seats in my Alltrack). Utility:
great for what it is. Yes, the wagon has more room, but this thing is almost a small wagon. The fact that the rear hatch isn't massively sloped like most hatchbacks is the reason I own this car. I wouldn't work otherwise. While cars like the Civic Si claim more space, this space is more usable for me. Truth be told, for my purposes it will do almost all of what my wagon will do, with just a few exceptions. Of course, having a bit smaller dog now is a factor. My dearly departed 50 lbs pitbull did not really care for anything smaller than the back of the Alltrack. 2.0 decided to stop growing at about 30 lbs, and she's very content in the cargo area of the R! Styling:
also perfect. I'm a bit fan of the Getaway Car, and turns out, this is the perfect getaway car.
It's not flashy, but it won't look stupid in 20 years. I still think the '09 Jetta wagons look great. For some reason, German cars tend to hold their looks better than most, even if (or maybe because) they look less interesting at first.Other:
my insurance actually went down vs. the GTI? I guess this isn't as much of a bro car, and they're less likely to end up upside down at an exit ramp? The car has a 6/72 bumper-to-bumper warranty, which is crazy. Golf MK7's seem to be pretty reliable for major stuff, and the car is easy to work on.
All in all, I'm very happy with the 40K Golf! I cross-shopped a lot of cars when looking at it, from BMW F31's to 997's. Ultimately though, it just came down to needed a hatch, and actually like the slightly smaller vehicle. The only car that really compared for me was the M140i, but I actually preferred the Golf R. Plus, getting that into the US would have been...tricky... If I have any electrical gremlins in a year though, I'll make sure to get on the internet and complain.