Volkswagen claimed a 0-62mph time of 5.1sec for the manual Golf R while it was on sale, while the quick-shifting dual-clutch auto model slices a further 0.5sec off the benchmark time to give a claimed headline acceleration figure of 4.6sec. As before, top speed is electronically limited to 155mph.
It was a streaming wet day at MIRA when we tested the DSG-equipped variant of the Golf R, but the natural advantage of four-wheel drive came to the fore during the acceleration runs. Even two up, full of fuel and in the wet, it was a 4.8sec 0-60mph car in our hands.
Look beyond that initial stat and it’s no less impressive. This car performs a standing quarter mile (13.4sec) almost a second faster than the second generation Ford Focus RS.
It’s quicker from 30-70mph through the gears, too (4.3sec versus 4.9sec), so you’re looking at an A-list hot hatchback with sweet gearshifts up or down from the DSG ’box.
What’s missing, compared with some big-league rivals – and, of course, Golf VR6/R32s up to and including the Mk5 – is the noise of a many-cylindered engine, so the Golf R again utilises a ‘soundaktor’ (sound actuator) for extra throatiness.
In short, it’s a hockey-puck-sized resonator that lives under the weather panel at the base of the windscreen, and it vibrates and resonates through the screen, making a noise – an artificial one, granted – akin to a bigger, throbbier engine.