For there to be daylight between the two, the cheapest R – manual six-speed gearbox and three doors – is around £35k.
That makes it slightly cheaper than an Audi S3 (a car with the same running gear, a better interior and an inbuilt, four-ringed resistance to depreciation) and about a grand less than the more powerful, rear-wheel-drive BMW M140i.
The R has many virtues beyond its price, but its value advantage over the ‘premium’ competition is more slender than we’d ideally like.
The Golf R’s CO2 emissions land it in the reasonably sensible VED band G. With the DSG gearbox fitted, the Golf R is claimed by VW to manage 40.9mpg. We recorded 33.7mpg at a cruise and 28.7mpg as an overall test average.