If we felt a twinge of disappointment in the fact that the Golf GTI was a touch less exciting than it could have been, there’s no such feeling with the Golf R.

Here is a car that blends the sophistication that you’d expect of a Volkswagen with the rawness and sheer driver appeal of the best superheated hatches.

Matt Prior

Matt Prior

Editor-at-large
Only the greatness of the Focus RS keeps the Volkswagen from the top of the class

Of the current crop of 300bhp+ hatches, only the FK2 Honda Civic Type R and the Ford Focus RS remain the superior choice, with the Golf followed swiftly by the Mercedes-AMG A45.

And, arguably, the Volkswagen is a happier everyday proposition: at once capable of transporting you and your beloveds in comfort on humdrum daily errands before unleashing all kinds of entertainment when the right road or track day arrives.

With such a blend of sophistication and rawness, it’s hard to escape the feeling that this 'ultimate Golf' is a cult classic in the making.

Save money on your car insurance

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week