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Volkswagen Golf R PDF Print E-mail

‘The Gentlemen’s Racer’

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The original Volkswagen Golf was initially launched in 1974.  It targeted the new trendy – and affluent – middle-class.  Spacious, sporty and visually stimulating, the Golf immediately became a hit.  . The Golf I marked the beginning of an impressive success story for Volkswagen with, to date, more than 30 million Golfs delivered.
In 1974 Volkswagen made its first ever loss of DM807m due to flagging sales of its ageing Beetle.  In May of that year, the new Golf was introduced, ostensibly as a successor to the Beetle (the Beetle continued for many years after that and was even built alongside the New Beetle in Puebla, Mexico, for a number of years).  The new Golf was bang up-to-date and featured a transverse, front-mounted engine and front-wheel drive.  Two motors were on offer: a 1093 cc, 50 bhp version, or a 1471 cc option delivering 70 bhp. The body was available as either a 3- or 5-door hatchback.  Styling was Giugiaro of Italy.
Earlier this year, at an exhibition entitled Techno Classica in Essen, Germany, Volkswagen held a show to mark ’40 Years of Golf’ where one of the originals was on show, as well as a cut-away Golf 1.  To mark the anniversary of the first Golf, which rolled off the production line on the Mittelland Canal 40 years ago, Hans-Joachim Stuck, one a Germany’s best-known racing drivers, was on hand in Essen to sign autographs.

Performance Golfs
In September 1975, VW launched the high-performance Golf GTi, featuring a 1588 cc engine with Bosch K-Jetronic fuel injection, delivering 110 bhp, giving a top speed of an impressive (for the time) of 180 km/h. Initially production was set at a limit of 5,000 units but such was the success of the new sporty Golf – and the attendant publicity that surrounded it – this was quickly reassessed and the Golf GTi passed into folklore as the top, sporting hatchback.
There have been many Golf variants over the years and there was success on the race track at numerous events around the world.  Now there is a new high-performance Golf: the Golf R.  Launched at the IAA in Frankfurt last year and now here in Hong Kong, the new Golf R is the most powerful in Volkswagen’s Golf line-up with 300 PS (295 bhp).  This equates to a benchmark 0-100 km/h time of just 4.9 seconds.
The new Golf R was conceptualised by Volkswagen R GmbH, and its aim is dynamic performance. The sports car is powered by a newly configured 300 PS (221 kW) TSI (turbo) engine, which is not only 30 PS more powerful, but also 18 per cent more fuel-efficient than the previous engine. Its maximum torque has also been boosted to 380 Nm. Maximum speed is electronically limited to 250 km/h (as with all volume European motor manufacturers) while the benchmark 0-100 km/h time is 4.9 seconds (5.1 with the manual gearbox).
To attain these values, the engine went through a development programme similar to that of an
engine in motorsports: fully balanced, direct injection, engines tested fully before installation. Drive is Volkswagen’s 4MOTION all-wheel drive system which delivers optimal traction under all driving conditions.  Prospective buyers can choose between a manual gearbox and an automatic dual-clutch gearbox (DSG). Few people will take their Golf R off-road but a track day is a definitely possibility and the Golf R offers an almost instantaneous race car with little alteration.  Standard features include a newly-developed progressive steering, bi-Xenon headlights and 18-inch alloy wheels with 225/40 tyres.

On The Road
At first glance, apart from its ultra-low profile tyres and 18-inch wheels, this could be any Golf from the extensive range.  Slightly lower than the normal GTI the Golf R also features massive front air intakes.
As with most top-end sports models, there is a selector: Normal, Sport or Race, which, in turn, stiffens the suspension and makes the exhaust sound a little harsher.  The ‘Race’ mode, however, instantly transforms this machine.  It is incredibly quick: this tester actually frightened himself momentarily on an uphill right-hander when the front right seemed to lift a little.  The brakes though are so good it is easily tamed.  In fast bends the brakes are lightly applied on the inside of the bends to optimise the steering.
Apart from the three available settings, it is possible to select individual preferences from an extensive list (too numerous to attempt during the limited road-test time available), which adequately demonstrates the extremes to which the Golf R can be taken.
Apart from its performance, the car is supremely comfortable, visibility is excellent in all directions and all ancillary controls fall readily to hand,  The interior is a subtle blend of carbon fibre and leather, while the sports seats are finished in a fabric-Alcantara mix.  An automatic climate control maintains a comfortable temperature, while the thick-rimmed, three-spoke steering wheel is wrapped in leather.
The all-wheel drive 4-Motion system with the fifth-generation Haldex coupling is controlled by an advanced computerised function that detects road conditions and driving styles.  When running on a comparatively light load or when coasting, it is the front wheels that do the work, with the rears uncoupled.  This contributes to the Golf R’s outstanding economy figures with fuel consumption reduced to 6.9 litres per 100 km, or up to 18 per cent more fuel efficient than the previous model.  When rapid acceleration is demanded, the rears are brought into action giving astonishing acceleration from all four wheels.

Standard Equipment
As you would expect from such an outstanding machine the Golf R is extremely well equipped.  The two-door model features a six-speed manual transmission, while the four-door utilises the advanced DSG gearbox.  Both systems can be activated by steering-column mounted paddle shifts, although in practice – particularly with the DSG ‘box – most drivers will leave it to its own devices.
Endless combinations of communication and media systems are fitted, too numerous to list here, while the power windows feature ‘one-touch’ activation.  In addition, a park control system ensures accurate, safe parking.
Safety is of course of paramount importance at this level of performance and all seats are equipped with three-point belts; a brake-pad wear indicator is fitted; and there are curtain airbags to protect both front and rear occupants.  The driver has an additional knee airbag as well as the usual front ones for front seat occupants.
Prices of the Volkswagen Golf R are HK$468,880 for the two-door manual and $ 498,880 for the four-door DSG model.

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Tech Talk

Engine: Two litre, 4-cylinderm four valves per cylinder; direct petrol injection, turbocharged
Gearbox: Six-speed direct shift gearbox or six-speed manual; 4MOTION four-wheel drive
Max. output: 300PS (295 bhp, 221 kW) at 5,500-6,200 rpm
Max. torque: 380 Nm at 1,800-5,500 rpm
Acceleration: 0-100 km/h 4.9 seconds (5.1 seconds manual)
Maximum speed: 250 km/h

 
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© 2018 Jeff Heselwood. All rights reserved.
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