2012 Volkswagen Golf R

The Good The Volkswagen 2012 Golf R's 2-liter engine gives massive power while all-wheel drive gives it an edge in cornering. In everyday driving the Golf R shows fine manners. A touch screen comes standard for stereo and phone control.

The Bad The available navigation system lacks real-time traffic data.

The Bottom Line The 2012 Volkswagen Golf R is a blast to drive on curvy roads, but can also handle the everyday routine, offering solid, if not cutting-edge, cabin tech features.

Editors' Rating
  • Cabin tech 6.0
  • Performance tech 8.0
  • Design 8.0
7.2 Overall

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2012 Volkswagen Golf R
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Price $33,990 MSRP $33,990 MSRP $33,990 MSRP $33,990 MSRP $33,990 MSRP
Cabin tech
6
8.7
...
6
8
Performance tech
8
9.1
...
8
10
Design
8
9.6
6
5
8

Review

Taming the hot hatchback

The phrase hot hatchback evokes compact cars with too much power for their suspensions and front-wheel drive, with excessive torque steer requiring a 45-degree turn on the wheel during acceleration. In the 2012 Golf R, Volkswagen maintains plenty of power while ironing out all the unpleasantness.

Instead of an unruly streetfighter, VW manages to make the Golf R into a refined pugilist, less kickboxer than Marquess of Queensberry rules. Part of the secret is an all-wheel-drive system, dubbed 4Motion and based on Quattro systems in Audi's smaller cars, eliminating torque steer in the Golf R.

Add to that modern suspension tuning, aided by anti-roll bars front and back, managing to tread an excellent line between comfort and rigidity. Then there is the steering, sharp with a little oversteer, making for very engaged handling. I faulted the electric power steering on the Audi TT RS recently, but in the Golf R, VW engineers show they got it right.

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Specs / Prices

  • MSRP $33,990
  • Brand Volkswagen
  • Trim levels 2dr
  • Available Engine Gas
  • Body style Hatchback
See full specs
model 2012 Volkswagen Golf R

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