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Volkswagen brought the high-performance Golf R to the U.S., following a line of other tuned-up Golfs, such as the R32. Unlike most of its predecessors, the Golf R uses a four-cylinder engine instead of a V-6.
The new Golf's styling looks good, with smooth sheet metal running down the sides, and is enhanced by the body color grille for the R version.
VW gives its direct-injection 2-liter engine a big turbo, letting it generate 256 horsepower.
In two-door form, the Golf R's long doors make access to the rear seat possible.
The suspension successfully treads the line between ride comfort and sport stability. Standard all-wheel drive lends grip in hard cornering.
The Golf R sports dual exhaust tips sticking out from the center of the rear bumper.
The hatchback design means plenty of usable space.
The Golf R is equipped as a high-trim model, with leather seats.
Even without the navigation option, the Golf R comes with an LCD touch screen for phone and stereo operation.
VW uses electric power steering for the Golf R, but the tuning is very good, with reasonable heft and a semblance of road feel.
The instrument cluster includes an LCD in the center, which can show trip, phone, and audio system information.
The six-speed manual transmission is the only choice for the Golf R, both literally and thematically.
The phone system includes contact list integration, so you can see contacts on the LCD and use voice command to dial by name.
The satellite radio interface is functional, but not particularly pretty.
VW includes a number of audio sources, including SD card, CD, Bluetooth streaming, and its proprietary Music Interface, which can handle iPod integration.
Bluetooth audio shows track information on the screen.
The center display shows track data from a Bluetooth streaming source or iPod integration.
For new Apple media devices, you will need the 30-pin-to-Lightning adapter.
The Golf R's head unit shows the music library for a connected iOS device.
VW offers an audio upgrade to Dynaudio speakers, but the stock eight-speaker system is not bad. It could primarily use stronger bass and more power.