I test drove a couple R's when shopping to replace my GTI. They didn't really excite me at all so I went a different direction. I don't regret my choice.
Though to be totally fair the GTI and R are disappointingly close in the 5-60 test. My TLX could catch an R out from a roll apparently. But with launch control, or once the R gets rolling, fuggeddaboutit.
As far as the interior goes in the 7.5 R, to me it is definitely better than the GTI (as its available in the US) - even the $36K+ (MSRP) GTI Autobahn. Is it night and day, worlds better? Maybe not. And, much of what I consider "better" might not be what some people prefer. However, I'd imagine all the R's interior upgrades over the GTI to be objectively more expensive to include in the car.
First, the R comes with the higher-end center console (with the electronic parking brake). Since I don't mind the electronic parking brake, to me, the center console area is definitely nicer than the one in the GTI. The design is more upscale, with a covered cup holder and the auto-hold feature, too.
Another feature not available in any trim level GTI (in the US) is the digital gauge cluster. Some people might prefer the analogue. I was surprised at how much I now prefer the digital. It can have the appearance of a nice analogue cluster, but with a lot more features and customization. To me, it just feels more upscale and current with digital. Lastly, a few minor, but notable areas were the R's interior is "better" than the GTI's, are the perforated front seats, gray piping, and felt-lined glove compartment (GTI's went to hard plastic in 2018).
Seems that it's mostly stock caparisons (and the Golf R's $40K price) being discussed here, but I think it's also important to note some of the added features which make the R a better tuning platform than the GTI (and much of the competition), particularly when it comes to BIG power and performance upgrades. Obviously, its AWD is better suited to increased HP and torque than FWD, even with a diff (I certainly do not miss the wheel spin and hop that had to be managed in my previous GTIs and GLI, and those were all stock). But, it's also the larger turbo and beefed up engine internals in the R which definitely seem more ready for big power upgrades. There are a lot of R owners pushing crazy performance numbers w/ only a tune and minor bolt-ons, and their engines seem to be holding up just fine. Not saying a GTI isn't perfectly capable of accepting a tune, - the R just seems to have more headroom for large power increases without issue. Having said that, I certainly can't argue with the issues around the R's fragile clutch. It's one of the reasons I got mine with DSG.
Last edited by Charlie84; 06-30-2020 at 12:43 PM.
2019 GTI Autobahn manual with destination is $36890.
2019 Golf R manual with destination is $41290.
(41290-36890)/36890×100% = 12% approx. Difference per MSRP.
The fact that one can purchase a GTI for much cheaper does not mean that the R is necessarily overpriced. It really means that the GTI is not desirable and people are not willing to pay for them. In Aug 2017 I bought a GTI S manual for $20999 before TTL. The car was marked down close to 5K and they couldn't sell it. Yet at the same time they had a Golf R on the showroom at MSRP and they would not budge one cent. The R was gone in a couple of weeks.
The Golf R is the best "car" out of it's competition (Type R, Focus RS ((old)), WRX STI, Veloster N), but clearly it's not the best performance car of that bunch. It's the car for when you have another fun weekend car in your stable IMHO.
Last edited by Goingnowherefast; 06-30-2020 at 01:55 PM.
2017 Subaru BRZ w/ PP 6MT (SCCA TT T4)/B7 Audi A4 Quattro 6MT (The winter beater)/1.8L Rotrex Time Attack Miata 5MT/NB1 Chump Car Endurance Racing Miata 6MT
Performance hatch =/= sports car, so why treat it like one? It's hard to call it overrated when there's like 4 performance hatches for sale.
The performance baseline is so high these days that any real performance gains are going to be marginal. I wouldn't dare call a GT350 the most overrated muscle car even though a lightly massaged Mustang GT PP2 will chase them down on the track.
I am not associated with Weber-Stephens wonderful American-made grilling products, nor with Guy Fieri or Martin's Famous Potato Rolls.
people buying Golf Rs are a special bunch, they want the German feel and quality along with the unreliability that a VW carries. I personally think (having owned 4 Golf Rs) that it's the best value of a car in the market especially with the DSG. Manual is fun for a bit but a manual GTI feels faster around town due to smaller turbo.
I'd get another and maybe I will again, you never know. Please name a car for $40k that has a better transmission and can post such gains with a simple ECU tune.
Performance, qulity, finish and yea I can say reliability the Mk7s carry, it'll be hard to beat. AWD DSG combo FTW!!
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Previous: '95 Talon AWD 2.0T | '98 GTI 2.0 | '00 Jetta 2.0 | '02 GLI 2.8 | '07 GTI 2.0T | '09 GLI 2.0T | '00 A4 2.8 | '04 R32 3.2 | '12 R 2.0T | '01 S4 2.7TT | '14 ST 1.6T | '12 R 2.0T | '16 R 2.0T | '17 R 2.0T | '18 RS3 2.5T |
VW MK7 GTI/R Installation YT Vids: Schwabo
Compared to its competitive set (Civic type R, Focus R) the Golf R is a notch below, a little slower, a little softer, a little less grip, etc.
It's mid 13 second 104 mph hatch. It has been repeatedly reviewed as the least performance oriented of the three current hot hatches. This isn't new, and no amount of spin will change that.
Why is that even a bad thing. Why can't people just appreciate that while it lacks in outright performance compared to the other hot hatches, it has other redeeming features you appreciate? Instead its mandatory that people try and prove that it's the greatest car in every single way, as if VW doesn't have to make compromises like every other car manufacturer.
The point of the GTI constantly being discounted while the R always sells for MSRP or higher (around here, anyways) is a good one. It shows the market (or at least dealerships) think that the R is worth its price, while the GTI might not be.
The Golf R prioritizes refinement and ease of use. Some people appreciate this.
The Civic Type R is FWD-only and looks like a Gundam. Some people appreciate this.
The WRX STi is old-school Subaru. Some people appreciate this.
The Veloster N is slightly crude, rowdy fun in a bizarre package. Some people appreciate this.
The Focus RS ride quality is decidedly uncompromised by concern for a smooth ride. Some people appreciate this.
Lots of tasty flavors to choose from. If you don't want to deal with any of the above compromises, you'll need to spend more money.
Last edited by unhappymeal; 06-30-2020 at 05:56 PM.
I personally don't care that much about all that anyway, now that I know how the car performs from my daily experience. It's good enough for me.
My point was simply that I don't think its fair (or accurate) to say the R has "not that great of performance" relative to other sporty cars in the $35K-low$40K range. I can say, in the real world, it puts its power down with no issues and handles great. And, yes it has plenty of redeeming features that matter more to me than winning a car magazine pissing contest. I listed a number of those things which add to what you get in the Golf R over a loaded GTI Autobahn, because the fact is, there are some more "upscale" features worth noting in the R. Additionally, I added the differences in the engine internals and bigger turbo, which definitely makes it a formidable platform to modify into a truly capable performance car (for the money).
Other redeeming features....Styling is totally subjective, but to me it's the best looking car in the segment, too. Although the 7.5 GTI has some details I'm a little more fond of. Also, I can cart the parents or mother-in-law around in comfort, and park it at work without feeling like an early 2000's Wings West commercial (I'm looking at you Civic Type R)
I don't know where you got the idea from my initial post that I was trying to prove "it's the greatest car in every single way." That said, it's probably the best car for what I am looking for in the $40K price range, and checks the most boxes for my personal preferences. That's totally fine that the same isn't true for everyone.
Since part my post was/is also directed at the click bait title of the thread, I'll add a bit more:
I don't think the R is the "most overrated performance car of the decade." I don't really think there is such a thing, although everyone seemed to worship the Focus RS, which turned out to have its share of issues. (not that I have anything against the RS)
Yes, there are those fanbois who think the R is the greatest thing ever, just like with WRXs, STIs, GTIs, etal. But, I'd say overall, its rated pretty fairly. Usually, it gets the "better daily driver," "most refined," or "nicer interior" award, while losing enthusiast points for being a "too sterile," etc. Fair enough. Even so, sometimes people reviewing the R completely miss the point, or go into it with such high expectations that they overlook aforementioned "redeeming features" since it lacks the pure visceral performance they were looking for. I think a lot of those reviewers are not considering what it would be like to live with the cars they are reviewing on a daily basis.