Since 1969, restaurant, hotel, travel & other witty reviews by a handpicked, worldwide team of discerning professionals—and your views, too.

2012 Volkswagen Golf R 2-Door Review

Return of the Hot Hatch

A three-quarter front view of a 2012 Volkswagen Golf R 2-Door

In short: A quick-handling, sporty hatchback.

Four years after the last R32 hit showrooms in the US, Volkswagen is back with another R-branded Golf — and has even further improved upon its classic hot hatch formula. Replacing the R32's V6 with a direct-injected 2.0-liter inline-4, the new Golf R boasts 256 horsepower and 243 lb-ft of torque while earning 27 mpg highway. However, we experienced less than 18 mpg in the city. With a chassis and all-wheel-drive system handed down from the excellent Audi TTS, this less-expensive alternative boasts a firm yet forgiving ride and plenty of grip around tight turns. For those looking for a more practical hatch, a five-door version of the Golf R is also available.

Related Content:
Volkswagen GTI
Volkswagen Golf TDI
Top 10 Sports Coupes
Watch a video of the Volkswagen Golf R

Warranty/Service: 3-year/36,000-mile new vehicle limited warranty; 5-year/60,000-mile powertrain limited warranty; 12-year/unlimited mile limited warranty against corrosion perforation; 3-year/36,000-mile 24-hour roadside assistance; 3-year/36,000-mile Carefree Maintenance.


QUICK SHEET
Base Price: $33,990 / As Tested: 34,760

Technical Specifications

Vehicle type: front engine, all-wheel drive, 5-passenger, 2-door hatchback

Engine: 2.0-liter inline 4-cylinder engine with direct injection
Horsepower: 256 hp @ 6,000 rpm
Torque:243 lb-ft @ 2,400 rpm
Transmission: 6-speed manual

Curb weight:
3,325 lbs
Wheelbase: 101.5 in
Length/Width/Height: 165.8/70.3/57.5 in
Turning circle: 35.8 ft

Brakes:
4-wheel vented disc brakes with ABS and electronic brakeforce distribution
Suspension: MacPherson strut front; multi-link rear

Traction: electronic stabilization control with traction control

Top Speed: 130 mph (governor limited)
0-60 mph: 5.8 seconds

EPA City:
19 mpg
EPA Highway: 27 mpg

Safety:
driver and front passenger front airbags; driver and front passenger side airbags; front and rear side curtain airbags

Likes: sporty; quality build

Dislikes: mpg; price

 

Check out other Volkswagen models
See all of our Automobile Reviews
Visit the Volkswagen website

Photography: AlphaMedia

PNW092512 (Updated: 10/31/12 NW)

Loaded with vitamins and antioxidants, GAYOT's favorite superfoods promote wellness and help combat cancer and other health threats.

While it can be hard to separate the trash from the treasure when it comes to self-help books, these tomes are admired for their insightful advice.