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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.

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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.

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

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

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


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Photography: AlphaMedia

PNW092512 (Updated: 10/31/12 NW)