2022 VW Golf R Review: 0-60mph, Drift Mode, Sound, Handling & More | Top Gear Tested

The latest Volkswagen Golf R is of course the most powerful and fastest Golf ever, but the new all-wheel drive VW super-hatch has apparently sprouted a (very German) sense of humour, thanks to a clever rear differential and Drift Mode. Yep, it’ll powerslide. But is that gimmick what you really want from a sensible, classy all-weather 316bhp superhatch? And has Volkswagen’s bizarre decision to replace buttons and logic with a laggy touchscreen inside wrecked the Golf’s sense of quality and maturity? Join Top Gear magazine’s Serious Car Tester Ollie Kew at the top-secret Top Gear Test Facility to see if the latest Golf R is truly worth in excess of £40,000. And how well it jumps…

This is a volkswagen golf a sensible family hatchback but it’s also a 320 horsepower turbocharged all-wheel drive weapon with launch control and now even a drift mode what is it this is the eighth generation of golf but only the fifth to wear on our badge and the latest recipe is getting familiar now a two liter turbo charged engine connected to a seven

Speed flappy paddle gearbox and clever all-wheel drive then all draped in this trademark blue paint for 40 000 quid welcome to the most powerful road-going golf ever made what does it look like it’s a bit of a poke in the eye so far as golfs go i mean even the hot ones used to be subtle but this one double decker wing big diffuser quad exhausts blue brake calipers

Badges skirts silver mirrors i mean who designed this michael bay there is a lot going on what’s the engine it’s the latest evolution of an engine that volkswagen’s been plumbing into hot golfs for decades now it’s got a bigger turbo and higher pressure fuel injection and that means that you get 316 brake horsepower and 310 pounds feet of torque from just two

Liters and yet it’ll still do 40 miles to the gallon if you’re being well behaved what does it weigh the official curb weight is 1551 kilos which is a lot for a hatchback but this one’s got all-wheel drive and clutch packs and a dual clutch gearbox so maybe that’s to be expected let’s see what the truth says on the scales now it should be 1551 kilos this one

With barely any fuel on board is 1507. you can always depend on a golf to be predictable how roomy is it on the whole the gulf has not forgotten how to golf though these are seats way too thick and they really do eat into your rear leg room but you can solve that by specking your golf r as an estate and you can’t do that with its rivals from audi bmw or mercedes

Will i get along with the tech predictably it’s a bit of a pain because as you may know volkswagen recently lost its mind and created a gesture controlled and touch sensitive interior before its processes were up to the job of keeping up with tesla and the result is an infotainment system that just doesn’t belong in a 40 or 50 000 pound car it might be enough to

Put you off the golf entirely at least for the r you get an r button on the steering wheel which takes you straight into race mode and shortcuts the screen to where all the driving settings live you don’t get that in a golf gti how fast is it okay let’s get scientific on your r this is quite complicated to set up actually let’s imagine you’ve just pulled up

At your red light and you’re ready to go first into sport mode on the gearbox that’s simple enough then hit the r button on the steering wheel we’re in race mode good but the golf r won’t allow me to activate its launch control until we turn the esc off and that really couldn’t be simpler could it first we have to dive into the vehicle menu in the touchscreen

And then through a variety of sub-menus and spinning around this graphic of a golf that isn’t even a proper golf r we get to brakes and then esc system of course the lights won’t have gone green yet activated and finally esc sport is it tells me off on the dashboard launch control a what genius invention anyway foot hard down on the brake nail the throttle launch

Control active 4000 rpm go wow what a rocket ship okay that’s 60 already that’s taking no time at all really squats down as it sets off i think that helps the goal fast traction slurs the changes through i mean we only need a naught to 100 time but i’m curious got a bit of straight to use up that’s 130 135 come on show me 140 it’s there 145 150 indicated that

I’m gonna break that’s enough for me that’s enough brakes are really good actually it’s super stable i could have left that later i apologize for being a wuss according to the spec sheet the gold fire should hit 62 miles per hour in 4.7 seconds how fast was it my goodness naught’s to 60. i’ve had to read that again i couldn’t believe my eyes naught to 60 in

4.3 seconds that’s 0.4 seconds quicker than volkswagen claims and we haven’t got any tyre warmers here we’ve got no glue sprayed on the surface it’s 14 degrees outside it’s pretty mild okay it’s dry but 4.3 in a gulf north to 100 miles an hour again 10.37 seconds it’s absolutely uncanny and a quarter mile again 12.81 seconds that’s potty at 110.8 miles an hour

There’s a lot of conspiracy theories on the internet and i’m not normally one for conspiracy theories but people are saying they don’t believe this goldfart has just 320 horsepowers claim they’re saying it’s more and after those numbers i can believe it what’s it like on a motorway this is where the golf r just morphs back into a golf 70 miles an hour 2000 rpm

It’s perfectly normal there’s no sense whatsoever that this is a car that with a few prods of a touchscreen could absolutely take a porsche cayman’s trousers down right so we know it’s decent on a british motorway what about a german motorway top lane here we go yep i’m pretty confident that volkswagen spent some time developing the golf r on an autobahn because

Here we are coming up towards 140 miles an hour that’s twice the legal limit on a motorway in britain and it feels like barely stretching its legs and because this one has the performance pack it switches off the 155 mile an hour limiter and keeps going all the way to 168 in a golf perfectly stable it’s a really good fast cruiser the gimmick yes the latest golf

R’s real party trick is drift mode and no as you’d expect it’s not as simple as just smashing a big button marked drift with a smiley face and then looking out the side window first you have to spend 2 000 quid on something called the r performance pack this doesn’t actually change any hardware under the skin it just gives you a few new lines of code that unlock

A nurburgring setting in here and the drift mode which tells the car to lob power at the outside rear wheel and kick the back end out and i’m not sure the car really wants you to drift i mean look at this disclaimer here the drift driving profile is intended solely for private roads or race tracks it should only be used by someone with appropriate driving skills

Are you really sure you want to activate drift activate we’ve got a slightly damp surface i think we’ve given the car all the help we possibly could let’s see what happens so build up a bit of speed turning hard foot hard down that comes round and then as soon as you catch it it thinks well i think he’s losing control as soon as i put the left-hand steering in

There it felt like the car was thinking oh i think he’s losing control i better catch it for him strange let’s have a go again it’s strange yes you do get a slight drift slightly longer on there but the second you start to feel like the superhero it’s like the car is saying i think i better take over here sunshine weirdly even when you put the golf r in drift

Mode the stability control is still on a slight admission perhaps it’s for people with more ambition than talent drift mode gives you a drift bit of understeer there it gives you a drift but it doesn’t give you the kind of super duper hero power slide that you might have been expecting once you’ve dived back into the touchscreen and fully turned the esc off it’s

Much happier to skid right tell you what one more attempt no tired mercy just how big a drift will this golfer really do oh there we go there we go that’s the biggest one yet and i think we’ll call that a day does it sound any good oh not really and this golf r has no excuses because it’s fitted with an optional akrapovic exhaust it’s made of titanium it costs

Three thousand pounds and that’s quite a lot just to save seven kilos in weight problem is the latest factory noise regulations and anti-particulate filters have kibosh the angry pops and bangs and just muffled the noise and that’s why when you select r mode the golf r actually plays fake engine noise through the speakers what’s it like in a corner well it’s

Very much like a normal golf yep it’s done it again this is what the honda civic type r and the hyundai i30n really struggle to do their voice straining at the leash whereas the golf is really quite content and happy to behave that’s why half the world thinks it’s the most boring hot hatch in the universe and the other half of the world seems to have bought one

And we should note that the ride for a hot hatch it’s exceptional but this particular gold bar is kind of cheating again thanks to the options list because it’s been fitted with 895 pounds worth of adaptive dynamic chassis control suspension and that means that if i pop into the touchscreen because obviously i have to go into the touchscreen again then look at this

Look at the range of adjustment i’ve got through race and sport and into comfort it’s no wonder that even when we took this thing around the cobblestone test course of our secret top gear tested facility it was still unflappably comfortable what about if you’re late for something well the golf r is always always looking after you and that means that yeah you might

Think it’s a bit steady a bit boring a bit too similar to the old one but what that drift mode hardware does with the clutch packs at the back it just makes where the car can send the drive a bit more adaptive a little bit more playful so i’m not in drift mode right now in fact i’ve saved all the settings into my favorite individual mode this is how i like my golf

R set up and as you can see every now and again i just have to catch the car i’m involved in this it’s not like the old generation of volkswagen hot hatches where when you really got to the limit all they wanted to do was understeer and go home for a sulk and as a result we arrive at well probably the most fun mark 8 golf the gti not sure about the club sport it

Doesn’t deserve that name but the golf r yeah this is a proper bit of kit what’s the verdict i mean it’s a good hot hatch this but is it a truly truly great one see for me the ultimate hot hatch is the perfect all-rounder and while this is very well built and spacious and has a huge amount of performance the interior tech is too fiddly and when you use all that

Performance it doesn’t shout an exciting noise or make you laugh out loud and glee and this automatic gearbox it’s standard but it won’t let me hold on to the gears when i want to it auto-up changes it auto kicks down volkswagen stop being such control freaks and there’s no getting away from the fact that 40 000 pounds is a heck of a lot for a golf and that’s

Before options but of course a goal far is the king of the cheap finance lease deal so a quick browser on the internet and you’ll probably find one that’s cheaper than a phone contract where you’ll really respect the golf r is if you want a car that’s just a car 90 of the time and then when you’re on the right piece of road and the mood takes you you can pretty

Much break the land speed record as an all-wheel drive all weather any day of the week any level of talent daily driver the golf r is unbelievably effective

Transcribed from video
2022 VW Golf R Review: 0-60mph, Drift Mode, Sound, Handling & More | Top Gear Tested By Top Gear