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Drive a Golf R; it'll surprise you. Image by Volkswagen.

Drive a Golf R; it'll surprise you
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Newer articles featuring 2018 Volkswagen Golf

2018-11-06: Driven: Volkswagen Golf R Performance Pack

Drive a Golf R; it'll surprise you.

Never have truer words been spoken by my mate, Baz. What he lacks in eloquence he makes up for with his enthusiasm for cars. The Volkswagen Golf R 7.5, released as a facelift to the MK7 R, delivers a scintillating drive and the Golf-y goodness you expect - advanced technology, refinement and looks to die for. It's the complete package - a capable performer whatever the weather, an entertainer whatever the road.

It's a bit safe though, wouldn't you agree? It's not the loudest hot hatch out there, with a rumbling exhaust rather than a raucous one. It's got everything it needs to be a fantastic daily driver but lacks the character to really get the pulse racing. It's a welcome companion on everyday journeys, but a predictable machine that can seem a bit one-trick.

A new optional Performance Pack aims to change that, by giving the Golf R upgrades that matter. It's available on three-door and five-door variants and tweaks the R formula, to offer keen drivers a sportier and more involving driving experience.

What's new?

The Performance Pack's most important (and obvious) upgrade is the optional titanium exhaust system developed by Akrapovi?. It's 7kg lighter than the standard Golf R exhaust system and has active valve control. What this means is that, at part throttle, an exhaust valve is closed to keep the noise low. It opens more as you test the throttle. Floor it, and the valve opens to give you a symphony of raucous sound.
At full chat, the new exhaust is some 20 per cent louder than the standard R's. Glorious.

R Performance brake system

The next most important upgrade is the R Performance brake system. It includes uprated ventilated brakes with built-in pin disks (these are the key to better brake feel) that save 2kg on the standard brakes thanks to aluminium holders. The brakes are differentiated by silver painted callipers with the R logo on them.

The finishing touch is a set of high-performance brake pads for seriously good stopping power. These are optimised (or engineered, if you like) to perform when cold around town or super-hot on the track. So, no squeaky stops or brake fade.

Active aero - superior downforce

Volkswagen has improved downforce with the Performance pack with a revised roof spoiler. It boosts downforce by up to 20kg at high speeds to keep the back end planted. This really comes into its own on the track around fast, sweeping corners.

In truth, on the road it isn't something you'll notice (you might not even notice on the track), but at least it looks awesome (it's gloss-black to match the window spoilers and rear diffuser). It adds height to the rear too, so gives the R a more purposeful stance. That might be enough to tempt you away from retrofitting a chunkier spoiler.

Derestricted top speed and new shoes

The Performance Pack adds two more things you need to know about. The first is a derestricted top speed (VW estimates the R hatch will reach 166mph, the R estate a slightly higher 168mph). Useful for the Autobahn.

The second thing you need to know about is that the Performance Pack includes 19-inch 'Spielberg' alloy wheels as standard. These are an optional extra on standard VW Golf R models. They're probably the nicest-looking alloys available for the Golf R. They're not the flashiest rims, but they're certainly classy.

What, so I get no extra performance?

Ah, we knew you'd clock onto that. So, we'll come clean - the Performance Pack doesn't actually add any performance. The 2.0 TSI engine, and seven-speed DSG transmission, remain completely unchanged. It means you get 306bhp, 380Nm of torque and a 0-62mph time of 4.4 seconds.

Despite that, it's important to remember the Golf R Performance Pack gives you to the tools you need to drive faster. A bigger brake kit and better downforce is the giveaway.

Right, so what's it like to drive?

Fast and extremely capable. But that's the Golf R in a nutshell. What's new here is the better brake feel, which is immediately evident. Whether you're pootling around town or hammering it on a B-road, these brakes inspire confidence.

The elephant in the room is the exhaust system. Does it ruin the R's grace? Not in the slightest, you'll be pleased to know. The Akrapovi? valve control system changes between driving modes and opens and closes depending on the amount of throttle you use. It's quiet for the neighbours and raucous for the mountains, and it looks incredible too with its enlarged tailpipes.

So, do we recommend the Performance Pack? In isolation, the standard Golf R is an exceptional package. But, by any measure, the Golf R with Performance Pack is a better one. If you can afford the upgrade, do it. It'll satisfy your deepest hot hatch urges. If not, sleep easy. You'll still have the one of the best hot hatches on the market today.



Promoted by Ginny Nicholls - 25 Sep 2018

Earlier articles featuring 2018 Volkswagen Golf

2018-05-10: Volkswagen Golf GTI TCR: 290hp and 164mph
2018-05-08: VW apprentices create special Golfs
2017-11-09: UK pricing for VW Golf R Performance Pack


2018 VW Golf R Performance. Image by Volkswagen.2018 VW Golf R Performance. Image by Volkswagen.2018 VW Golf R Performance. Image by Volkswagen.2018 VW Golf R Performance. Image by Volkswagen. 








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