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The new VW Golf 7.5 R – Driven

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The new VW Golf 7.5 R – Driven

When I 1st laid eyes on the above mentioned car I was not sure of the new look, it lacked the aggression found in its predecessor, the MK7 R, which had proved to be a favorite amongst South African motoring fans. It has a cult following that could challenge these modern day churches making people eat grass wash it down with fuel.

So why change what works?, or is it improvements on what is good to better? The new R sports a new front bumper with blacked out vents, new LED headlights and taillights with flowing indicators function, the side profile is enhanced with optional carbon mirrors should the standard matt chrome covers fail to visually please. My test unit wore 19” Pretoria alloys, I prefer the Pretorias anyway. At the rear the tailpieces have been moved slightly wider, something that most won’t notice as those are hugely responsible for the “VRRR Phaa” phenomenon that has been associated with this 7th generation Golf R. The Interior is what I have always loved in the R, it feels unGolf but rather premium. The comfortable supportive sports seats in a mix of leather and carbon look material set the tone for performance driven theme. The active info display in the cluster is quite nifty with dials in signature R blue and white. The centre console gleams with the Discovery Pro Satelite navigation, Radio with gesture control and pre sense screen. And as usual my test car had one of my favourite sound systems, the optional Dynaudio system. The ambiance is further enhanced by the panoramic glass roof, which comes as a standard feature in the new Golf R. The exterior look may have taken sometime to sink in however once it did I smiled every time I walked back to the car.

The power, it still has a 2.0L 4 cylinder turbo charged engine that is paired now to a 7 speed DSG gearbox and transfers the power through VW’s 4Motion all-wheel drive system. The power has been increased from 206kw to 213kw, the torque figure has remained at a steady 380nm, I wish it was 400nm. This translates to a knee weakning 4.6 seconds from standstill to 100km/h and a limited top speed of 250km/h. With the optional adaptive chassis control one tends to be able to explore various personalities that are available through the 5 drive modes. To best explore capabilities one must drive in the softest suspension setting to see how much the car can take from what you hand out, I opted for eco mode in the R, no real power loss but slightly slower reactions on throttle, it felt good. For a  more thrilling ride RACE mode is the one to select. Very few cars can give you the sense of confidence one gets when you paddle an R, even when you think you may have come in too hot, it cleans up after you. How it delivers the torque and power is truly amazing, the surge is intoxicating. Then there’s the grip levels, one of thee best handling cars on sale in our country right now. Did I really feel the power increase?, not really, it’s still bloody fast and fun. I must say I have always wished this would have a 7th gear to improve fuel consumption and lower the revs at higher velocity. The sound is still good even though the exhaust boxes were still fairly new, so the deep bellow was missing, once the pipes got warm during drives though, the overrun sound on change down was magnificent. The burps on gear changes are more pronounced.

Whoever thought of producing a high performance Golf for the market need to be saluted. The R has not lost any of its charisma, The facelifted Gold 7.5 R has an undeniable feel good factor, that is what we understand as the “X Factor” or what we call “That Thing” la eMzansi, and it has it in bucket loads.

The R sells for R647 300, my test unit was specified to R720 650 thanks to all the nice to haves and must haves, IS IT WORTH IT? Yes, however one can live without some luxuries my test car was optionally specified with.

The R is backed by VW’s 5 year/90 000km service plan, a 3year/120 000km warranty, and a 12 year anti-corrosion warranty.

Thanks to Matt, Siya, Yusuf and team for the test car.

Yours in motoring

Wezile Lorenzio Bonani

 

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