While taking the newly “empowered” seventh generation VW Golf R for a scenic spin, Melinda Ferguson had to fight hard not to become a total hooligan.
It’s no secret that South Africans are crazy about Golfs, with more than 350 000 speedy units finding owners since launch four decades ago.
And we’re clearly a speed-loving nation since the performance models do particularly well with GTI, GTD and R making up for almost 50% of sales.
Despite being exhausted after a long week of jumping on and off planes between Cape Town and Jozi, last Friday ended on a revved-up high when I got to drive Golf’s top model R, the 2.0 TSI R DSG. It’s now injected with an extra 15kW of delicious power, unashamedly making the Golf R the most powerful VW sold in South Africa, brandishing 228kWs, supported by 400Nm torque.
Although it’s not advisable to choose a car solely for its colour, the upscaled R has some damn fine shades to seduce, including the stand out lapiz blue metallic, deep black pearl effect oryx and gorgeous tornado red.
Standard features provide LED headlamps, park distance control, a panoramic sunroof, 19” alloys, an easy-to-operate digital instrument cluster and driving profile selection, to name but a few, while options include sexy Nappa leather seats with Carbon-style side bolsters, adaptive chassis and cruise control, R Performance brakes and Discover Pro radio with Sat Nav, which offers a range of media entertainment and functionality on an 8“ touchscreen colour display.
I’d highly recommend the new optional R-performance titanium exhaust, which was by far my favourite feature on the drive. My fatigue evaporated as I put my foot down and experienced the R’s guttural grunts, pops and roars by way of the Akrapovic Titanium exhaust.
The Slovenian manufacturer was established in 1990, manufacturing exhausts for the motorcycle market. It changed the sound of motoring when it expanded into automobile exhausts in 2010. Talk about being R-invigorated.
Rating: 5 stars
Price: R676 000
Although I’m always really well-behaved on the roads, nudge nudge wink wink, I was in car heaven as I whizzed up and down Du Toitskloof Pass and the surrounds of Franschhoek, revelling in the superb fast-shifting 7-speed DSG gearbox and launch control. Hurtling from 0-100kms in just 4.6 seconds, and egged on by that popping Slovenian exhaust, it took enormous willpower not to let my inner hooligan take the R all the way to its top speed of 250km/h.
Thankfully the beast is packed with brilliant safety features like blind spot monitor, rear traffic alert and autonomous emergency braking system. Vroom.