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While the Golf has been around seemingly forever, the high-performance Golf R did not arrive until 2012 to satisfy VW’s tuner crowd—and with an 86-horsepower edge on the base Golf, the R sure did satisfy. Heading into 2013, the Golf R is completely unchanged, with exception of a major price hike to just over $34,000.
Available with two or four doors, the hot hatchback features a 2-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that puts down 256 horsepower and 243 pound-feet of torque. This peppy four-banger pairs with a six-speed manual transmission that delivers power to all four wheels. The Golf R launches to 60 mph in a VW-claimed 5.6 seconds while netting 19 mpg city and 27 mpg highway.
Oddly, the two-door has slightly more interior space than the four-door. Cargo room is acceptable for a compact hatch, with 14.8 cubic feet and 14.6 cubic feet of space, respectively.
Sure, the Golf R is fast, roomy and loaded with standard features, but it’s a lot of cheddar for a compact hatchback—especially one that might not be as quick as Volkswagen says it is. And some buyers may miss the option of an automatic transmission.
The entry-level trim for the 2013 Golf R is the 2-Door model, which comes standard with: four-wheel disc brakes; cruise control; piano-black-painted, power and heated side-view mirrors; a Golf R body kit; dual-center exhaust tips; a black front grille; bi-xenon headlights with LED daytime running lights and washer system; a rear spoiler; 18-inch alloy wheels; dual-zone climate control; two 12-volt power outlets; power door locks and windows; an eight-speaker, Premium VIII touchscreen audio system with AM/FM/CD/MP3/SiriusXM capabilities, an iPod connector, Bluetooth connectivity with audio streaming and an auxiliary input; leather-wrapped and heated sport seating; a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shifter knob; and V-Tex leatherette door panels.
The 4-Door trim level caps off the Golf R lineup and it comes standard with: a Golf R body kit; dual-center exhaust tips; a black front grille; bi-xenon headlights with washers and LED daytime running lights; power and heated mirrors with piano-black caps; a rear spoiler; 18-inch alloy wheels wrapped in H-rated tires; heated windshield washer nozzles; dual-zone climate control; cruise control; a pair of 12-volt power outlets; power door locks and windows; a Premium VIII sound system with a touchscreen, eight speakers, Bluetooth audio streaming, AM/FM/CD/SiriusXM capabilities, iPod connectivity and an auxiliary input; leather-wrapped sport seats, steering wheel and shifter knob; heated front seats; and leatherette-wrapped door trim.
Much cheaper, more powerful and only 5.3 seconds to 60 mph, but lacks base amenities and cheap interior
Over $10,000 cheaper, great mpg and sleeper look, but slower claimed 0-to-60 mph time and not as stylish
Much cheaper, powerful engine and aggressive look, but cheaper-feeling cabin
Lower base price, good mpg and oddly stylish, but a little slower to 60 mph and slightly underpowered