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.