This is the 2018 Volkswagen Golf R The top dog in the Volkswagen Golf range and the number two car surprisingly isn’t the GTI it’s the e-golf Volkswagen treats this car and the e golf as their top models And I’ll show you that on the inside, is this still the best Volkswagen Golf to get if you’re a performance oriented driver Or is the GTI Now packaged to a point that it makes this car seem quite expensive we’ll get to the price as we go through it I think that this car definitely looks much more aggressive from the headlights down in the front That’s where the facelift happens you now have on this Golf R standard LED Adaptive headlamps you also get bigger air intakes new front chin spoiler and along the side of the car You get side sills it really does make the car look Planted on the ground around the back from the tail lamps down is all new for 2018 as well another thing I haven’t talked about is the color this car is purple, and if you want to get attention by a purple Golf R I’ve had this car for two weeks over the holidays, and it turns heads everywhere It goes either for the good or the bad you can now pick a Volkswagen Golf R with 30 Optional custom colors it costs three thousand dollars, but you can get a whole palette of different colors And if I was gonna buy this car I would certainly choose my own custom color this car Also has the $250 optional 19-inch wheels the base wheels on this car are also 19 inches So let’s have a look inside. We’ll take it for a drive and at the end We’ll discuss whether this car still is the best golf to buy so I mentioned at the beginning Volkswagen treats the e golf and the Golf R as the top models in the lineup because those are the only two models so far that have the digital dashboard behind the steering wheel it’s optional on the e-golf its standard equipment on this Golf R So that’s one feature that you might or might not like I find them kind of gimmicky I typically set it up to the way I like it, and then I leave it But I guess the nice thing is you set out the way you like it, and then you leave it Which is maybe different than the way I like it And you also get the largest head unit and the good thing about the 18 golf’s overall is they’ve all been updated with new Larger head units and they look better. They’re much faster. They all come with standard Android auto and apple carplay now Let’s get into the specifics of the GTI and this Golf R first of all you get the leather seats you get the embossed R on the seats you do not however get a sunroof on the Golf R and for some people that’s a real sticking point for me I don’t like Sun roofs So that’s one thing you can get on the autobahn version of the GTI Also, some people like those plaid seats you get in the GTI not available in the Golf R It’s leather or nothing however. They are heated, which is nice, but you don’t get though even at this $42,000 price range is a heated steering wheel which I’ve had this over the Christmas break And I would have liked that because we’ve had snow and ice the one thing I will say about All of the golfs whether it’s the base model all the way up to the Golf R They are very nicely fitted on the inside the switch gear is upscale it looks nice I call it ‘Audi light’ and I still hold by that. It’s a nice sized car as well even though. It’s compact It’s got a flat straight roof. There’s offers lots of headroom I get lots of emails from people saying I’m a big guy I want to be able to fit in a car comfortably I always say start with German cars because the Germans could be big yah And this car will fit somebody that’s easily six three or four no problem So Volkswagen made some changes to the GTI range for 2018 Making what used to be the performance package as standard equipment, which bumped the horsepower up to 220 horsepower However for the Golf R. They did not bump the power. It’s still a 292 horsepower But over in Europe the Golf R Did get a performance upgrade so that makes the GTI a bit more of a compelling package compared to this car now What do you get with the Golf R that you don’t get with the GTI well first and foremost you get the 4motion all-wheel drive system and you get a 72 horsepower bump to 292 as I mentioned and that is something that is going to lure a lot of Canadians in that standard all-wheel drive And I had a chance here in Vancouver even though we typically don’t get snow we got a good dump of snow over the Christmas holidays And I did get a chance to drive this car quite a bit, and I love the sure-footedness of it But a big part of the came to the fact that Volkswagen installed good winter tires on this car even if you got the GTI Without the all-wheel drive I think you could do really well in the winter with a good set of winter tires So it’s something to keep in mind when we go through the price differences of these cars Now this car is equipped with the dual clutch and it is very very quick you can you can get very very quick down shifts and lightning quick up shifts almost instantaneous However, there’s a trend away from dual clutch transmissions in the Volkswagen family especially at Audi They’re noticing a lot of people don’t like the jerkiness on and off the throttle in stop and go traffic and I had a chance To drive this car in bumper-to-bumper Christmas shopping traffic I took my wife out we went shopping, and she says what what why do you like this car? It’s so jerky It’s making me feel sick, and I didn’t say anything about it She just noticed that right away based on the transmission now you can get around the jerkiness if you drive the Automatic or the DSG in manual mode which is what I’ve been doing 99% of the time it really smoothes out the driving experience If it was me this wouldn’t even come into play I’ve had a chance to drive the regular Golf R with a manual the six-speed and with the dual clutch And it’s just a much more invigorating and connected driving experience So if you drive manual do yourself a favor and get this car with a manual transmission if you want the automatic Your best to drive it in manual mode Now this car has one optional package for it you get the adaptive cruise control the blind spot detection Rear traffic alert a front assist autonomous braking all the advanced safety features that you’ve come to expect With many auto manufacturers as standard equipment, but even on this expensive Golf R They still charge you 1500 bucks for that which is a package I personally wouldn’t get So the question is Golf R or a GTI? Well the extra 72 horsepower Certainly makes a difference you can notice that But the one thing about the GTI I drove it last year almost exactly the same time is it Feels lighter it feels more nimble on its feet this car even though it has the dynamic chassis control where you can adjust The chassis just of the way you like it. I find It’s a bit soft even on the racetrack About a year and a half ago at Calabogie getting a chance to drive this on the racetrack I found the suspension really quite soft which brings me to Kind of what this car is I call it ‘Audi light” And it really does feel like that it feels a lot like an Audi product I’m gonna get to the prices in just a moment last year I said don’t buy the GTI Get the Golf R based on price. I think I’m flipping that around now. I think at the GTI Autobahn manual transmission and save around $7,000 So the previous Golf R started around $40,000 for this facelift Volkswagen has taken the opportunity to up the price so the price now is $42,000 in Canada if you want to get the 7-speed DSG the same one that’s equipped here is 43 the optional paint is $3,000 this one has the driver assist safety package and the optional wheels brings the price of this car you see here to $48,000 that is a lot of money, but here we go is this still the best golf to buy? Let’s have a look at the GTI. The GTI starts, no longer available with the three-door only the 5-door, at just over $30,000 that’s a whole lot cheaper than this car But that’s not the one Volkswagen wants you to buy they want you to buy the Autobahn trim. That’s almost $36,000 for the manual and Thirty-seven thousand dollars for the DSG, but you get the larger 18-inch wheels you get the Fender audio you get the LED headlamps And you get a sunroof that’s probably The one that most people are going to gravitate towards because this car now is starting to get expensive for me I would get that Autobahn trim with the manual transmission, and I’d be perfectly happy So this car is great to drive. I would get it with the manual not loving the DSG It could be a little firmer for my liking as well Which makes me feel that if I was personally gonna buy one of these cars I think I would get the GTI over the R, and invest in a good set of winter tires

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Dennis Veasley

100 thoughts on “VW Golf R Review–THIS OR GTI?”

  1. I just bought exactly what you suggested today! A blue Golf R with a manual transmission and no driver assist. I don't need the continuous beeping at me. I like that the backup camera is covered up while not in use. It keeps it clean. I traded in my 2012 Jetta GLI with DSG. I hated the DSG. I also wanted Apple CarPlay and the other tech bells and whistles. I receive it next week. Can't wait.

  2. No spare tire offered in the USA, just fix a flat! WHY?!?! North America has noticeably rougher roads than Europe, so what was VW thinking? Did they even do market research or were they too lazy? Just like the type R, it isn’t a racecar, it’s a daily driver so why no spare tires in both? Both have backseats meant for people.

  3. Money is for spending as life to sort to be just counting pros n cons! Simple happy life with S3 than Golf felinefamily.

  4. Why do you need heated steering wheels? I just re-direct the vents to blow on my hands. I'm not convinced AWD and a power bump is worth >$10,000. Buy a $1000 tune (Comes with powertrain warranty) for the GTI that will produce more power than the Golf R. And the GTI has a limited slip diff (2 wheel motion) which helps to get the car up a small snowy hill.

  5. Good review But I must share I had my 2016 GTI autobahn and liked VW after 6 new vehicle purchased from VW and when I hit 25k the cultch was shot..? I was so surprised and was even more surprised when VW warranty of 3 yrs 36k new vehicle purchase and the added VW care would NOT cover this defective product….I am a 59yo soft driver ( NO hole shots) or
    racing and they VW customer care wouldn't cover this….Broke my heart VW after so long and you killed me …?

  6. Is a digital dash just too much for old people? I’m thinking not, as one has been standard on the Mercedes S-Class for years.

  7. DSG . -better! , _ I pushed in, Datsun, Mazda ,Chevy all the 80's clutched's -what ever. This one and many others will start the revolution . Why have the 3rd pedal. -who cares, you can use the paddle shifter instead of your fckn leg…??

  8. Traded in my 2016 for a 2018, couldnt justify paying 3000$ for a paint job. Plus, i'm renting it and you pay the full 3000$. The paint has zero part in the residual value.

  9. I have spent about 40 hours researching and a week driving both the 2018 GTI and the R. Out of pretty much all the reviews on Youtube and other auto media, this is the best review I've seen so far.

  10. I own one. they aren't jerky at all…. clearly your wife hasn't driven with somone that sucks at driving a manual.. thats what i call jerky.

  11. Almost $50k for a Volkswagen Golf????? Are you kidding me! If I'm gonna spend that much, I'll get an M3 or Type R… Volkswagen is stupid.

  12. Performance model MK7 gti was perfect in DSG truly first class made in Germany, not sure why uS model reported as made in Mexico? Mine has Dynamic chassis control, can be feel a bit light full on but just imo I would with careful thought, upgrade the shocks, job done, ! Im happy as Iam but understand the process in peoples mind !

  13. Dissapointing that VW expects you to pay 1500 for the tech safety stuff in a $43K+ car that comes standard on a base Toyota Corolla

  14. Golf R is the way to go. You have to remember that the R and egolf are the only two left that are still built in Germany. All other VW products are now manufactured In Mexico. That in my opinion is worth the extra money

  15. DSG is a proven system with impeccable manners with very smooth shifting. I don't understand how any experienced car reviewer can make it jerky! Something is not right here!

    When the car comes with paddle-shifters, why should you recommend manual shift cars? Only those who have been driving manual shift cars for a long time will prefer the shift lever. Most people can easily get used to paddle shifting because down-shifts are automatically done by the car! It's so darn intuitive.

  16. Plus with a chip tune up for a couple of hundred will have the gti well past 300 horsepower four-way cheaper!

  17. I had a new 2016 R DSG. Incredible all-arounder, quick, but boring. I sold it and bought a BMW 128i manual. The R, to be fun, has to be manual. But the Haldex means effectively that it’s a front wheel drive car until you punch it. Front wheel drive is also boring. The steering on these is numb, too. I’d just get a gti manual, maybe 1-2 years old.

  18. The golf R will cost you less to own, just go look on autotrader at how much the GTIs depreciate compared to the R.

  19. GTI you can get 4-5K below MSRP, the R they are not taking nearly as much off. So if you compare SE trim GTI to a base R then the price difference is pretty big.

  20. VW's automatic forward collision stop system is FAR too sensitive and error prone. You will not enjoy it's ear-piercing screech nor it's 5-seconds of braking on an empty road… nor will you enjoy it on a crowded road when you've left space between you and the car in front of you. (nor will the car behind you, for that matter)

    And that's with the system set only to engage "late".

    Stay away until VW gets a different system in their cars.

  21. Some people talk total bollocks, the dsg gives you everything, for any experienced driver, you can shift when you need to and do it without any jerks, imhave a gti performance and its ideal, though if I lived in NY or Scotland I would have an R i would also have standard 18” agains’t mine at 19” in UK potholes the Bigger wheels are not a help ! I am thinking a Cooper S works next ! Just for a change

  22. I recently test drove a GTI in automatic, there's a transmission or turbo lag before you reach around 60 km/h then the car really takes off. Golf R feels faster and more smooth.

  23. As soon as I saw the Golf in this colour I thought wow I gotta click on that. But no way is this or any other colour worth 3000 dollars for the average working person.

  24. Laughable review. The eGolf isn’t number 2. And just because the digital cockpit isn’t standard on the performance lines in North America, doesn’t mean they are standard in Europe. All 5 lines have it. The R, GTI, GTE, eGolf and GTD. I personally have the GTE. The fun and exhilaration of a GTI with the added petrol free economy of an eGolf

  25. The Golf R and GTI are both great cars and worth every penny at their respective price points. Sure a Golf R is 7k more but you don’t think 7k is a fair price for 72 more HP, 1.5s quicker 0-60, All Wheel Drive, and digital cockpit? What Golf you get just depends on your budget. If you have 26k to spend get a base level manual GTI, if you have 32k get the Autobahn, and if you 38k or more get the Golf R. Those prices are more than fair for what you’re getting in each package. And lastly with the Golf R think about what other cars exist for under 40k that match its combination of performance, features, and interior space. That pretty much narrows it down to the Civic Type R (and that’s only if you can deal with its ridiculous styling). Otherwise if you want a hatchback or small SUV that outperforms a Golf R you better step your budget up to at least 60k for something like a GLA45 AMG. Or perhaps 80k for for a Macan GTS.

  26. The GTI is 90% of the car for 70% of the money of the R. So no brainer, get the R. Yeah it really is that good. What it came to for me is I don't fit in the GTI with a helmet due to the sunroof. I did fit in the R.

  27. Not sure I would describe it as jerky – you can put it in comfort mode and make it smoother. Otherwise it’s a great car.

  28. I have a 2016 GTI Autobahn with DSG transmission and absolutely love it. I drove the manual and it was great but for an everyday driver you will prefer the DSG and it is quicker. For fun, I have an S2000 (which of course is a 6-speed stick).

  29. The GTI is iconic and has history behind it but if you want a AWD Golf and faster, do not care bout history of the car. I want Golf R but my dad says it's fast XD so I guess GTI but I tune it for sure

  30. You drove in Vancouver in the snow? Brave man. Last time I was there and it snowed the cab driver was headed to the barn when he picked me up. He said the last time it snowed he got hit three times.

  31. I wonder if there's a reliability difference between the GTI and the R, as they're made in different countries.

  32. Still regret not buying a GTI a couple of years ago. It was a leftover, manual, loaded but with cloth seats and they were willing to let me have it for just under $20k. I may still end up with one the next time I trade.

  33. Wait for it to snow and do donuts in both cars. Hands down my golr f is way more fun to drive than my GTI. Still love them both, hate giving almost 80 grand to vw in one calendar year 😭😭😭😭. Can’t wait til the golf 400 comes out, ayeeeeeee

  34. The only option here in the US is the DSG. That's what I purchased. 2018 R DSG. Great car! Price for my car was around $42,000 US.

  35. Only 64hp bump, torque is pretty much the same which is what really matters, GTI still a better value

  36. Great video. I usually don’t comment on videos but this one answered any questions I had between the R and GTI.

  37. In my country GTI beats the R easily. Keep in mind both drivers are rally drivers if you may ask. I go for the GTI.

  38. no jerkiness in neither auto or manual mode, if anything I'd say the manual would be the one jerky, but coming from a gli this transmission is smooth as silk, and way faster.

  39. My 7.5 R is Manuel 🙏, you’re the first person I’ve heard that says get it over the dsg. I wanted a dsg and am so glad I ended up with the 6-speed. I’m a little slower, but man do I honestly just enjoy driving the car.

  40. The Peugeot 308 gti is way more fun than both of these…. a true hot hatch… the golf r in particular is just too boring.

  41. Choose a standard color and you go with the base line R with a manual. I find it funny that you chose the most expensive golf r to do the comparison. Most people will not have access to the the special colors. Had a gti in the mountains and it did ok. I am climbing a hill out of my neighborhood for 1.7 KM and golf R with winter tires hands down gets me out every time. The R is much stiffer in Race Mode. It is fun to drive, but love that you can put the R into comfort mode and it become a sleeper. I am surprise you would want to cutout the safety systems such as the avoids collision system and blind spot monitoring. Compare real world number and not the special edition. Toss out the GSD and the special paint and get standard rims and now you are down to a responsible price the is worth the extra hp bump with all wheel drive along with the digital cockpit.

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