[MUSIC PLAYING] KURT NIEBUHR: On my left
is the 2018 Volkswagen GTI. On my right is the
2018 Volkswagen Golf R. They both look pretty similar. So what makes this one the GTI,
and what makes this one the R? Let’s find out. [MUSIC PLAYING] The entry level 2018 Volkswagen
GTI starts off at about $26,500 and goes up to what this
car costs, about 36 grand. All GTIs come with
front-wheel drive, four-cylinder,
turbocharged engines. This particular GTI
has the Autobahn trim, which comes with bigger
brakes, the same size brakes that you can get on the Golf R. The 2018 Golf R starts
at about 39 to 40 grand with a 6-speed manual. It’s also a two
liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine, but
it has all-wheel drive. This particular one
has the DSG automatic. That bumps the price
up closer to 41 grand. But there aren’t really
any other trims or options for the car. Is it really worth
the extra money? [MUSIC PLAYING] The GTI has chunked up a bit
over the last 20 something years. And it tips the scales
at 3,216 pounds. The Golf R weighs
about 200 pounds more. But you wouldn’t know it based
on the way it accelerates. We ripped off a zero to
60 time at 4.7 seconds. Shifts from the DSG were quick
and aggressive, even chirping second gear. And the engine pulled hard
right through the quarter mile. Try as we might,
we just couldn’t get the GTI to hook up. And our zero to 60 time
suffered as a result. We suspected the Pirelli
all seasons as the culprit and confirmed that suspicion
as the day went on. Braking in the R was impeccable
with consistent stopping distances and a
low 106 foot range. The Golf R is faster
for obvious reasons. It has more horsepower, But
what’s it like to drive? That’s the important part. [ENGINE ROARING] One of the benefits
to all-wheel drive is that you can use all of
the power and the torque that the engine is making. The Golf R has all-wheel drive. So I can come out of a really
tight hairpin, like this one, and I don’t have to worry
about feathering the throttle, managing wheel spin. I can just mash it. Even though you can
get a 6-speed manual in this car, which is
great, I love the fact that you can get a manual, the
DSG is a fantastic gearbox. It’s really fast. It’s right with you. It knows what I want. It knows when I lift
off not to upshift. It knows when I hit the
brakes really hard like this. It goes down through
the gears for me. It’s a great gearbox. A great gearbox. [ENGINE ROARING] If I had one complaint about
the Golf R is its weight. It just can’t get away
from how much it weighs. The front tires can get
overworked and overheated pretty quickly if you
start to push too hard. That’s not saying
that they’re weak. You can cover ground
at a pretty quick pace and they’ll hold up just fine. But if you overdrive it,
you’ll lose the front tire. [MUSIC PLAYING] I think the Golf
R is the pinnacle of practical performance. It’s compact. It’s fast. It has a hatchback. So if you really have your heart
set on that nonexistent Audi S3 hatchback in the US, this is
the car that you have to buy. Oh, it’s good. [MUSIC PLAYING] So because the
GTI isn’t as fast, it doesn’t have the
raw speed of the R, you’ve got to work a little
harder to make it go fast. But that’s fun. And that’s kind of always
been the point of the GTI. You work hard and
you’re rewarded. I like that. [ENGINE ROARING] So this has front-wheel drive,
not the all-wheel drive, which means you’ve got to
pay attention on slow corner exits like this one. You come into it, and
you can’t just mash it. You’ve got to wait. And you still get wheel
spin on the inside. This car does have an
electronic limited slip, which helps a little bit,
but you’re still wasting power with wheel spin. It’s really hard to find fault
with a manual transmission in the GTI. It’s just so intuitive. It’s so easy to just rev match. Up shifts are
positive every time. The gates are well defined. The action is right. There’s really no reason not
to buy the 6-speed manual. There really isn’t. There is one knock
against the GTI. I’ve got to say,
it’s the tire choice. These Pirelli all seasons
just don’t do the car justice. The chassis feels
really good, and even without a limited
slip in the front, or a proper limited
slip in the front. It’s still really playful. But the tires just
give up really quickly. And they are loud and squealy. Listen to that. I wish this thing came
with summer tires. The 2018 Golf GTI, it’s
got different ingredients, but it’s the same recipe. What’s not to like? Maybe besides the tires. Clearly, we love the GTI
for the driving experience. It’s fun, it’s rewarding. But as the price
climbs with options, it makes less and less sense. A $36 thousand GTI is a
little hard to swallow, especially when the Golf R is
looming just a few thousand dollars more. While the price tag might
seem a bit expensive, the more time we spent in
and around and driving the R, the more we were
smitten with its mix of performance and comfort. At $40 thousand, we think
it’s right on the money. [MUSIC PLAYING] For more videos like
this, hit subscribe. For full reviews on these
VWs, be sure to go to Edmunds.

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Dennis Veasley

100 thoughts on “What’s the Difference Between a VW GTI and Golf R? | Edmunds”

  1. Put some Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tires on the GTI and it is a different car. I have one and hope to keep it until I can no longer drive. That said, a Golf R is my next.

    To your point, too bad we can't have all of those great Audi's here.

  2. Comparison is really compromised. All season tires on the GTI and a DCT on the Golf R make the test times really not apples to apples.

  3. If you don t know the difference (which is major), you aren’t a car person and you should just drive a Asian driving appliance. A Prius would be better suited.

  4. 0-60 in 4.7 Seconds? DAMN! How many other practical family cars for the same price $40Kish are this fast? I am genuinely curious.

  5. Instead of a spec'd GTi, get the base R. Don't feel less of a man opting out for the DSG over the manual, its that's good. But if you really want a manual, there are better options out there.

  6. if ur buying a fully loaded GTI i think that is missing the point of what a GTI is. then again its just my opinion but i think a low trim GTI with maybe a few options, could be purchased in the low 20s, that makes it appeal more since ur getting the same power and car just less bells and whistles.

  7. Great video. I got a late 2017 GTI Sport, no longer an available trim option (all base trim, but with the performance pack goodies). Got a DSG since I wanted to experience a dual clutch and can say that it is awesome. The video is spot on, why get a GTI Autobahn, when you can get the R! If they did an R Sportswagen in the US, I would be drooling!

  8. My 2016 GTI weighed a bit under 3000 lbs. But it's a 2 door, base model with a 6 speed. Its lighter than my mini Cooper S was on the same scale. Also, stickier tires are a must. The oem all seasons are junk. Fun, comfortable car I bought with under 14k miles for $16k in 2017. Now at over 60k with zero issues. Just like my 2010, 2006, 1992 GTIs. Take care of a car and it'll take care of you.

  9. I’ve had both. My wife still has my Autobahn 2016 GTI, but I’ve sold my R. The issue is that it’s accelerator is so heavy that unless you really push, it doesn’t feel fast and when you do push, all hell breaks loose. The GTI is honestly more fun. It’s far easier to accelerate quickly by feathering the throttle. It’s not all or nothing. In every day non track driving, at 80%, it feels faster and lighter than the R. Unless you like driving at 90% all the time, save yourself the extra money.

  10. A "R" is too much… a GTI is border… Better to get the TSI (1.8T) at $22,000. for those who do not spent all their time on track.

  11. I wanted an R and settled for a 17 GTI Autobahn. Although the car is spirited, it just lacks everything I wanted in the R. The all wheel drive, the 70hp and a better exhaust note. Sure you can add a tune and make them wicked fast, but messing with adding and removing larger downpipes is a lot of work.

  12. I ordered the 2018 Golf R with 19"Pretoria wheels after owning several generations of GTI's and I have no regrets.
    The AWD in Winter conditions is amazing with Hakkapelitta R2's AWD> FWD 1000%
    The R is nearly a MK3 Audi TTS with a Golf body- great combo, I had a MK2 TTS and the current R is faster but is almost invisible on the road unlike the Audi.

  13. I like golf r a lot and I think it's one of the perfect cars for a city dweller if you want to have a little fun to and from work to let go off the days stress 🙂

  14. I'm not planning on going to a track or street racing so I'm sticking with the gti good fun car to drive around town and its alot cheaper than the r

  15. You’re going to want the R with the automatic gearbox, all though the GTI with the optional Diff is cool 2. It doesn’t really matter honestly but I prefer the R 😍

  16. I picked up a MK6 GTI with 10k miles for $17k last year and I'm extremely happy with it so far. I have to agree that the wheelspin is a huge downside though. Maybe I'm just bad at accelerating off the line, but I've found that I can't get to third without some major spinning. Pirelli all-seasons as well.

  17. GTI basic will set you back 42.181 euros (48,796.38 USD) and the R basic is available at 59.221 euros (68,501.68USD) , and we live next to Germany . No wonder in the USA there are a lot of nice , expensive , petrol gulping cars that most people cannot buy , only in the USA where they keep the dream alive and petrol costs next to nothing . Or is the car the last thing the government wants to meddle with before all hell breaks loose and people finally start to rebel against the crimes ?

  18. He didn't mention the bad reliability of the DSG. And the AWD in R is basically FWD. Only when loosing traction the rear wheels get some torque. Same applies to A/S/RS3, A1 and Q2/3 or mb a45 amg. The cars are great tho, if only the manufacturers wouldn't lie about their cars. No, FWD is not as cool as AWD but just admit it! It doesn't harm the GTI's charme for that matter.

    This video is one big advertisement! With too little objective critic! If I would believe these kind of journalism I could never make a decision about what HotHatch to buy! It takes a lot of blogs to teach you the truth… :/

  19. None, their both volkswankers. Gay little cars for gay little idiots. Real people drive real cars with more than a lawnmower engine under the hood.

  20. Wondering about the reported 60-0 stopping distance differences between the GTI and the R, 134 ft vs 106 ft. Since the 2018 GTI has the same brakes as the R and weighs about 200 lbs less, I'm puzzled. Is different tires the explanation? If so, that's striking.

  21. golf is golf. nanana nanana na . most boring car in the world. better have a multipla. at least you get some emotions seein it. like wanting to puke like a fountain.

  22. I'm gonna buy the golf gti se. I dont care about track times and cornering I care about a fun hatch back. Plus I can tune the gti up to way over the hp of the golf r. I will definitely be looking into getting summer tires for the road if the all seasons are trash. Over all although this video pushes the r because it makes sense to buy it because it's a bit more money doesnt really catch my eye when I can get a golf se for way less than 35k. Great video though

  23. In the US, the Autobahn GTI gives the option for max performance summer tires at no addition cost. The problem is if you are buying a car off a dealer's lot it probably has all-seasons unless you live in Florida or Hawaii. Otherwise its an order-only option. As far as the price difference between the Autobahn and Golf R goes, that $36K price you mentioned is MSRP but if you look around you can get it for $32K in reality. Especially at the end of the model year when the next years GTIs are about to come out. The Golf R on the other hand NEVER EVER budges on price and thats a fact. So the real world price difference is $8- 10K. Unless you need AWD, The GTI is a much better deal for road driving. (99% of drivers never go to a track.)

  24. All Season Tires on a GTI? Wtf? Not in Germany. These tires drives like on soap. Dunlop Sportmaxx GT are on it I guess

  25. A very fair and informative review, I'd say. I'd take issue with only one point: the oft-claimed "few thousand dollar difference" in price between comparable trims of the GTI and the Golf R. I realize that reviewers can only cite MSRP prices but in the real world I found it's not "a few thousand dollars difference." Last May I dealt with six different dealers in and around Seattle. I found only one dealer willing to sell an R on their lot for MSRP of about $41K. And that was for a single car that had been ordered but rejected on delivery. Every other dealer wanted at least $2000 over MSRP for the R. In contrast, I purchased a fully loaded GTI Autobahn DSG for $32,043 plus TTL. Considering taxes and comparing it to the one dealer willing to sell the R for MSRP that brought the difference to about $10,000.

    The R is a magnificent vehicle. And if the price difference were only $2K-$3K, I might have opted for it. But for the $10K I saved, I can add a Stage I APR tune and Michelin summer rubber and leave another $8k in my pocket. Add to that the fact that the weight of the R is like adding an NFL cornerback to the passenger seat of the GTI , that the GTI has a sunroof not available in the R (I'm in Seattle where we need all the sunlight we can get) and I just couldn't justify the price difference.

    I wouldn't quarrel with anyone who selects a R, instead, especially if straight line performance and/or tough winter driving is a personal priority but the real world price premium one pays for those advantages is far from negligible.

  26. Lots of base 2018 GTIS for around 21k where I'm at haven't been able to see a new golf r below 38k yet. Also the R has a bigger turbo and is just better looking with R blue paint

  27. 1:12 "The Golf R weighs 200 pounds more, but you wouldn't know it based on the way it accelerates"
    2:36 "If I had one complaint about the Golf R, is its weight"
    …which is it?

  28. $40,000 for an R is a lot. Just get the GTI and you'll be completely happy. You will never reach the limits on regular roads where the difference between the R and GTI matter.

  29. Drive a manual golf R and love it! Manual is really engaging to drive but at higher speeds can be tough to keep up the pace with the car! Still an amazing car!

  30. if you get a Volkswagen the R Line is the fastest version you can get of that perticular car?

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