It was the most powerful Golf ever. The VW Golf R32 powered by a 177 kW (241 bhp) engine was first launched in August 2002. Not only was it one of the hottest cars on the road, it also sold like hot cakes: three times as many R32's were sold than originally planned. These are excellent prospects for its successor.
Now comes a new R32 based on the Volkswagen Golf V generation. This time it packs 184 kW (250 bhp) under the bonnet; the permanent 4MOTION four-wheel drive again promises excellent roadholding. The new model will see its world premiere at the 59th Frankfurt Motor Show (15 to 25 September). Presales in Germany start on 19 August. Market launch will be at the end of September. Prices for the new Volkswagen Golf R32 start at €32,200.
From the outside, the best Golf ever is not only recognisable by the R32 logo. Similar to its predecessor, the new top Golf has a design and equipment all of its own. The VW Golf R32 has a top speed of 250 km/h and comes either with a 6-speed manual gearbox or the optional dual clutch gearbox (DSG). Equipped with the DSG the "R32" is even faster: 6.2 instead 6.5 seconds from 0-100 km/h. Despite all this, the model is unusually easy to handle.
From the front, the new R32 generation is immediately recognisable by its unique aluminium-effect shield-shaped radiator grille. At the top of the grille are double aluminium cross struts. Under the number plate there is another central air scoop for the powerful 3.2-litre V6 engine. Two more large openings on each side of the shield-shaped radiator grille are intended for fresh air supply. As opposed to all other Golfs, there are air ducts at the bottom and on either side of the fully painted front bumper. The lines of the air duct continue into the side skirt all the way along to the rear bumper.
The rear of the VW Golf R32 is also designed as a fully painted bumper. Only the middle section in the shape of a diffuser is in black. The two round tailpipes made of polished stainless steel are placed centrally next to each other and are integrated prominently in the rear bumper. A glance at the outline of the VW Golf R32 shows the 18-inch light-alloy wheels (type "Zolder"). They are fitted with 20 spokes and continue the design theme of the first R32 wheel. The spokes still allow glimpses of what lies behind them: brake calipers painted blue. They come with 345 mm (diameter) discs at the front and 310 mm at the rear.
The 225/40 tyres bear the Y-pattern tread for high-speed tyres up to 300 km/h. A large-size rear spoiler makes sure that the rear wheels stay firmly on the road. The fact that the wheel-tyre combination sits snugly in the wheel housings is partly due to the 18-inch wheel size but also to the specially tuned sports running gear that is lower by 20 millimetres.
The sporty concept of the VW Golf R32 is a theme that permeates the entire vehicle. Take the interior, for example. There are distinctive instruments, sports seats, pedals in aluminium look and special applications that emphasise the sporty nature of the Golf. The sports steering wheel, with perforated leather along the grip area, and the R32 gear shift knob lie firmly in the hand.
As opposed to the more purist style of the Golf GTI, the R32 top model boasts a dazzling array of standard equipment at no extra price, such as automatic air conditioning (Climatronic), the RCD 300 audio system with ten loudspeakers, anti-theft alarm system plus, multifunction display, automatic anti-dazzle interior mirror, rain sensor, tyre pressure monitor and the complete safety programme comprising six airbags, ESP and brake assistant. The standard bi-xenon headlights light up the night like day.
The Golf range: The Golf tops the new registration statistics in Europe. Not only that: no other car in this segment offers so many different engines. With the introduction of the VW Golf R32 the model range now stretches from 55 kW (75 bhp) to 184 kW (250 bhp). Including the VW Golf R32-V6, there are ten engines on offer – six petrol and four diesel. This year two more interesting engines will be added to the Golf range. The Golf remains an exciting car to watch.