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2012 Volkswagen Golf R

I suppose I’m not a very fair consumer, if I’m honest. For years, I decried Volkswagen for depriving Americans of the very best offerings it had. Golf Rallye and Country? Nope, and not the Limited either. Passat G60 Syncro? Nope, we didn’t get that either. There’s a string of great TDis that didn’t come here (and still don’t), along with one of the ones that really bugged me – the 4-door GTi. It just never made sense to me how you could argue the GTi was a super practical car when they made a more practical version that just wasn’t brought here. Of course, that ended with the Mk.V, so then my annoyance turned back to the Golf Limited. Sure, we had the R32 – by all rights, a great car, that was not available in 4-door version in the first generation and then not available in either a 4-door or manual in the second generation. To me, in an effort to be gimmicky Volkswagen had really lost the bit. Apparently I wasn’t alone in that thought, because Volkswagen finally made my GTi wishes come true in 2012 with the U.S. introduction of the spiritual successor to the Golf Limited – the Mk. 6 Golf R. Gone was the VR6, replaced by the more potent and tunable 2.0T which could now be specified with a manual and all-wheel drive, and importantly in 4-door guise. Did I buy one? Nope, because this German wonder priced in at a shocking $36,000 with options. For a Golf, mind you.

Today, though, the first generation of Golf Rs has become in some cases cheaper than the car it replaced, the Mk.5 R32 , which as I just explained only came in two-door DSG. This Golf R, though, has four doors and 1.5 manual gears per a door:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2012 Volkswagen Golf R on eBay

Year: 2012
Model: Golf R
Engine: 2.0 liter turbocharged inline-4
Transmission: 6-speed manual
Mileage: 100,000 mi
Location: Bowmansville, New York
Price: $17,496 Buy It Now

Rising Blue Metallic 19/27 City/Highway MPG Recent Arrival! 2012 Volkswagen Golf R AWD 6-Speed Manual 2.0L I4 TSI DOHC 16V Turbocharged Titan Black w/Leather Seating Surfaces.

19/27 City/Highway MPG

* Strong turbocharged engine; standard all-wheel drive; sharp handling characteristics; hatchback versatility; two- or four-door configurations; interior sophistication. Source: Edmunds
* If you enjoy intelligent design, efficient operation, careful build quality and artful execution, the 2012 Volkswagen Golf should fit a wide range of transportation needs. Although not as entertaining as the turbocharged GTI derivative, both the 2.5-liter in-line five and 2.0-liter TDI have prodigious torque along with competitive efficiency. The GTI provides expressive performance within a practical footprint, while the new Golf R is almost explosive in its capability. The Golf design has proven timeless, boding well for long-term enjoyment and a reasonable return on investment. Source:
KBB Fair Market Range High: $16,597

By switching to the 2.0 turbo inline-four, the hot Golf gained a few horsepower and lost a few pounds and a great exhaust note. But to me, the rest of the package really makes up for it. The sharper Mk.6 looks are offset nicely by the signature Rising Blue Metallic paintwork and silver Talladega wheels. Inside the interior quality again stepped up a few notches, and here even with 100k this car looks to be in great shape. Will this be the collector car of the future? It may not be *quite* as evocative as the hot GTIs of the past, but to me it also represented a step forward in chasing the STi/Evo crowd without crossing an unspoken line. It’s still a Golf, and it still looks classy. This one has a few more miles than the R32 I just looked at, and it’s also a few thousand dollars more. But I think some haggling with this dealer could result in a decent deal.



  1. Nick
    Nick January 24, 2021

    This car has a few questionable things going on with it that would make me hesitate. In addition to the mileage, there’s the “sport” fender stripe decals, the yellow painted brake calipers, and the yellow “R” logo, all of which were not offered from the factory. Added to the aftermarket intake, and this car was almost certainly tuned. It’s also missing the OEM engine cover. For some reason, in the MK6, Volkswagen gave the Golf R the older FSI engine with arguably more flaws than the TSI engine that came in the same generation GTI: a flat cam follower that needs frequent replacement, a belt driven engine instead of the newer chain setup, and the older, more failure prone PCV system that, when coupled with the larger K04 turbo, resulted in more frequent rear main seal leaks. It’s still a fantastic car, but at this price, more than just a little haggling would be required.

  2. Cory
    Cory January 26, 2021

    I’m getting mighty interested in these. They look so much better than the mk7, and would go nicely with my mk4 and mk2. I’ll take mine in LY3D.

    Apparently every other golf generation is a winner for me, so I look forward to meeting the mk8.

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