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2012 Volkswagen Golf R

The GTI 2.0 we featured yesterday could be considering anything but blisteringly fast. Just a decade later, the R32 helped progress the hot hatch game. Now Volkswagen has now unleashed a 256 horsepower, all-wheel drive monster on the hot hatchback scene. The R is the automotive equivalent of the four year itch. Volkswagen had R versions of the 2004 and 2008 Golfs, which both featured the VR6 engine and the DSG automatic gearbox in the 2008 model. For 2012, Volkswagen has chosen turbocharged, four-cylinder power and the sole transmission available is a 6-speed manual. Available in two and four-door configurations, the two-door, non-sunroof/navigation model starts at a shade under $34,000. This lightly used R for sale in Texas is the “base” model and offers buyers a chance at this limited production hot hatch at a very slight discount.

2012 Volkswagen Golf R on eBay

Only 1K Miles, One Owner, Features Include: Bluetooth, Heated Seats, Climate Control, 6-Speed Manual Transmission, Xenon Headlights, LED Daytime-Running Foglights, 18′ Wheels, Touch Screen AM/FM Stereo with CD/MP3 Player, Aux-In Outlet, Satellite Radio-Capable, Leather-Wrapped Steering Wheel with R Logo, Steering Wheel Controls, Armrest with Storage and Rear Air Vents, All Wheel Drive, Turbocharged 2.0T Engine, Rear Spoiler, Black Grille with R Logo, Center Dual Chrome Exhaust, Tinted Windows, One-Touch Auto Up/Down Power Windows, Power Locks, Side Mirror Turn Signals, and Much More! Volkswagen Certified Pre-Owned means you not only get the reassurance of a 2yr/24,000 mile Bumper-to-Bumper Limited Warranty, but also a 112-point inspection/reconditioning, 24/7 roadside assistance, and a complete CARFAX vehicle history report.

The last time I visited a Volkswagen dealer, I spotted a four-door Golf R on the lot. The sticker price was a little over $38,000. Across the lot was a brand new Audi A4 2.0T Quattro sedan for around $34,000. The A4 is down 45 horsepower in comparison to the Golf, but I’d honestly save a few thousand dollars and go for the Audi. But that’s just one person’s preference. I’m sure Volkswagen will have no problem selling the 5,000 Rs that will be made available here in the US. And for those in colder climates, the all-wheel drive is certainly a draw.



  1. Walter Tymczyna
    Walter Tymczyna October 31, 2012

    I was close to picking up one of these this past summer for the 0% APR deal.

    As an owner of a 2008 R32, I found this car to be more technically advanced. The six speed manual was nice too.

    Compared to the 2008 R32, the 2012 R20 felt less aggressive. It looked less less aggressive. Most importantly, it sounded less aggressive with its weak exhaust note.

    I kept my R32. To me, it’s the better car plus that DSG is divine & overall, it had more luxury items compared to the R20. I may regret not pulling the trigger. But @ 80K miles my R32 still feels new. Plus it looks awesome, especially with the rims and fat flared fenders.

  2. Larry
    Larry October 31, 2012

    I appreciate VW’s decision to (finally) market both the 2- and 4- door R here – particularly with the more engaging (if marginally slower) manual transmission. Unfortunately, reviews have not been particularly kind to this “AWD GTI on Steriods.” The reality is that short using it as an all-out track weapon (where you probably wouldn’t choose an R anyway), the car itself performs very well.

    As noted, the biggest deterrent to buying an R is price (a 4-door with sunroof, nav and keyless, lists for slightly under $37K, but dealers are offering a bit off MSRP now). The same vehicle in Europe can top $50K, believe it or not, so it’s already pretty well discounted for the US market. It’s just not enough.

    From what I’ve heard from dealers, many buyers seriously looking at a Golf R really aren’t really comparing it to a new WRX, STi or Evo. It’s a different animal that appeals to a different crowd. Golf R buyers appreciate the German feel, materials, fit-and-finish, etc. Basically, NOT a WRX.

    As Paul suggested, they are comparing it to new, and more likely, low-mileage CPO upscale German cars (BMW, Audi, etc.) For the exactly the same money as a new sunroof-nav equipped 4-door Golf R (with a 3-year new car warranty), you can buy a well-equipped low-mileage BMW 335i x-drive (with 1-2 years remaining on the new car warranty, plus a 2-year zero-deductible CPO warranty beyond that). The BMW will blow away the R in pretty much every respect, will be warrantied for longer, and as a bonus, they treat you MUCH better at the BMW dealer.

    Not a surprise then that there’s more new R’s available than CPO 335i’s. I love the new R, but it’s hard to justify it. Which probably explains why I bought a 3-series instead.

  3. srcn
    srcn October 31, 2012

    I got my 4-door R base for $31,800. That’s $1200 below invoice, and I got %0 APR. It’s a no brainer for me.

    I’m a manual snob, so the R32 was never on my radar. I wanted a german, awd, manual wagon or hatch to replace my B6 A4, and Audi no longer sells the A4 Avant with a stick. Fine, Golf R it is; one test drive and that crazy low sales price is all it took.

    The BMW 335i has all sorts of issues. They are FAR less reliable than any VW 2.0T. As for blowing it away, well, the Golf R is more than powerful enough to get me into all sorts of trouble. An extra 100hp is a handful of boltons away if for some reason I ever get bored (let’s see the R32 DSG do that).

    And no, I didn’t compare it to an STI or Evo. They’re fun, but not a car I want to DD.

  4. Larry
    Larry October 31, 2012

    I agree that a 3-year-old 335i is 3-years closer than a new R to costing requiring more maintenance and repairs. (The engine in the R is not the GTI engine, it’s a variant of the Audi TTS engine. I have not heard that it’s far mote reliable than the 335’s twin-turbo Inline-6.) However, they will both cost you after the warranties expire. Given the comparable warranty time, personally, I’d be much happier spending the next three years in the BMW. After that, I’m not so sure (just because everything BMW seems to cost a bit more).

    srcn, I’d be interested to know where (and how) you got $1200 below invoice on an R. I’d been watching the market this year, and the only new R’s getting that significant a discount either have some dealer demo miles, or are being sold used, or have some other history (damage in transit, etc.) Beyond cut-rate financing and a brief factory lease offer, I’m not aware that VW has offered any factory-backed discounts on the R this year.

  5. miek
    miek October 31, 2012

    Now this is a real R.

    R32s are just bad. Overweight, underpowered, uninteresting. Really just an old man’s luxury car.

    This car on the otherhand is everything the R32 is not. Tunable, as fast as an Evo X or Subaru STI, even weight with those cars, fun to drive, good handling (not great, just good), and overall a good looking car. Its just the VW equivalent of an Audi S3 which is not sold here which is reason enough to buy it.

    I was going to buy one but for some insane reason they were out the door priced at around $40k…. which was ridiculous. So I bought the Subaru instead. The Subaru dealer was willing to negotiate price, the VW dealer was completely uninterested. Maybe i’ll buy a used one in the future, then again if I buy a used German car in the future it would probably me a 1 Series M or something.

  6. miek
    miek October 31, 2012

    “It’s a different animal that appeals to a different crowd.”

    Not really, everyone I know who was shopping for the STI or EVO X was also cross shopping with this car. They really are the same.

    Before the EVO X was canceled it went down to do you want better (as in LEAGUES better) handling? They you buy the EVO X. Do you want a slightly better interior and standard options? Golf R. The STI is really behind both of those cars in styling. Also the “fit and finish” and “german feel” is really just marketing with this car and not reality. The problem with the Golf R is that the Haldex AWD is really quite terrible for a performance car and clunky. However they do their best in the R to make it good at least, however any STI or EVO will easily out-handle it. Really you should own one of those AWD “rally” cars once in your life. The EVO X is quite literally supercar handling for pedestrian price. It has similar AWD technology and transmission as high end supercars such as a GTR and any car expert who ever drove it RAVES about it. The Golf R is just a regular everyday car.

    Also if you are into tuning and performance it costs hundreds to buy a Tactrix and get an opensource tune for a EVO X or STI, where with a Golf R you will pay 1000s for similar gains or you have to buy a piggyback. They really lock those cars down to the chagrin of the tuning crowd.

    “Given the comparable warranty time, personally, I’d be much happier spending the next three years in the BMW.”

    Honestly you would probably like the BMW better if you want performance and handling. When I drove the Golf R I instantly felt I needed to spend money on it right out the door on some aftermarket parts for handling, sway bars and suspension. Its not a tied down car at all where a 135 or 335 is fine out the door. I personally prefer a 135 as I like a smaller car, that thing is great. However I wanted AWD this time around.

  7. srcn
    srcn November 1, 2012

    I was not cross shopping them. I found Evos and STI’s too loud and stiff for daily driving and long distance trips, so they weren’t on my radar.

    Maybe I’m getting old (well, okay, I am), but I like some refinement along with my fun. The Evos and STIs don’t have any. If I didn’t like the Golf R I would have likely looked at pre-owned 328xiT’s, or B7 A4/S4 Avants’s to replace my B6 A4 Avant. Practicality is important too, and the Evo has none. Non-folding rear seats and a pathetic trunk? Yeah, I’ll pass. Maybe if Mitsu sold us an Evo sportback, but they didn’t.

    As for the $1200 below invoice, I think that was a sale that the dealership network was having just to clear out some inventory.

    I also dispute post-warranty maintenance costs. There are FAR more things that go wrong down the road with the N54 powered 335i’s, than with the 2.0T FSI engine.

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