While Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz have all given us superb performance wagons (yes, even in the U.S.!), the German manufacturer with “Wagen” in its name has managed to skirt a really the opportunity to engage 5-door fanatics of ‘Freedom’.
But wait, you say, what about the Passat W8 4Motion Variant 6-speed?
Yeah sure. It was a really cool concept, and with the sport package BBS wheels it even looked really neat. But it wasn’t really a performance wagon. The follow-up 3.6 4Motion Variant actually did offer a bit more sport, but only came in automatic form. The more serious R36 never came here.
However, a few years ago Volkswagen launched an even MORE potent option – the Golf SportWagon R. With a 300 horsepower version of the 2.0 TSFI linked to the 6-speed manual or DSG dual-clutch box and utilizing the same Haldex all-wheel drive as the regular Golf R, the result was no surprise – a slightly bigger Golf R equaled a small performance wagon with few peers. 0-60 could be topped in 4.5 seconds and the quarter was gone in 13.3 seconds with the DSG, it topped out at 155 mph and yet would return 30 mpg on the highway. Eat your cake and have it too, indeed!
Of course, it hasn’t come here. But since it’s a VW and VW enthusiasts are swap-happy….
Want to feel very special, drive a great sports car and stand apart from the crowd but don’t have a million dollars for a Porsche 911?
No problem. I have the solution.
Sure, you could do what I suggested a few weeks ago and buy the ‘affordable’ and ‘useable’ supercar – Audi’s R8. With 600 plus horsepower from a screaming V10 and “arrest me now, I broke the speed limit the moment I turned the key” looks, you’re sure to draw attention and smiles. But even though relative to the used 911 market these cars are bargains, you’re saying ‘Come on, Carter – they’re still $170,000’. And you’re right – for most, they’re only affordable if you would consider them a primary residence rather than a weekend warrior.
So if you need to actually commute, what about Audi’s TTS? Okay, it’s not the 400 horsepower TT RS – I get it. But it retains the walk-on-water MQB platform and pairs it with the Golf R drivetrain – good for 292 horsepower and 280 lb.ft of torque driving all four wheels. Paired with the S-Tronic DSG dual-clutch, you’re capable of blitzing 60 mph in 4.6 seconds yet still this car returns 27 mpg on the highway. Unlike the R8, it’s also got rear seats (albeit quite small) and a hatchback that doesn’t contain a V10. While that’s disappointing when showing off to your friends, the reality is that occasionally you need to carry something larger than your ego.
But though it lacks the headline-grabbing figures and cross-marque instantly recognizable alpha-numeric nomenclature of its more famous siblings, the TTS fails to disappoint with performance and incorporates all the cutting-edge technology, including the mega-cool virtual dashboard. You can also spec it out in a bunch of really cool colors, such as the Vegas Yellow I looked at on the R8s. But this particular one, as you’ve seen, is a bit extra special, having been special ordered in Viper Green:
Since its debut the Golf R has been a car I’ve had an awareness of and thought was pretty interesting, but I did not really give it too much more thought than that. Basically, they were too expensive. But that all changed after I featured one back in May and now as I come across them on the second-hand market they draw my attention much more fervently and I even wonder whether, when the time comes, this may be the car to look for when replacing my wife’s car. At nearly $40K when new the Golf R can be a tough sell. Even though you get 256 hp and all-wheel drive there are a lot of options at $40k and just about any hatchback, especially if it’s the 2-door model, is going to be looked at with a wayward eye. The entire equation changes once these hit the second-hand market as depreciation does a number on them quite quickly and with $10K lopped off the sticker price the Golf R becomes a significantly more attractive option. Here we have a 4-door model, a Black on Black 2012 Volkswagen Golf R, located in Pennsylvania, with 6-speed manual transmission and 10,200 miles on it.
Who doesn’t love a hot hatch? The combination of a nimble chassis, lively performance, and versatile practicality has been a winning package for decades now and though they still are less beloved here in the States than they are in Europe we now at least have a few nice options from which we can choose the one that suits our needs. VW, of course, produced one of the most iconic hot hatches of all time and while their current options have departed quite a bit from the excellent lightness of the original GTi, they remain a leader in hot-hatch execution. For 2012 Volkswagen brought us their top performance version, the Golf R. As the replacement for the R32 the Golf R utilized a 2.0 liter turbocharged inline-4 to direct 256 hp to all four wheels through a 6-speed manual. These pack a serious punch when added to the dynamic chassis and all-wheel drive helps smooth out the various problems associated with asking the front wheels to steer and deliver all that power at the same time. With both a 2-door and 4-door as options there’s also plenty of versatility available to those who need it. The example we see here appears to be a lightly used 2-door Rising Blue Metallic 2012 Volkswagen Golf R, located in Dallas.