2012 Volkswagen Golf R [w/video]

Published on May 13, 2012, by in Automobile.

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Boiled Down, But Still Delectable

It is nearly impossible to avoid reminiscing about the 1983 Volkswagen GTI while driving the 2012 Volkswagen Golf R. As you may recall, “the original hot hatch” arrived on our shores seemingly eons ago with a naturally aspirated 1.8-liter four spitting out just 90 horsepower. While hardly brawny, even in an era of wheezy outputs (the 1983 Mustang GT 5.0 generated just 175 horsepower), its low curb weight of 2,100 pounds and a base price of $7,995 made the range-topping Rabbit not only light, tossable and reasonably quick, but very affordable.

Fast forward nearly three decades to the 2012 Volkswagen Golf R, a direct descendant of that first-generation GTI. Thoroughly modernized, and riding on a sixth-generation chassis, the new two- or four-door range-topping Golf boasts a bit more displacement and gobs more horsepower. But that is not all today’s hot hatch has gained. With innovation and refinement come mass and cost – both of which have risen dramatically over the past three decades.

After falling head-over-heels for the 2012 Golf R after our first drive of the Euro-spec model in Switzerland last spring, it was time to put one in our garage for a longer run on domestic soil. With an eager and open mind, we welcomed the Golf R into our lives for a week. While we didn’t have a chance to toss it around a closed racing circuit, we did put in several hundred miles on the highway, wrung it out on Mulholland and frolicked in wet Southern California mountain snow. In the process, we not only learned plenty about Volkswagen’s hot hatch, but we met several other Golf R drivers who were more than willing to talk to us about their own experiences.

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2012 Volkswagen Golf R [w/video] originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 10 May 2012 11:57:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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