Johannesburg - Volkswagen hosted its Golf Performance Experience test drive event in Cape Town last week, which entailed a couple of 100km behind the wheel of the latest Golf R. 

Now with a full-fat 228kW four-pot beating under the hood, and mated to a tried-and-tested seven-speed DSG transmission, you can scamper from a standstill to 100km/h in a mind-warping 4.6 seconds. Seriously, if you’re in a V8 R8, a V8 M3, heck even a previous gen V8 C63, you better watch out (particularly in Gauteng).

In four decades since first launching in South Africa, over 350 000 Golfs have been sold in the country. And, since the launch of the seventh generation Golf model range in 2013, the Golf GTI, Golf GTD and Golf R models have made up more than 45% of all unit sales in South Africa.

But, to keep the line-up fresh, Volkswagen is adding more power to the seventh generation Golf R performance derivative by increasing the power output to 228kW from 213kW - making it the most powerful Golf ever sold by Volkswagen South Africa.

The seventh generation Golf R continues to set the benchmark for driver assistance systems in the compact class too, employing technologies that improve safety. These include an optional Blind Spot Monitor with Rear Traffic Alert as well as Adaptive Cruise Control with Front Assist and Autonomous Emergency Braking System.

New design highlights include an (optional) performance exhaust as well as optional R Performance brakes with brake calipers painted black with the ‘R’ logo.

Standard features include ‘R’ designed bumpers, LED headlights and LED taillights that create a design that gives the Golf R a dynamic look. The tailpipes are placed further out to the sides, also giving the car a wider stance. The exterior mirror housing caps come in Matte Chrome or optionally in Carbon. There are also various 19-inch wheel choices - the standard being the “Spielberg” 19-inch alloy wheels or the optional 19-inch “Pretoria” alloy wheels in grey metallic.

As with ‘normal’ Golf derivatives, infotainment systems, such as an optional 24cm Discover Pro system with gesture control, are also available in the Golf R.

Standard on the Golf R, though, is Active Info Display, a panoramic sunroof and drive profile selection which includes the Sport Human Machine Interface (HMI) feature.

Adaptive chassis control is an optional extra and offers the same feature - Sport HMI. In the Sport profile, the ‘Sport HMI’ of the infotainment system on the centre console shows live engine parameters such as power output and the G-forces in play.

You can have one in the following colours: Tornado Red, Pure White, Atlantic Blue Metallic, Indium Grey Metallic, Deep Black Pearl Effect Oryx White Mother of Pearl Effect and the classic Lapiz Blue Metallic paint finish you see above.

The Golf R rockets to 100km/h in a swift 4.6 seconds thanks to 228kW of power and 400Nm of torque. This gain in dynamics is attributable to an extremely fast-shifting 7-speed DSG and the standard Launch Control feature as well as the overall high engine output.

It steers with precision, brakes with intent and has plenty of high speed stability too.

Priced at R676 000, it remains a relative performance bargain.

You can also add that ‘Akrapovic’ sports exhaust (R49 900) and the upgraded ‘R’ braking system (R9 900) to make your car bespoke.

The Golf R comes standard with a five-year/90 000km Service Plan, three-year/120 000km warranty and a lenghty 12-year anti-corrosion warranty. Rs are already at dealers, so go drive one this weekend.

Drive360