By Khulekani Dumisa
Recently we travelled to the Western Cape for the reveal of the 228 kW Golf R. Yes, you are correct, this model has been available in Europe and now makes its way to Mzansi thanks to VW changing their categorization of the country’s temperature status. Previously the country was classified as very hot but its status has been changed to just hot meaning models such as the 228 kW Golf R can be enjoyed by Mzansi Golf fanatics.
Golfs are big business to VW SA and performance Golfs are even more of a big deal to the local manufacturer. VW has sold over 350,000 Golfs in South Africa from the introduction of the of the Golf range locally. Following 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 Golf sales in South Africa. It is not surprising that VW SA has lobbied hard for South Africa to finally get the Golf R performance derivative which increases the power output to 228kW from 213kW – making it the most powerful Golf ever sold by Volkswagen South Africa.
New exterior design highlights include the optional R Performance Titanium exhaust (R39,900) as well as optional R Performance brakes (R9,900) with brake calipers painted black with the ‘R’ logo. 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.
The Golf R has a relatively high asking starting at R676,000, and VW somehow addresses these concerns by adding standard features such as the ‘R’ designed bumpers, LED headlights and LED taillights, Active Info Display, panoramic sunroof and drive profile selection which includes the Sport Human Machine Interface (HMI) feature.
Golf R is not only about performance but also continues the VW tradition of safety by employing technologies that significantly improve safety. These include the optional Blind Spot Monitor with Rear Traffic Alert as well as Adaptive Cruise Control with Front Assist and Autonomous Emergency Braking System.
The Golf R rockets to 100 km/h in a swift 4.6 seconds thanks to 228kW of power and 400Nm of torque. Other than the powerful 228 kW, the brisk 4,6 second figure is attributed to the fast-shifting 7-speed DSG and the standard Launch Control. We drove the 228 kW Golf R through mountain passes and were impressed by the performance on corners which seem to have been egged on by the melodic sound of the new optional R Performance Titanium exhaust. Regulating but never intruding with performance was the new optional R Performance brakes. By the end of the day, these additional options had convinced us that the Golf R story would not be complete without them.
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