Since as far back as the Golf MkIII, Volkswagen's famous hatch has had higher performance versions than just the GTI.
These began with the VR6 and then R32 variants which were narrow-angled six-cylinder engined Golfs, then for the MkVI, an even-higher performance four-cylinder Golf was released – the Golf R.
The first R was powered by a 2.0-litre turbo (199kW/350Nm) which could sprint from 0-100 in 5.5 seconds for the dual-clutch auto variant.
In its current MkVII incarnation, the all-wheel drive Golf R can sprint from 0-100km/h in a claimed 4.8 seconds courtesy of an even more powerful 2.0-litre turbo (213kW/380Nm).
In independent Golf R acceleration tests, real world figures tend to land on the money for its claimed figure.
The Golf R currently has an MSRP of $57,190 in hatch form and is only available with a seven-speed dual-clutch auto.
Still, it faces stiff competition from the significantly more expensive Mercedes-AMG A45 ($78,611) with its 2.0-litre turbo propelling it from 0-100km/h in 4.6 seconds (0.2 sec faster) and less competition from the cheaper Renault Megane RS ($47,490) which will do the sprint in 5.8 seconds.
Another, even faster, option comes from within the Volkswagen Group in the form of the significantly more expensive Audi RS3 ($80,611). The RS3 has a whopping five-cylinder turbo (294kW/480Nm) which even puts the AMG in its place with a claimed 0-100km/h sprint of 4.1 seconds.
The current Golf R has a max speed quoted at (an electronically-limited) 250km/h, the same as the GTi which sits below it.
| ||Price (MSRP)||Powertrain||kW/Nm||0-100km/h|
|Renault Megane RS||$47,490||1.8-litre inline-four turbo (FWD)||205kW/390Nm||5.8 sec|
|Volkswagen Golf R||$57,190||2.0-litre inline-four turbo (AWD)||213kW/380Nm||5.5 sec|
|Mercedes-AMG A45||$78,611||2.0-litre inline-four turbo (AWD)||280kW/475Nm||4.6 sec|
|Audi RS3||$80,611||2.5-litre inline-five turbo (AWD)||294kW/480Nm||4.1 sec|
Would you pick the Golf R over the Mercedes-AMG A45 or the Audi RS3? Tell us what you think in the comments below.