Opt for the four-door, and the seats lose the power four-way lumbar (in favor of manual two-way) but gain power recline.
With either body style the seats have a single manual height adjustment, so there’s no way to separately adjust their tilt.
Add a larger turbo to the 2.0-liter engine to bump the official horsepower rating from 200 to 256. The resulting Golf R ought to be hot hatch nirvana. (When they do you’ll get a thumbs-up.) The rest of the population will see just another GTI, if they notice the Golf R at all.
Perhaps VW performed some beneficial tweaks with the Americanized version? The R does have larger lower front fascia openings, side skirts, and a centrally-located dual exhaust, but these are sufficiently restrained that only the VW cognoscenti will likely notice them.
Outside, the GTI’s red grille trim, red calipers, and highly-styled rims have been replaced by much more subtle bits.
If you’ve been inside a GTI with the Autobahn Package’s black leather interior, you’ve essentially been inside this car.
Any sleeper worthy of the name combines invisible styling with strong performance. Towards the latter, on paper the car has 56 more horsepower (256 @ 6,000 rpm vs.
207 @ 5,100 rpm) and 36 more pound-feet of torque (243 @ 2,400 rpm vs. In reality, the lesser engine outperforms its specs to such a degree that, if you remove traction off the line from the equation, the GTI gets to 60 about as quickly as the 291-pound-porkier Golf R (‘s 5-to-60 “street start” is seven seconds flat for both).
As speed increases, the Golf R does gain strength, and once over 60 it would leave a GTI increasingly farther behind while sounding especially good for a four.
The taste police simply replaced the GTI’s red instrument needles and stitching with blue and white, respectively.
It’s as if they wanted others to see a regular Golf, which might (together with the possibility of a lawsuit) explain why the nameplate reads “Golf R” rather than “GTI-R.” Do sleepers excite you, or put you to sleep? Compared to a Focus ST, room for elbows and knees seems more abundant and the car feels larger.