The 2018 Volkswagen Golf R is a marvelous all-wheel-drive sport compact that has lots of endearing qualities and a few shortcomings. With the eighth-generation Golf slated for production in 2019, VW updated its spunky hatchback to keep sales running high until the Mk8 Golf drops sometime mid-2019. They’ve refreshed the seventh-generation Golf R with some minor styling changes, more tech goodies, and driver assistance updates.
2018 Volkswagen Golf R New Features
For 2018, Volkswagen’s Golf R — the fastest and most powerful of the Golf clan — still hammers out a healthy 292 horsepower and 280 pound-feet of torque. Instead of three trim levels, now the R is simplified to one trim level that includes Dynamic Chassis Control (DCC) and navigation. Admirably, Volkswagen’s MSRP for the Golf R is a mere $400 more expensive than the comparably equipped 2017 model.
A six-speed manual transmission is standard with the Golf R. However, you can spec a dual-clutch DSG gearbox, adding an extra gear in the process. The 2018 cars equipped with the DSG automatic also get automatic start/stop.
Volkswagen has reworked the front fascia, featuring a new bumper with a solid disc VW emblem that houses the sensors for the forward collision monitoring system. Plus, they’ve reshaped the air intakes, added small aero winglets and LED headlights. Unfortunately, those LED headlights cannot be retrofitted to the 2015 – 2017 models because the assembly’s shape is slightly different. Deutsche Auto Parts reports part numbers for the front fenders are different between the Mk7 and Mk7.5 GTI, which suggests the LED headlights will not fit the Mk7 Golf R.
Inside, the company has also upgraded the 6.5-inch touchscreen to 8.0 inches. The fully digital, 12.3-inch Volkswagen Digital Cockpit—the brand’s own version of the Audi virtual cockpit—is also included. Noticeably absent from the digital gauges are the blue needles that were characteristic of the previous Golf R.
The refreshed 2018 Volkswagen Golf R is still a fun, fast, reliable car that conveniently comes with a six-year, 72,000-mile bumper-to-bumper limited warranty. Altogether, the longer warranty for six years makes it easier to justify the $40k price tag. Look for the 2018 models to begin shipping soon.
Speaking of Golf R, how well does its 4MOTION all-wheel drive system perform on the ice? We head to the Canadian wilderness to find out in the video below: