It won’t take a sharp eye to notice that the two VW R models (Volkswagen Golf R and Scirocco R) you see here aren’t the test mules currently going about their rounds in these parts. The Rising Blue examples are from the brief session spent on track in Germany during the trip to Wolfsburg.
Yes, they should have been written about some time earlier. No, I’ve not been a good boy in this regard, and for that I must apologise, but nothing staring down the barrel of a – metaphorical – Luger pointed at you by conscience can’t solve. Yes, VGM has asked us to take the local demonstrators out for review. No, we really haven’t done so yet, due to a lack of time and other constraints. Yes, we will, soon, hopefully, so consider this a hors d’oeuvre of what the R twins are all about until we can dish up the main meal.
Full story after the jump.
Apologies out of the way, time to tell you what they’re like, at least from a track perspective. Both the Golf R and Scirocco R were sampled at the Motorsport Arena Oschersleben racetrack situated in Oschersleben, in the Magdeburg Börde region. Located around 30 km from Magdeburg, the venue plays host to DTM and WTCC races.
Both cars shouldn’t be strangers to you, but a quick recap never hurts, as well as some notes about differences in the German versions on test compared to what we have here; the Volkswagen folk mentioned then that what we were sampling wasn’t representative of what eventually has been launched in Malaysia around March this year, and for some points, this much is true.
For the Mk VI Golf R, there’s a variance in power output coming off the EA113 2.0 litre TSI mill. The German car had 270 PS at 6,000 rpm and 350 Nm of torque from 2,500 to 5,000 rpm; the Golf R sold here lists 255 PS and 330 Nm of torque from 2,400 to 5,200 rpm for numbers.
The mill is paired to a six-speed dual-clutch DSG gearbox, and a 4Motion all-wheel drive system channels the power to the wheels. Performance numbers for the car are a 0-100 km/h time of 5.7 seconds and an electronically-limited 250 km/h top speed.
Common items for the 1,521 kg offering include Adaptive Chassis Control (DCC), internally ventilated discs all around with R-specific brake calipers, ESP with delayed intervention as well as 19-inch “Talladega” alloys with 235/35 rubbers. There’s also a black version of the wheel, as seen on the German cars.
As for the Scirocco R, there’s also a variance in power. The German car had 265 PS and 350 Nm in its standard guise, while the car we have here has the same numbers as found on the Golf R, 255 PS and 330 Nm.
The three-door vehicle also wears a six-speed DSG transmission, but in this case power is distributed only to the front wheels. And while the Scirocco R ships with 18-inch “Talladega” alloys and 235/40 tyres as standard issue in Germany, our version comes equipped with the same 19-inch version worn by the Golf R.
On to the meatier stuff. The Oschersleben track measures 3.67 kilometres long, and it’s a pretty fast circuit. At that point, the inclement weather (just a mere shade off freezing) meant that the surface conditions weren’t the grippiest, but it also helped show up the different nature of both cars.
Track runs were paced by a lead vehicle, with each out session cycling the group in turn behind the pace car, effectively allowing everyone to ‘have a go.’ While the pace dictated was dependent on the group on a whole, there was still ample opportunity to stretch the cars’ legs. In all, I managed four sessions, but three of those were with the Golf R – there were fewer Scirocco R’s about, and as such they were naturally in demand.
Initially, with the Golf R, what transpired on the track was accomplished in faster fashion. It’s not that the Scirocco R is slower (it isn’t, actually), but the four-wheel drive advantage running on the slippery tarmac made it easier to get around quicker on the unknown terrain.
For example, going into Turn 1 on a flying lap, there was less need to set up the car for it; the short of it is that one could be lazy, so to speak, and the car would sort itself out (and save you from the blushes). It’s certainly drivable, the Golf R, and the car’s talent will undoubtedly help average drivers shine.
Getting the Scirocco R to be wild and ragged, on the other hand, was a far easier affair. There was a moment when a yank where there wasn’t supposed to be one brought the car into the upper limits of tractability, enough to persuade the fellow hack behind me that I was either loony or stupid, probably both. Doing the same thing with the Golf R merely got the car unsettled momentarily, but it never hinted more.
In terms of balance, the Golf R is an inherently more neutral offering compared to its predecessor, the Mk V Golf R32. Dynamically, it doesn’t have the nose heavy feel under braking of the R32, something I didn’t really care for, and for all intents and purposes is the faster car. But it feels more sterile than the old one, which I absolutely adored. It also sounds the part; the exhaust note is decent, but the burble and throb coming off the 3.2 litre V6 can’t be replaced.
Technically, this is an accomplished performer, but what’s dished out is put across in matter-of-fact fashion. Perhaps an extended outing here in Malaysia, when the opportunity comes along, will put the reading of the car’s character at Oschersleben down to unfamiliarity and limited time behind the wheel, but I suspect that the detached character is native to it.
In the end, the Scirocco R was the more attractive of the two siblings, certainly in terms of emotional appeal and involvement, somewhat in the way the standard Golf GTI and Scirocco 2.0 TSI square up in my books. There’s more need for commitment behind the wheel, but it’s a more captivating experience when you do.
The high-ish level of engagement hinted at during the brief run certainly makes pitting it against the Renault Megane R.S 250 Cup – a firm favourite with the staffers here at Driven – an interesting proposition. Maybe we’ll get there when we get around to taking them R twins out. Which we will. Hopefully.