Sunday, March 13, 2011
2012 VW Golf Latest Photos
We're slumming through traffic in downtown Geneva, Switzerland, making our way towards the French border where we're about to spend a few hours flogging the 2012 Volkswagen Golf R along the twisty, narrow roads of the Alps. Right now, we're focused on the Golf's comfortable, well-appointed interior, and how its good visibility and relatively small stature make it a pleasant drive through heavy city traffic. It's just like every other GTI – or Golf, for that matter – in this regard. But as soon as we approach the entrance to highway A40, we find out exactly what that R badge is for.
We speed towards the sharp, right-hand on-ramp with a furious growl coming from the turbocharged 2.0-liter inline four-cylinder engine, and as we throw the wheel to the right, the Golf R hunkers down, digs its claws into the pavement, clips the apex of the ramp and sends us blasting onto the A40 with tremendous force.
"A GTI would have fallen all over itself right there," our co-driver states, matter-of-factly. He's right, too. Even with Volkswagen's nifty new XDS active differential, the GTI is prone to understeer when coming into a turn at high speed, and there's a decent amount of torque steer that makes the exit a bit more skittish than you'd prefer. But in the Golf R, with its fourth-generation 4Motion all-wheel-drive system and more powerful engine, every step of the high-speed cornering dance is executed perfectly.
You can imagine, then, that the rest of our drive through the French Alps was nothing short of bliss. The Golf R is Volkswagen's new poster child for hot hatchery, and if you've ever fallen in love with a GTI, be prepared to be absolutely smitten with this little number.