The original Volkswagen GTI is credited with starting the entire hot hatchback phenomenon. But somewhere along the line, the mad scientists at Volkswagen decided their hot Golf wasn’t quite as hot as it could be. The result is hardcore performance brought to you by the letter “R.” At the Detroit Auto Show next week, U.S. buyers will be introduced to our version of the latest in the R line, the 2015 Volkswagen Golf R. It’s shaping up to be pretty great. While it’s changed quite a bit over the years, most notably in terms of cylinder count, some things always remain the same. They’re always all-wheel drive hatchbacks with a respectable boost in power over the GTI, an available bright blue paint scheme, a more luxurious interior to match its bigger price tag, and typically an allotment of 5,000 models for the U.S. during its run. So with the American debut of the ultimate MK7 Golf looming, now seemed like a good time to explore the history of the R models and preview what we can expect from the one headed to the Motor City soon. Come; sit down and enjoy a nice beverage as we take a walk through hot hatch history. Today, “R” stands for retrospective! You could also call this a “Golftrospective.” That one’s good, too. MK4 Volkswagen Golf R32: 2002-2005 What happens when you take an ordinary Golf, add 4Motion all-wheel drive, and stuff a big ol’ 3.2-liter VR6 narrow-angle six-cylinder engine under its hood? You… [Read full story]
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