At RideLust, not a month goes by that we’re not crying “foul” over some EU-only sport sedan or hot hatch. “Americans don’t buy hatchbacks”, we’re told, or, “it would be too expensive if we sold it in the states”. I’ve heard all the excuses, but it doesn’t numb the pain of being excluded from cars like Ford’s Focus RS. It even appeared that VW would pass us by with the 2011 Golf R, the long awaited successor to the Golf R32. As you may have guessed, VW was unhappy with the exchange rate between Euros and U.S. dollars, and felt that the Golf R would be too expensive in the United States.
Fortunately for us, VW’s had a change of heart, and has announced that the US will get the Golf R after all. VW says we can expect the 270 horsepower, Haldex 4Motion AWD hot hatch by the end of 2011, as a 2012 model. Like its predecessor, the Golf R32, the Golf R won’t be inexpensive, with pricing estimated to be in the mid $30k range. That price buys you one of the nicest interiors in the segment, which is a nod in favor of the VW over cars like the Mitsubishi Evo or the Subaru WRX STi. Car and Driver has driven the EU version, and calls it, “simply the best Golf ever”.
I really liked the old R32, just not quite enough to buy one. As a weekend toy, it may have been the perfect car, and the exhaust note from the V6 engine was utterly sublime. As a daily driver, it was a pain to climb in or out of, thanks to the deep bolstering of the superb Recaro seats. It also didn’t feel as fast as I expected, although it certainly did remain planted no matter how hard I pushed it. My budget for cars these days isn’t what it used to be, but I know this for a fact: when VW brings in the Golf R, I may not be able to pass it by again. I’ve got a kidney I can sell, and there’s nothing wrong with living on Top Ramen for a few years.