The Volkswagen Golf is the second best selling passenger car nameplate of all time. The Golf was first introduced in 1974, and today it is quickly approaching its 30 millionth sale. The Golf has seen every imaginable variant: from its natural hatchback form, to a sedan, a wagon, and a convertible. Its chassis underpins countless other nameplates. Although, it’s had limited sales success in the United States – the Golf name is widely recognized around the world.
However, this car is not only about inexpensive A to B transportation. A “Gran Tourer Injection” model (also known as: GTI) was released in 1976 and started the “hot hatch” revolution that is still raging to this day, and is not showing any signs of letting up. As with any highly successful car, the Golf comes in many special, commemorative, limited and high powered editions. We turn our attention to the highest powered R32 editions.
Although, the GTI label is not unique label to the Volkswagen Golf, somehow this VW varient always comes to mind first when hearing those three letters. The R32 takes the enthusiast’s favorite fun hatchback to the next level. It gains luxurious interior appointments, a tuned narrow angle VR6 engine, and a four wheel drive system. However, it also gains quite a bit of weight.
If you are shopping for a fun and practical small car that has high performance and four wheel drive, then your shopping list becomes short and the R32 should be near the top. The R32 is the only flavor of Golf in United States that offers four wheel drive performance edge and bad weather confidence.
While it’s power to weight ratio is not sports car like, all wheel traction delivers the power very effectively, and the 3.2 liter engine makes very sweet noises out the unique dual exhausts. The only way to make this classy performance hatch better would be to add a turbo.
You can rest assured that there are countless after market kits and accessories available for both 2004 and 2008 generations. HPA Motorsport had one of the wildest twin turbo kits with the power level hovering around 600 hp. Volkswagen itself is also working to remedy the situation with the turbo charged 2012 Golf R arriving at dealerships as we speak. The R32 enthusiast community is strong and will continue to grow. It’s clear that the cars of Golf R lineage will remain desirable in the future.
Volkswagen made the US-spec R32 numbers very simple. There were 5,000 examples produced for 2004 and the exact same number for 2008 Production Details. The 2004 cars were all 6 speed manual, while all of the 2008 were equipped with VW’s excellent dual clutch DSG automatic. There are not a lot of exterior and interior color choices, but the red is consistently the most rare. 5000 units per year is not considered particularly rare and this may hurt R32’s ultimate collect-ability. Also, it is difficult to find an unmodified R32 for sale now, so originality is especially valuable for this car.
While this type of car is now most popular among Generation Y; it is inevitable that even this generation will grow old and in some cases wealthy. So, what car will a 55-year-old Generation Y spend a ton of money on at an auction 25 years from now?
It may be the case that a nicely preserved R32 will garner the interest. The R32 already enjoy very strong resale value and original examples will continue to do so. The R32 may not be the quickest pocket rocket hatchback, but it carved out its own special place in the “hot hatch” market. It will continue to be a formidable opponent and a desirable car.
Ckeck ou this Automobile Review or click play below to watch a video review of the latest Generation Golf R.
Andre Smirnov is a Software Engineer by trade and a life-long automotive enthusiast. On the weekends – you may find him at a car show, an auction, watching a race, or tinkering in the garage. When not working or spending time with the family – he often scours the internet and other media for various automotive, mechanical, and computer related information.