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VW’s 2023 Golf R is a sporty hatchback made in Base and 20th Anniversary Edition trim levels. Both get a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that whisks out 315 hp and 295 lb.-ft. of torque; AWD with electronic torque vectoring comes standard. A six-speed manual transmission is the default, but there’s also a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic for those who aren’t up for controlling the shifts on their own.
The Golf R is quick off the line, achieving 60 mph from 0 in just 4.7 seconds. It’s also equipped with a drive mode selector and active chassis control for truly optimal handling. It’s also quite efficient for such a zesty car – especially one with AWD. Both trims achieve an EPA-estimated 20 mpg in the city and 28 mpg on the highway with the manual gearbox and 23 city/30 highway with the dual-clutch automatic.
The Golf R Base comes with several top-notch features, including a sport suspension, stainless-steel pedals, leather upholstery, 19-inch alloy wheels with summer performance tires, tri-zone automatic climate control, a heated leather-wrapped steering wheel, heated and ventilated front sport seats (the driver’s is power-adjustable), heated rear outboard seats, heated washer nozzles, a sunroof, heated side mirrors with position memory and passenger-side reverse-gear tilt-down, rain-sensing windshield wipers, and keyless access. It also has push-button start, automatic LED headlights with a coming/leaving home feature, an integrated light bar in the grille, illuminated door handle recesses, multi-color ambient interior lighting, and an auto-dimming rearview mirror.
The tech features in the Golf R Base include a 10.25-inch digital gauge cluster (Digital Cockpit Pro), wireless phone charging, a head-up display, four USB-C ports (two for charging and two for data), and a 10-inch touchscreen infotainment setup. That system’s features are navigation, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, Bluetooth hands-free phone and audio streaming, a high-end Harman Kardon audio system with nine speakers, and SiriusXM satellite radio. The 20th Anniversary Edition receives everything listed above except for the sunroof. Its other differentiators are 20th Anniversary badges, various blue “R” logos, puddle lights that project a “20 R” logo on the ground, gloss-black wheels, and carbon-fiber interior trim.
Every Golf R comes with VW’s IQ.Drive suite of advanced safety technologies. This comprehensive driver-assist package bundles forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking and pedestrian/cyclist detection, adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, dynamic road sign display, automatic high beams, front and rear parking sensors, semi-automated driving assist (Travel Assist), and lane keeping assist.