2023 Volkswagen Golf R: Pros and Cons

2023 Volkswagen Golf R hero

Volkswagen tossed me the keys to perhaps the hot hatch that all others are rated against – the 2023 Volkswagen Golf R. After spending a week with this tightly packaged machine I wanted to spill the beans on just what are its best features along with a few that keep it from achieving total greatness. Check out the PROS and CONs of the 2023 Volkswagen Golf R.

PRO: Best Golf You Can Buy

The 2023 Volkswagen Golf R is the best Golf you can buy. If that isn’t a PRO, then I don’t know what can be, but the following will be why it is.

PRO: Performance

The Golf R comes powered by a turbocharged inline-4 kicking out 315 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque to its all-wheel-drive system controlled by a 7-speed DSG dual-clutch transmission.

PRO: The R Stuff

It is a Golf R, so the “R” in its name demands a little special extra. Alongside the performance I just mentioned and the R-badging sprinkled everywhere the Golf R gets its own R-mode enabled through the R-button on the steering wheel. It also provides a unique R screen/theme on the gauge cluster adding to the theater of the R.

PRO: Handling

Most know all-wheel-drive is under the Golf R, but all the marketing buzzwords actually call it the R-performance 4MOTION system. All I know is it makes it fun and controlled around every corner of the country back roads I tested.

PRO: Plenty of Drive Modes

The 2023 Golf R is packed with 4 main drive modes: Comfort, Sport, Race, and Custom. Under the Race mode, you get two additional drive modes: Drift and Special.

CON: Everything Is Touch

The cockpit of the ’23 Golf R was pretty bare, which is nice in its own way, but what that means is everything is pretty much controlled by the touch navigation screen even climate controls.

CON: Cost Can Punch Into Another Territory

The 2023 Volkswagen Golf R starts at $44k before you check any boxes. There are some serious performance machines in the $45-50k range. Perfect hot hatch daily driver or not, I am not sure I would pass up some of those machines in that range for the Golf R.

For more of his automotive exploits, you can follow Danny on Instagram @DKorecki and subscribe to his YouTube channel.


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