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.
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.
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.