If we felt a twinge of disappointment in the fact that the Golf GTI was a touch less exciting than it could have been, there’s no such feeling with the Golf R.

Here is a car that blends the sophistication that you’d expect of a Volkswagen with the rawness and sheer driver appeal of the best superheated hatches.

Matt Prior

Matt Prior

Road test editor
Only the greatness of the Focus RS keeps the Volkswagen from the top of the class

Of the current crop of 300bhp+ hatches, only the FK2 Honda Civic Type R and the Ford Focus RS remain the superior choice, with the Golf followed swiftly by the Mercedes-AMG A45.

And, arguably, the Volkswagen is a happier everyday proposition: at once capable of transporting you and your beloveds in comfort on humdrum daily errands before unleashing all kinds of entertainment when the right road or track day arrives.

With such a blend of sophistication and rawness, it’s hard to escape the feeling that this 'ultimate Golf' is a cult classic in the making.

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