Here begins my monthly journal into the ownership experience of the 2016 Golf R. One of the early obstacles of ownership was the seemingly simple task of obtaining one.
The Canadian order book opened on February 12, 2015, and my car was ordered within the first five minutes. It finally arrived September 19 – overdue from its original delivery date of August 31 – for a total of a seven-month wait. Vehicles ordered with the “tech pack” were manufactured at a later date than their tech-free brethren.
To make final delivery even more tantalizing, VW Canada held the cars at Halifax port for twenty-five days for an alleged firmware update. Could this task really not have been performed at the dealer level? To complicate matters, the marketing arm of VW was sending out “Rated R” emails showing the completion and delivery status of the vehicle, and all the notices were completely out of whack with reality. Of the six scheduled emails, I never did receive the fifth, and I received the sixth two weeks after I had the car. Left hand, right hand.
Part of the ownership experience has to include at least one dealer transaction, and I’m happy to say that Georgetown VW made everything hilariously easy. Communication was handled over email; when it came time to pick up the car, there was some cursory paperwork to sign that took all of fifteen minutes and I was free to be on my way.
Next month, I’ll have some of my first impressions, likes, dislikes (there’s always something to dislike), but first, a little background. I was after a car that had all-wheel drive, a hatch, and it had to come with a bit of an attitude. I cross-shopped the Subaru STi, but since it’s trunk-only, it fell off my list. I also considered the Golf R’s twin, the Audi S3, but it’s also not available as a hatchback, at least in our market. Army of one? Perhaps.
Of course, there’s the Focus RS on the horizon, but it’s so far out that I can’t even see it, and I wanted a car before winter. Sometimes, the vetting process can come down to a couple of simple facts: Car X is well-liked in the press and with early users and because you can’t even test drive Car Y for another six or eight months. Lastly, the base price of the RS was recently announced at CAD $47,000, and there is grapevine info that some dealers are already asking for CAD $49,500 for the base model. Prepare for the gougin’, my friends.