It has been a pretty eventful ninety days. Music work, graphics work, playing hockey, herding cats, but one thing that hasn’t skipped a beat was the Golf R. Now at approximately 4,500 km on the odometer, it has been everything I hoped, with a few exceptions. More on those next month.
No rattles. No check engine light. No random software-firmware shenanigans that seem to plague first year model cars (Full disclosure: This car has been available in various markets since 2014, but every variation in trim/parts/add-ons can add a certain amount of instability in any complex product). Having owned several lightly used German car products (VWs and BMWs) this is the least Germanic ownership experience I’ve had yet. In a good way. Granted, our relationship is a young one.
Speed comes on a bit too easily when traffic is dense
So, what’s it like in traffic day to day? While commuting, most drivers have no idea how this small hatchback just blew them off. It’s a blessing and a curse, as the speed comes on a bit too easily when traffic is dense. The magazines say between 4.4 and 4.9 zero-to-sixty times, which seem accurate with my butt-dyno.
Not fast enough? With a chiptune or piggyback ECU, consistent 3.6-second 0-60’s are available – and if you open your wallet for one of the many Stage 2 updates available, mid-11 second 1/4 mile times are achievable – In. An. Invisible. Four. Door. Hatchback. I’ll keep my warranty for now, but in 75,000km? Wunderbar!
I’m going to skip the DCC Comfort/Normal/Race/Individual modes for now, and focus on the DSG transmission.
“D” mode – I don’t want to call it turbo lag, because it isn’t. I’ll call it a ‘reluctance’ to go. The car is doing everything it can to keep those L/100 numbers down. It loves to get into sixth gear, even at low speeds. For a week I attempted to stay out of the fun stuff, and managed around 10.2L/100, all of it in-city commuting. Stop. Go. Stop. Honk at idiot in Corolla. Go around, get honked at by same Corolla, give them a happy wave to enrage them further, switch lanes to avoid Buick Century. I’m sure you have all gone through the same.
“S” mode – The car is willing to run the tachometer, though I get the feeling that the 6500+ RPM aren’t doing much except making “Soundaktor-enhanced” noises. I’ll get around to unplugging that thing some day, but now it’s getting cold out. Seems like a good thing to do in the spring.
If you’re middling with the throttle, and unsure you want to shift up or down, the transmission will be just as confused
In manual paddle mode the shifts are fast, and if you’re driving in such a way that the transmissions will “know” that you’re going to gear down or up for your next shift, it’s absolutely accurate, 100% of the time. If you’re middling with the throttle, and unsure you want to shift up or down, the transmission will be just as confused, and get it wrong about perhaps a third of the time. I haven’t had the transmission get it wrong since the first week. It’s my dance partner.
The four-door format has made my life much easier in regards to cargo. Flipping the seats back up is no longer a chore (I had a two-door hatchback before this). My back thanks me. When I don’t need to transport someone else’s stinky hockey bag, and only have to take my own, the ski passthrough works great for my sticks, leaving my stank-smelling bag of hockey hell in the hatch area where it belongs.
The interior is a nice place to be. I don’t think many people realize that small can still be somewhat luxurious. The car feels expensive on the inside and has a solidity to it. I didn’t get this feeling from the cars predecessor. This is one darn good chassis.
It’s finally starting to get cold out, and one thing I can’t rave about enough is how quickly it warms up to temperature. On the mornings when it was -4°C outside, within about two minutes of driving I had some significant heat coming out of the vents. I can only hope the same happens at -25°C. Also, the seat warmers get hotter than any recent car I can remember. Uncomfortably so when set on high – I’ll probably love that in February.
For now, my winter tires (Michelin X-Ice3, 225/40-18) feel squishy (is this a technical term? – ed.) and don’t allow me to push the car for fear of prematurely wearing them. 12°C in the middle of December. Who could have guessed that?
It has been almost ninety days and I love my discount-brand Audi S3.
Images courtesy Russell Ess.