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Auto review: 2022 VW Golf R, hot hatchback for connoisseurs, keeps the compact performance flag flying

Mark Phelan, Detroit Free Press on

Published in Automotive News

Instead, the Golf R’s torque vectoring system has a pair of clutches on the rear axle that can send 100% of the rear axle’s power to either wheel.

That speeds up the outside wheel in fast corners and on curves, resulting in neutral handling and the ability to control slides and use the throttle to do a lot of the steering.

You have to turn the stability control off to enjoy the full benefit, but torque vectoring allows so much steering with the throttle that I relied on it exclusively as I piloted a deep blue Golf R around a tight autocross course, through figure eights and drifting in a tight circle on wet ice.

The steering is responsive, with a meaty steering wheel equipped with haptic controls that seem pretty intuitive, based on brief experience.

Lavishly equipped

A six-speed manual is standard in North America, not offered anywhere else in the world.


The optional seven-speed DCT transmission was quick and smooth. It’s controlled by an intuitive toggle in the center console.

The interior features soft-touch materials and simple, intuitive controls.

The instrument panel and touch screen are both crisp and clear.

As with all Golfs, the practical hatchback layout delivers plenty of passenger and luggage room in a compact body.


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