Car Review: New Golf GTD and Golf R

Two more performance models in the Golf Range are here: the Golf R and Golf GTD…

In May this year we got to experience Volkswagen’s new Golf GTI at its launch in Graaff Reneit and it wasn’t long before motoring journos got Tweeting about it.

Fast forward two months later (July 2017) when I joined Volkswagen in Cape Town for the introduction of two more performance models in the Golf Range: the Golf R and Golf GTD.

Also read: Car Review: New Volkswagen Golf 

The Golf GTD

Although the GTD looks much like the GTI, it’s actually a completely different car under the skin, and as Volkswagen SA pointed out at launch, it’s “all about the torque!”

With more power and better efficiency the EA288 series engine offers 130kW of maximum power and produces 350 N.m of torque while fuel consumption is at a claimed 5,3-litres per 100 km.

This new diesel edition means that Golf fans can now drive a performance car and spend less time at the petrol station. “It’s a comfortable way to drive a performance car,” says Volkswagen SA.

“The GTI among the diesels”

So what makes the Golf GTD worth the hype? Well for starters, it’s Volkswagen’s only performance diesel derivative hatch to be launched in South Africa, and combines the performance of a sports car with the fuel economy of a more compact car. So South African families can now own a Golf that’s comfortable, sporty AND incredibly fuel efficient.

I drove the new Golf GTD from Cape Town to Hermanus and came away pleasantly surprised at how comfortable I felt behind the wheel, even when the route guide set up on the GTD’s navigation system threw some of us off course and onto gravel terrain. Oops! (That’s what happens when you and your driving partner spend too much time talking instead of ‘torquing’.) Needless to say, it was great to experience it on gravel because I never felt that it lost its sense of quality, comfort and performance. We were, however, relieved to be back on the tar after a few kilometers and away from flying stones and dust clouds from passing trucks.

The Golf R

The Golf R has always been the most powerful model in the comprehensive Golf range, notes Volkswagen, while power output of the latest Golf R moves to 213 kW, making it the most powerful series Golf has ever sold in South Africa. It’s powered by a 2,0-litre turbocharged engine that produces 380 Nm of torque and Volkswagen claims that it sprints from 0 – 100 km/h in just 4,6 seconds (that’s 8% faster than the previous model).

The Golf R has received a few design changes to give it more ‘charisma’, like newly designed bumpers, LED headlights and LED tail lights. It’s visually wider from the outside while the tailpipes have been placed further out to the sides.

Behind the wheel of the Golf R is where exhilaration at its best happens, thanks to its speedy 7-speed DSG amd 4Motion all-wheel drive that prevents wheel-spin and locking. It’s hard not to get carried away on the open road and through mountain passes in the Golf R and it sure looks good on the road, with its dynamic look. In a nutshell, it drives exactly how you’d expect a performance Golf to drive!

Golf fans will be happy to hear that standard on the Golf R is the Active Info Display, panoramic sunroof and driver profile selection which includes the Sport HMI feature.

As Standard

The Golf GTD and Golf R offer a lot as standard. In the GTD, LED headlights, animated LED tail lights, high-beam Light Assist, 18 inch Sevilla rims, and 8 inch touchscreen and App-Connect & Voice Control are all standard. The same is standard on the Golf R, apart from the 19 inch Spielberg rims, panoramic sunroof, Active Info Display & Driver Profile Selection are also included.


2,0 TDI 130 kW GTD DSG     R506 700

2,0 TSI R 213 kW DSG    R647 300

The new Golf model range comes standard with a 5 year/90 000 km Service Plan, 3 year/120 000 km warranty and a 12 year anti-corrosion warranty. Service Interval is 15 000 km.

Source: Volkswagen South Africa