Golf R

Opinion | Are new cars actually getting more expensive?

The new Volkswagen Golf, and the excellent revised GTI in particular, got us wondering. Just how much more expensive are new cars compared to their predecessors? 

2017 New Volkswagen Mk7.5 Golf GTI

Having already won rave reviews from both print and online media, the Mk7.5 Volkswagen Golf GTI is already attracting attention. Yet a lot of the Internet comments seem to take umbrage at one particular fact – the cost. To clarify, the new Golf GTI has a list price starting at £27,865. As with any modern car, there is the huge temptation to run wild with the extras, but that basic amount will get you a brand-new three-door GTI, with a manual gearbox. No options, no fancy technology packages, not even metallic paint. Signature GTI colours like Tornado Red will add an extra £250, with metallics needing £570. In short, it’s rather easy to spec’ a GTI which costs over £30,000. Shock, horror, Internet outrage.

The most recent time a new Golf GTI garnered such positive attention was with the introduction of the Mk5 in early 2005. After the lacklustre Mk4 effort, the all-new GTI was an absolute revelation. Tartan seats helped, too. Yet when first introduced, the new Mk5 GTI had a starting price of just £19,995. Yes really, less than £20,000, and although the amount did rise shortly afterward, that’s the value we’ve used for comparison.

2005 Volkswagen MkV Golf GTI

A difference of £7,870 equates to a substantial sounding 39.4% increase in those twelve years between 2005 and 2017! On the other hand, horsepower has gone from 197hp in the Mk5 GTI, to 230hp in the Mk7.5, a jump of only 17%. If it had followed the same pattern as pricing, new GTI models should be rolling out the factory with 274hp. So have Volkswagen left new GTI buyers shortchanged?

Well no, actually. Inflation on the cost of goods and services in the UK has risen on average by around 2.9% each year. That 2.9% figure is based on the Bank of England’s CPI information, and there is little difference when using inflation calculators that rely on RPI data instead. We’re not going to delve into A-Level economics and debate the differences here – this is a car blog, not the Financial Times.

2017 New Volkswagen Mk7.5 Golf GTI

Inflation between March 2005 and March 2017 totals roughly – wait for it – 39%. Meaning a new Mk7.5 Golf GTI costs within £75 of what the financial data tells us it should do in 2017. It also means we’re getting a better deal in 2017 with 230hp, and the continuous improvement in technology and specification that has taken place in the last decade. So the next time someone exclaims the new Golf GTI is far too expensive, feel free to shut them down with data.

We couldn’t just leave it at one car, however. The Golf GTI may happen to be a freak automotive bellwether, so we checked out the new Golf R, just to be sure. But this time we went even further back with our research. All the way back to 2002, and the introduction of the Mk4 R32. (more…)

Friday Photo – New Volkswagen Golf Touring Car Concept

Is the Volkswagen Golf top on your list of cars that spring to mind as successful touring car racers? Nope, we didn’t think so either. But could the Wolfsburg marque finally be about to change that, with this striking looking machine?

2015 Volkswagen Motorsport TCR GolfRoll out the old cliché about good-looking cars being fast, and Volkswagen should be onto a winner with this Mk7 Golf Racer. Part Golf R / part Star Wars-inspired menace, Volkswagen Motorsport certainly know how to produce an aggressively styled race car. We’d probably call it our favourite looking touring car creation since the SEAT Leon Eurocup car, in fact.

2015 Volkswagen Motorsport TCR GolfWhich is somewhat relevant, given that the Touringcar Racer International Series (TCR), which this Golf has been built to specification for, seems to be completely dominated by that Spanish creation. Volkswagen admits that there has been some technology sharing with the Leon, presumably helping to keep costs down. If you’ve never heard of TCR, it’s a production-based race series aimed at offering manufacturers a cheap way into tin top competition. This years TCR series has 11 rounds, and it’s the eighth meeting that Volkswagen will be entering the Golf in this weekend, at the Red Bull Ring in Austria. (more…)

Volkswagen Golf R Estate – Your new favourite wagon

Been wanting a performance estate car based on a mid-sized family hatchback? Not quite taken with the Ford Focus ST? Good news; Volkswagen has the answer in the shape of a 300 PS 4WD Golf R Estate, announced at the LA Auto Show this week. 

Der neue Volkswagen Golf R VariantThis one has certainly come out of the left field. Prototypes had been spotted testing around the world, but the idea of true fast Golf Estate just seemed a little… unbelievable? In the past there’s been the European-spec Mk3 VR6 Variant with 190 bhp, and 1.8T / 2.3 V5 versions of the Mk4 estate – both of which had 150 bhp – but there’s no real dedicated lineage for a quick Golf wagon.

2015 Volkswagen Golf R Estate 002

Mechanically it’s identical to the normal hatchback, with the 2.0 litre petrol TSI engine making 296 bhp (300 PS) with a corresponding 280 lb-ft of torque. The 4Motion 4WD system is also borrowed from the regular R, although at present the 6-speed DSG dual-clutch transmission appears to be the only option available for shifting cogs. (more…)

Volkswagen Golf R 400 Concept – Now it’s real

Recently we brought you teasing sketches of the VW Golf R 400 Concept. Now Volkswagen has actually unveiled the proper car, so we can now give you photos, instead of just drawings of the 395 bhp super-hatch.

The Golf R 400_01

Revealed at the Auto China Show in Beijing, the R 400 is intended to display the potential of the flagship Golf R. Whether this means the potential for a limited production run is still very much debatable; this could just be VW getting in early for the Wörthersee-Treffen event in May, which has featured previous exotic Golfs such as the 2007 GTI W12-650. Volkswagen does, at least, have a track record for producing limited production versions of tuned Golf models. The Mk2 Golf G60 Limited made in the late 1980s packed over 200 bhp, with just 71 cars being produced.

The Golf R 400_04

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200th Post Special – Volkswagen Polo R-Line 8,000 Mile Review

It seems hard to believe that a year has now passed since ESM picked up a very shiny Volkswagen Polo R-Line on a chilly January afternoon. So 365 days and 8,000 miles later, just what has life with the R-Line been like for the past twelve months?

Polo R-Line Report2 001

In short, the R-Line has been virtually flawless throughout the year, with only a handful of minor issues cropping up along the way. Here’s a quick summary of what has been good, and bad, since the last report with just 1,000 miles showing on the odometer:

The Good

  • Fuel economy – 45 mpg is an average real world figure for day-to-day driving, based on a mix of motorway and urban roads. Economy has improved over the year, and longer runs can easily see it creep up towards 50 mpg. (more…)