Volkswagen 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…)

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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Volkswagen Golf R 400 Concept Sketches

Volkswagen seems to be something of a power trip at the minute. We’ve already got a rumoured lightweight Golf GTI in the pipeline, but now there’s a concept Golf R with 400 PS coming too.

Golf R 400 sketch_01

Granted, right now, we’ve only got sketches to go off. But, VW has released similar sketches for both the GTI and regular R models before launch, so it’s clearly the favoured way for it to tease and titillate at the minute.

Golf R 400 sketch_02

Wolfsburg is claiming the car is definitely only a concept at present; sensible given that we’ve only just had the normal 300 PS R released to the world. But that isn’t stopping them planning to show a real concept car at the Auto China show in Beijing on Saturday. (more…)

Friday Photo #15 – Volkswagen R and R

The most powerful production Golf, ever, is due to hit the UK in only a matter of weeks for its March launch date. Which, if the past few years are anything to go by, will probably be combined with freezing snow and ice. Perhaps that’s why VW chose to show the new Mk7 Golf R off on a frozen lake. It does at least make for some impressive drifts:

Der neue Volkswagen Golf R

There it is, in all it’s 295 bhp goodness going very, very sideways. Car manufacturers have a strange habit of launching cars to the motoring media in snowy conditions. It makes for impressive pictures like the above, and shows off the traction from a 4WD setup like that fitted to the Golf R. But it can also mask the real character of a car, as anyone has driven on snow will know that it feels nothing like driving on regular tarmac.

To be honest, for EngageSportMode, the Golf R sliding around paled into significance when news began to emerge of a confirmed Polo R model. No, not last year’s WRC homologation special, but a genuine R with around 250 bhp, a 4WD system and a trick multilink rear suspension. For ESM this is kind of a big deal; a version of our R-Line but with more than double the power, double the driven wheels and quadruple the silliness. (more…)

New – Volkswagen Golf R

The hot-hatch arms race ramped up another notch today, as photos and information about the latest Golf R were released. The headlines are the promise of 300 PS and a possible 0-60 mph in under 5 seconds.

2014 VW Golf R 001

Volkswagen seems to be putting all the attention grabbing emphasis on the mechanical, as the outside of the new R seems rather understated. To the untrained eye, possibly only the chunky five-spoke ‘Cadiz’ alloy wheels mark VW’s latest super hatch out as something special. At the rear, the four oval exhaust tailpipes differentiate it from the GTI, although they’re hardly huge in diameter. Compared to its class rivals of the Mercedes-Benz A 45 AMG, or BMW M135i, the Golf R is a paragon of modesty.

2014 VW Golf R 002

The new Golf R clearly intends to be Wolfsburg in sheep’s clothing, however, as it packs significant firepower beneath its subtle bodywork. (more…)