2015 Volkswagen Golf R
The MotorWeek Drivers’ Choice Award for best small car for 2015 was awarded to the new Volkswagen Golf family. Primarily because with the TSI, TDI, GTI, SportWagen, and even an e-Golf, they cover all of the bases like no other small car series. Well, it turns out they’re not done yet, as they’ve now unleashed Wolfsburg’s latest pocket rocket on the US, the Golf R.
Regular viewers of MotorWeek are no doubt a little weary of our incessant praise of the new Volkswagen Golf and GTI. If that’s the case, you might want to change the channel for about the next 5-minutes, as we’re about to go all “fan-boy” once again about this 2015 Volkswagen Golf R.
All-wheel-drive is part of the Golf R’s platform of course, a Haldex system that stays front-biased, but can send up to 50% of corner carving grip to the back tires. But, that extra hardware does push weight to a hefty 3,340-lbs.
Under hood, is a familiar VW and Audi mechanical; a 2.0-liter I4 turbo. And while that’s not a lot of motor in size, it cranks out a sizable 292-horsepower. Plus, a seemingly continuous delivery of 280 lb-ft. of torque throughout the rev band, makes it feel like even more.
This time around, just the DSG automatic transmission is available at launch, and a 6-speed manual won’t arrive until next year. But as you may already know, we’re very fond of the DSG. Driving Mode Selection gets a new Race mode, and you can further upgrade to optional Dynamic Chassis Control that lets you dial in an ultra-stiff ride, should you so choose.
Regardless, the Golf R is an absolute blast to drive. And really, it doesn’t feel much different than the GTI that we love so much until you go heavy on the throttle and let it spin up to glory.
The interior finish is great! This car looks and feel like it’s worth every penny you spend on it; think more Audi than base VW.
There’s plenty of room, a simple and effective layout, with logically placed controls. The upgraded sport seats are awesome at holding you tight, but comfortably so; in a Teutonic snuggle sort of way.
The GTI is certainly no slouch when it comes to the handling department, but here on the Shenandoah Circuit at Summit Point Motorsports Park near Charlestown, West Virginia, the Golf R hunkers down and scoots through corners even better than your wildest expectations.
Despite a soft overall feel, there’s plenty of grip to be had; as no matter how much throttle you’re carrying, this chassis, can put power in its place, and of course that’s on the pavement.
ESC can now be fully turned off, but Sport Mode is absolutely great, letting you have quite a bit of fun, before the electronics step in to keep you pointed where you should be.
As for complaints, this course’s tighter turns and many shifting opportunities had us wishing for bigger shift paddles, as with all of the constant shuffling they were sometimes hard to find.
But of course in a straight line, leaving the DSG in full auto is really where it’s at. Mash the gas, hold on, and 4.9-seconds later, we’re at 60 miles-per-hour.
The Golf R launches off the line smartly with its all-wheel-drive grip, with a snappy and raspy exhaust note all the way down the track for a quick quarter at 13.7–seconds at 103 miles-per-hour. While a short 115-feet is all it took to stop from 60 miles-per-hour.
On the street, the Golf R is even more impressive. It feels very substantial for its size, with a dialed-in solidity like no other small car. It’s agile and wanting to be thrown around, and is the very definition of confidence inspiring.
Government Fuel Economy Ratings are 23-City, 30-Highway, and 26–Combined; we averaged a very good 28.3 miles-per-gallon of Premium. The Energy Impact Score is 12.7-barrels of oil used and 5.7 tons of CO2 emitted yearly.
Alas, perfection never comes cheap. In this case it starts at $37,415, and is available in 4-door only. Those numbers may scare away a few, but in this world, it’s the unafraid that are truly rewarded.
So, don’t think of the 2015 Volkswagen Golf R as just a sportier GTI, think of it as everything you’d ever want a Golf to be and a bit more. And really everything you’d want in a sensible sport-hatch as well. If you’re perfectly happy with your GTI, do yourself a favor and don’t test drive the “R”, so you don’t know what you’re missing.
- Engine: 2.0 liter
- Horsepower: 292
- Torque: 280 lb-ft.
- 0-60 mph: 4.9 seconds
- 1/4 mile: 13.7 seconds @ 103 mph
- EPA: 23 mpg city/ 30 mpg highway
- Energy Impact: 12.7 barrels of oil/yr
- CO2 Emissions: 5.7 tons/yr
2023 Genesis Electrified GV70
Genesis Waves Their Magic EV Wand Yet Again
The Genesis Electrified GV70 is not only the 3rd all-electric vehicle offering from Hyundai’s luxury division, but it’s also the first Genesis model to be built here in the US. You know, the GV70 was already a big hit with both critics and buyers, so let’s find out if a big pack of batteries and American workers can take it to the next level.
For the 2023 model year, the Genesis GV70 utility has gone electric. And like the Electrified G80 sedan before it, Genesis has integrated an all-electric drivetrain into its existing platform seamlessly and effectively.
Now, it may look almost exactly like the sleek and sophisticated internal combustion powered GV70 SUV that arrived just last year. But packed underneath it all, is the GV60’s next-gen propulsion system that uses a pair of electric motors delivering standard all-wheel drive and 429-horsepower. Both the front and rear-mounted electric motors are 160-kW and produce a combined 516 lb-ft. of torque, relying on energy from a 77.4-kWh battery. Full 350-kW charging capability will get the battery to 80% in just 18-minutes. The Electrified GV70 is rated to travel 236-miles between those charging sessions.
But based on our driving loop, we’d say more is easily possible as we were on pace for over 250-miles; making it an overachiever, much like the G80.
The approach to the interior is not so much a heavy-handed blast of over-the-top luxury, rather just a soothing blend of high-quality metal and leather materials with soft tones, subtle ambient light, and an airy feel that ultimately delivers a very comforting experience.
There’s an available 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, along with a 14.5-inch touchscreen that houses standard navigation, and it also has a rotary style control on the console if you prefer that, just don’t confuse it with the rotary gear selector like we did. Lexicon audio, quilted leather, and a suede headliner come with the Prestige package that also includes active noise control and white brake calipers.
Regen braking paddles mounted on the back of the steering wheel allow for adjusting amounts of regen up to full 1-pedal driving; or you can let Smart Regen take control, gathering data from past driving history, navigation, and road conditions to determine the appropriate amount of braking. Drive modes include Comfort, Eco, Sport, Sport +, and Custom, and Genesis has added some additional sound deadening for this EV.
Based on the incredibly quiet, smooth, and steady highway ride we experienced, we weren’t sure what to expect when we pulled this GV70 up to the line at our Mason Dixon Dragway test track.
Well, not much calmness or serenity here, as this thing absolutely blasted off the line like a rocket, hitting 60 in just 3.9-seconds. That’s almost a full 2-seconds quicker than last year’s 2.5-liter turbo-equipped GV70. It’s hard to beat performance-tuned EVs when it comes to torque delivery, and like the GV60, there’s a boost button on the steering wheel that delivers an additional 54-horsepower for a thrilling 10-seconds, helping us clear the ¼ in 12.4-seconds at 112 miles-per-hour.
The low center of gravity, an electronically controlled suspension, and a Disconnector Actuator System that allows for 2-wheel or 4-wheel-drive operation depending on circumstances, helped keep the Electrified GV70 well-planted through our handling course, and provided a livelier feel than the ICE version.
Substantial side bolstering of the front seats kept us settled in place very nicely. Great steering feel, very little body roll, and only minor amounts of understeer at its limits. Brakes were equally as sporting, with good feedback and stability, despite the noticeable nosedive that typically accompanies stopping 5,000-lbs. of utility vehicle in just 111-feet, 6-feet shorter than the standard GV70.
There are some subtle changes outside for this Electrified version of the GV70; it gets unique 20-inch wheels, and as in the G80, the signature crest grille gets an aerodynamic makeover, nicely integrating the charging port. Same 2-line lighting theme up front, and in back, where the rear bumper is reshaped now that there are no tailpipes. Cargo area is well finished with thoughtful use of space; at 28.7 cubic-ft. with a max of 56.5, capacity is down a tiny bit, but a small storage bin up front under the hood more than makes up for it.
At 37-kWh/100 miles, the Electrified GV70 rates a good efficiency score. Pricing starts at $66,975, about 20-grand over a base ICE GV70, and 3-years of free charging at Electrify America charging stations is included.
Genesis is slowly but surely electrifying their lineup, and the 2023 Electrified GV70 is not just another step in the process, but further proof that carmakers can progress to EVs without upsetting the entire apple cart of their brand. Forward thinking but staying classy, just what we’ve come to expect from Genesis.
- Motor Setup: Dual 160-kW Motors
- Horsepower: 429
- 0-60 mph: 3.9 seconds
- 60-0 Braking: 111 feet (avg)
- MW Range: ~254 miles
- Battery Size: 77.4-kWh
- Torque: 516 lb-ft.
- 1/4 Mile: 12.4-seconds at 112 mph
- EPA Range: 234 miles
- Efficiency: 37 kWh/ 100 miles