By Bill Schaffer
San Diego ? Beware of the 2015 Volkswagen Golf that wears the subtle ?R? logo on the lower left of the rear gate ? it?s on the fastest most powerful performance Volkswagen ever built for the U.S. market. Well, actually there are a couple of other telltales of what lies under the hood of this awesome Volkswagen — like the quad exhaust pipes poking out the rear diffuser and the large four-wheel vented disc brakes with black ?R? branded calipers that fill the open areas behind the massive 18- or 19-inch alloy wheels.
The impressive performance of the 2015 Volkswagen Golf R carries over to the interior which has the same basic dash configuration as the other Golf models, but where it varies most is the great fitting front sport seats with leather surfaces. The deep bolsters hug the driver and front passenger?s body to provide excellent lateral support during hard cornering, plus they were very comfortable for our drive out to Julian ? and not the kind of seats that made you feel fatigued when you climbed out after an hour or two behind the wheel. I wish I could have one of these seats to replace my desk chair.
As the flagship performance model, even the standard Golf R get a full treatment of features including SiriusXM? Satellite Radio; heated front seats; a Media Device Interface (MDI) with iPhone? connectivity; Bluetooth?; VW Car-Net? connected service; KESSY? keyless access with push-button start; rearview camera; 12-way power driver?s seat; and Climatronic? dual-zone automatic air conditioning. It also has some neat driver assist features like XDS? brake-based cross differential lock at the front and rear and ?ESC Sport? which briefly switches the Electronic Stability Control (ESC) to a sport mode to give the driver a chance to ?hang out? a little more without the ESC protection during spirited driving.
So, is the Golf R worth the extra money? Yes, especially for someone who wants the maximum performance and precision this model can offer. It?s an amazing tool that allows a driver to be all that he or she can be when conditions permit or on the track. Conversely it?s enjoyable and easy to drive around town, too.