Car ReviewsFirst Drive

2016 Volkswagen Golf R Wagon Wolfsburg limited edition review

Paul Murrell’s launch-based 2016 Volkswagen Golf R wagon Wolfsburg limited edition review with pricing, specs, ride and handling, safety, verdict and rating.

IN A NUTSHELL: Volkswagen’s Golf R is a hard-core hot hatch. In wagon form, it’s still as hot as a jalapeno chilli, but more practical. 

2016 VW GOLF R WAGON Wolfsburg

PRICE from $58,990 (plus ORC); WARRANTY three-year, unlimited kilometres; SAFETY RATING five-star ANCAP; ENGINE 2.0-litre inline four-cylinder turbocharged  petrol Power/Torque 206kW/380Nm; TRANSMISSION six-speed DSG; BODY 4.60m (L); 1.80m (W); 1.45m (H); WEIGHT 1509kg (tare mass) THIRST 7.2L/100km (98 RON, combined).

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Editor's Rating

First thoughts of the 2016 Volkswagen Golf R Wolfsburg
PRACTICAL MOTORING SAYS – Really, there’s no logical reason to spend the extra money over a Golf GTI, but what’s logic got to do with it?

VOLKSWAGEN’S APPARENT drive to world dominance (despite the odd hiccup with emissions scandals) has moved forward another step with the unveiling of the limited-run Wolfsburg Edition Golf R models, which also introduces the hotly-anticipated Golf R Wagon, available solely in Wolfsburg Edition specification.

2016 VW Golf R Wolfsburg car review

Wolfsburg, in case you aren’t aware is the German town where the iconic Beetle was produced, and now home of VW’s global operations. Making the connection unmistakable is the “wolf and castle” emblem that adorns the rear of the Golf R and Golf R Wagon Wolfsburg Edition cars, a subtle tribute to the ancestral roots of the Volkswagen brand.

As you’d expect with a limited (read “more expensive”) edition, the Wolfsburg editions get a higher level of standard specification over the standard Golf R models.

2016 VW Golf R Wolfsburg car review

These include a choice of three exterior colours including the exclusive Oryx Pearl White, carbon Nappa leather appointed upholstery with individually heated front seats, black Pretoria 19-inch alloy wheels, black door mirror covers, black roof rails on the wagon, adaptive cruise control, front assist with city emergency brake, proactive occupant protection system, blind spot monitor with rear traffic alert and the aforementioned Wolfsburg crest rear badge. Exterior differentiation comes from R-style side sills, high gloss black radiator grille with R logo and those distinctive black 19-inch wheels. Inside it’s all Nappa leather with contrasting grey stitching.


It all adds up to a very appealing and exclusive package, although you’ll pay for the privilege. Volkswagen Australia product manager Todd Ford tells us the Wolfsburg Edition is an Australia-only model. The Golf R Wolfsburg Edition starts at $56,990 (plus ORC) and $58,990 for the wagon, a $2000 premium over the hatch. The only option is a panoramic electric glass sunroof on offer at $1850.

2016 VW Golf R Wolfsburg car review

The Golf R Wolfsburg Edition models have all the performance credentials of the standard Golf R, including the fizzy 206kW/380Nm TSI engine and 4MOTION all-wheel drive. The extra weight of the wagon adds just 0.2 seconds to the zero to 100 sprint, taking 5.2 seconds and top speed is limited to 250km/h.

It certainly feels like a real sports car on the road, with a ferocious burst of acceleration from almost any speed. The ride is more accomplished than might be expected with low profile Continental tyres and a sports suspension set-up and shouldn’t annoy drivers who spend a lot of time on the morning and evening commute in city surrounds. We tried the various driver mode settings and were quite happy to select the most aggressive (“Race”) and leave it there. The only reservation we had was its tendency to hold gears longer than was comfortable.

The R gets a full complement of safety gear, including multi-collision brake system, driver fatigue sensing, parking distance sensors and rear view camera, ESP and electronic diff lock.

There may be a question about the R’s desirability over the already-very-appealing GTI and on the open road, we wondered if the improvements justified the price premium. Then we spent some time on the track and the differences quickly became apparent, with the R diving into off-camber corners and pulling out of sharp turns, even uphill, with consummate disdain. For many buyers, the R will be a “step too far” and won’t suit their needs, but those who can afford the extra and want maximum fun for the dollar, nothing less will do.

It’s hard to think of another vehicle that can match the sporting credentials of the Golf R, and when combined with the practicality of the wagon design, it’s a seductive mix.


2016 VW Golf R Wolfsburg car review


Paul Murrell

Paul Murrell

Paul’s mother knew he was a car nut when, aged three, he could identify oncoming cars from their engine note alone. By 10, he had decided what his first car would be and begun negotiations with a bank to arrange finance, the first of many expensive automotive mistakes. These days, he is happy to drive other people’s cars (on the road, off the road or on the track) and write up what’s good about them and what isn’t.