After testing the Golf R and GTI at Willow Springs, Foust came away very impressed.
The Volkswagen Golf GTI and its AWD sibling, the Golf R, have been making promotional appearances all over the world as they are released to dealers and the public. A couple of weeks back, we got to see the pricing of these hot hatches. The base GTI costs under $35,000 while the R is only available in one trim, with the cheaper stick shift starting at a little under $44k. That makes them competitively priced, but how do the cars drive? Well, Tanner Foust is a pretty good person to ask. He's already sampled both the ID.4 and the Golf R in the snow, but now he takes the GTI and R to Willow Springs.
As you may recall, Foust had already visited the track late last year to demonstrate just how good the electric ID.4 is, but now he's lapping The Streets of Willow. His initial impressions speak about the handling, which he finds incredible. Despite the GTI sending 241 horsepower and 273 lb-ft of torque through the front axle alone, Foust finds that the electronic limited-slip differential does an excellent job of slowing the inside wheel to make up for your overly aggressive steering inputs at high speeds. Basically, the GTI remains a fun-to-drive, chuckable daily driver, just as you'd expect. But how about the 315-hp Golf R?
Once again, we get to see the Golf R's torque vectoring system at work, with Foust not only pulling off impressive four-wheel drifts with copious amounts of smoke billowing from the tires, but also testing how the car would behave in a track situation where you overcook things. Enter a corner a little too fast, turn the wheel a little too hard, and you should get understeer, right? Not in the R. Foust says you can feel the car rotating beneath you, giving you a hint of oversteer that you can exploit through more aggressive throttle inputs. Seeing it at work, we can't help but agree with Foust's prediction that the R will probably "go down in history as punching above its weight better than, just about, any car ever made."