Who knew a turbo-four could sound so angry?
The VW Golf GTI invented the performance-oriented "hot hatch" segment in the 1970s, defining the class and establishing itself as a paragon of competence, sportiness, and class for decades. But by the early 2000s, Volkswagen had utterly outdone itself with an even hotter entrant in the segment: the potent Mk4 R32. All these years later, its descendant - the VW Golf R - is still widely regarded as among the best in its class, laying down the gauntlet with a brilliant 2.0-liter turbo-four, some 300 peak horsepower, and all-wheel drive.
That engine might not be as quirky or unique as the 3.2L VR6 in the original R32, but that doesn't mean it's short on character, with pops and bangs abounding from the EA888 four-pot under the hood. Borla Performance, however, thought it could do with a little more.
Of course, every engine, no matter how charismatic, only sounds as good as its exhaust will let it, and Borla Performance knows a thing or two about making a properly ripping-sounding exhaust. The company's just released a video showing what its S-Type cat-back system for the 2017-'19 Mk 7.5 Golf R can do, unleashing the turbo-four's deep, throaty growl and taking its exhaust note to the next level, with a nice burp at every upshift. Lest the louder, more burly-sounding exhaust make everyday driving insufferable, from what we can tell, Borla seems to have done an excellent job mitigating drone.
It's almost enough to make us stop missing the VR6.
Borla's website currently lists the 2018-'19 VW Golf R exhaust as "coming soon," so we don't yet know what the cat-back system will cost. What we do know, however, is that the system is made from T-304 stainless, with three-inch diameter plumbing that splits to 2.25-inch pipes before terminating with aggressive-looking quad tips. Those tips will be available with either a brushed stainless or black chrome finish.
Despite its somewhat niche appeal, the VW Golf R is big in the US - big enough, at least, that Volkswagen is expected to sell the Mk 8 model alongside the brand new GTI here, even while the rest of the Golf lineup is axed. The next-generation Golf R is expected to bow by the end of this year.
If we're lucky, it will sound every bit as angry as its predecessor.