Who else misses the days of three-door hot hatches?
The end of the hatchback era seems to have begun, at least in America. As we already know, the next-generation Volkswagen Golf will not be sold in the US. Fortunately, the next GTI will come here and, chances are, the future Golf R as well. But there is one particular hatchback configuration that's officially done everywhere, the three-door hatchback. Needless to say, a three-door hot hatch has now become something rather special. VW has several examples in its back catalog and one, in particular, has long been a favorite of ours. The VW Golf R32 launched in 2002 in Europe as a 2003 model and arrived in the US in 2004. In fact, VW decided to sell the R32 in the US due its popularity in Germany.
Based on the fourth-generation Golf, the Golf R32 may look very similar to the 2003 VW GTI 20th Anniversary Edition, specifically its three-door body style, but there were major differences under the skin.
For starters, a majority of the R32's components came from the Audi TT, specifically its naturally aspirated 3.2-liter VR6 engine, Haldex-based 4Motion on-demand all-wheel-drive system, and front and rear suspension geometries. While a six-speed manual transmission was standard, the R32 was also the world's first production car fitted with a dual-clutch gearbox, though it was a German-market only option.
Total output is 240 horsepower at 6,250 rpm and 236 lb-ft of torque at 2,800 rpm. Performance was also solid: 0-62 mph in 6.6 seconds, or 6.4 seconds with the DSG. The quarter-mile sprint can be done in 14.1 seconds at 99.2 mph. For 2002-2003, these were very impressive figures for a hot hatch.
Standout features include automatic climate control, sports seats with R32 badging, 18-inch OZ Aristo alloy wheels, bigger disc brakes with gloss blue-painted calipers, a sunroof, and unique bodywork touches like side-sill extensions.
Only 5,000 US-spec R32s were built for its single model year, making it a highly desirable collector's car, especially for VW fans. VW only made it available in four colors, at least for the US: Deep Blue Pearl, Reflex Silver, Black Magic Pearl, and Tornado Red.
And now we've found one of these treasures for sale on Bring A Trailer. This 2004 VW Golf R32 has only 16,000 miles and comes with all the fixings. A Carfax report dating this month claims it is accident-free and has had no major issues despite having two previous owners.
The car is currently located in Virginia and, as of this writing, had a top bid of $25,000. Given the R32's reputation, there's a chance this could turn into a bidding war.