Back in 2001 when I first laid eyes upon the MkIV R32, I knew right then and there that I wanted one. The VR6 exhaust note defined the very essence of a the sporty hatchback from Volkswagen. Fast forward 7 years to the release of the 2008 MkV R32. While the exhaust note has been tamed a bit, the VR6 note is still distinguishable from other vehicles at the stoplight. My first brand new vehicle purchase, I still find joy in listening to the VR6 warm up on a chilly morning. Aesthetically, the subtle visual differences between the R32 and its siblings - GTI & Rabbit - are just enough to help it stand out. Power delivery is smooth and consistent. The AWD coupled with the DSG transmission provide the confidence to stay in control through bad weather, tight corners, or while passing on the freeway. The trade off for NA power and AWD control comes at the expense of lower gas mileage. Tracking data between fill-ups, I am seeing a regular 21 MPG (mixed city + highway). My only real gripe with the vehicle is found inside. Although the R32 comes fully loaded, there are details of the interior that could be improved. Similar to many vehicles from Audi and its siblings (GTI / Rabbit), the R32 suffers from minor interior trim rattle. Sourced to various areas of the cabin ranging from the rear seat latch and front seat belt clips, or door trim and center console, the rattles are most likely caused by constant road vibration. Fortunately, the VW service centers are aware of the issue and remedy the rattles by disassembling trim pieces and refitting. What I can not understand is VW's reasoning for leaving some of the interior details offered in the GTI out of the R32. Little things like the GTI's dead pedal metal plate vs. the R32's exposed floor board; the GTI's protective door sills with 'GTI' emblems vs. the R32's exposed door sills prone to scratches / chips. I always tell myself VW cut corners to keep the cost of the .:R down. Would I recommend the R32 over the GTI? It really depends. I test drove the GTI before purchasing the R32. Although the GTI gets better gas mileage, has quicker acceleration, and a lower sticker price... the added safety of full time AWD and the naturally aspired 6 cylinder was too hard to deny. Test drive both - two different driving personalities.
This is the best car I've ever owned. AWD. Great looking car. It growls with power. 240hp/236tq. It's just enough power to get around, but it doesn't feel like a track car like an sti or an evo. I daily drive this car about 60-80 miles a day and I've had no problems with it. The Koenig Leather Seats feel so comfortable. The back seat isn't that bad either. Everytime I get in it I'm excited to drive it again. Sometimes I stop at yellow lights just to be the first one to take off on green.. hahaha!
Bought 2008(R) in 2009, Very nice car. I waited to see if I liked the car before commenting on it. Comfortable and fun ride, interiors quiet and easy to use. Stereo system is nice for stock. GPS system is ok, 09 and 10 system is alot nicer. Fuel mileage and heavy right foot really dictates a larger fuel tank needed. Interior is holding up well. Motor is very quiet, Exhaust has quite the growler noise (LOVE THAT). Exterior is clean and easy to maintain. No problems mechanically. Handling is great, Used in heat and rain area. Would recommend if looking for sporty hatchback with a PAIR!