Tech - September 2019

VW Golf R All Wheel Drive System

Golf R 228kW AWD System

As people who thoroughly enjoy driving cars, the general consensus is that the most rewarding layout is that of a front-engined, rear-wheel-drive vehicle. If executed correctly, it provides that sweet 50:50 weight distribution, as well as that typical base-of-your-spine shove that only a RWD vehicle can deliver. However, at the first sight of any form of precipitation, especially in RWD vehicles with a kilowatt or two, the rear-wheels loose traction and what you then have is a recipe for exceptional fun or devastating gloom. On a graph, this sits as a directly proportional curve, one axis being driver skill and the other being fun/propensity for doom and gloom. In other words, there is a small percentage if people who might be able to extract the most out of this sort of vehicle, and for the rest, it might end in tears, despite their desire or interest in performance cars…

On the other end of the spectrum, we have the front-engine front-wheel-drive vehicle. With forgiving dynamics and a propensity to understeer, an FWD vehicle is the safe way to go should you not be in the mood for some sideways action. Unless, of course you’re the type of person who likes to provoke lift-off oversteer. But this is dangerous and irresponsible and should not be tried ever…

Enter the AWD system – in short, it’s able to distribute drive accordingly between the front and rear axles, and in some cases even left to right across the axles, too. What this means is that you have maximum traction at all times – this is safe. And while in most cases ‘safe’ is a synonym for boring, that most certainly isn’t the case in the Volkswagen Golf R.

It’s 228 kW and 400 N.m put to the road through all four wheels allows it to catapult itself and its occupants towards the horizon with an aggression that is quite frankly unrivalled in this and perhaps other segments, too. This, coupled with its raspy exhaust note, addictive induction noises and distinctive turbo noises make for a wholly exhilarating experience. In a word, it’s lovely.

Dynamically, it feels a little more put together than its less-powerful, front wheel drive sibling, the Golf GTI. Thanks to the variable nature of the Haldex AWD, less skilled drivers are also able to drive it fast, safely and within the limits of their driving skill.

It’s truly spectacular and rather than detract from the enjoyment of driving, the AWD system assists the majority of drivers in being able to drive the R quickly and safely and just another reason why the Golf R is well and truly the consummate hot/super hatchback. Perfectly packaged, superbly quick and absolutely usable.