2020 Volkswagen Golf R Final Edition (car review)

THE 2020 Volkswagen Golf R Final Edition marks the end of an era, and the end of the Mk 7.5 Golf. But what a way for the hottest of hot hatches to go out, resplendent in special bits and in the case of our test vehicle, the magnificent Violet Touch Pearlescent colour.

Arguably the most popular hot hatch on the market (just don’t tell fans of the Mercedes-AMG A45/A45 S that), it produces an incredible 213kW of power and 380Nm of torque from its 2.0-litre turbocharged 4-cylinder TSI power plant.

That engine is mated to one of the best 7-speed DSG dual clutch transmissions around, and paired with Volkswagen’s 4MOTION all-wheel drive system. And for those who like to keep track of the numbers, it can sprint to 100km/h in 4.8 seconds.

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Five drive modes (Eco, Comfort, Normal, Race and Individual) offer plenty of choice, with the chance to go full custom in Individual mode. It’s here that you can set some bits to Comfort and some to Race, to get the perfect combination of speed and enjoyment.

We say enjoyment because, that’s literally what the Golf R Final Edition brings. It’s a real ‘for the love of driving’ experience. It’s oh so quick, comfortable and a tonne of fun to drive, thanks to a handling package that makes it wickedly good, on road and track.

There are those who will argue it’s still just a Golf, dependable and staid, but this it’s more than that. It’s the final edition of one of the most popular Golf models ever made, and with just 450 available, it’s truly limited.

Just 150 of those come in the cool hand-applied colours of Viper Green (a nod to the Scirocco R), Victory Blue, and of course the magical purple colour featured here. That makes these units even rarer, and more collectible.

Being the Final Edition means there are some cool bits to go with it, including Anthracite-Black ‘carbon style’ Nappa leather appointed seat upholstery, Pretoria Black 19-inch alloys, black ‘R’ brake callipers, and special badging, both inside and out.

A powerful Dynaudio Premium audio system (exclusive to this limited edition model) can also be found inside, and the audio quality is fantastic from the eight speakers. The refined 9.2-inch infotainment system is pretty damn good too.

It supports gesture control, and even has a 10GB internal storage, and two SD card slots for you to upload your music. No need to hunt for phone signal to play from Spotify or YT Music, and that’s cool.

The usual Bluetooth connectivity is on hand too, along with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, along with voice control, an AM/FM radio, and even a CD player. The 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster is a thing of dynamic beauty.

You can view everything from driving time, trip length, average and current speed, average and current fuel consumption, distance till empty, engine oil temperature, speed warning functions and a multitude of other things.

Data aside, it’s the crisp, sharp look and full colour high definition quality that makes it special. What’s missing from the interior tech though, is wireless phone charging, DAB+ digital radio and rear USB ports.

Rear leg and headroom is not too shabby, and there’s a 343-litre boot with the seats up, or 1243-litres with the split-fold seats laid flat. If you described the Golf R Final Edition as an angry daily driver, you’re probably fairly close to spot on.

It’s a great way to get around, whether that’s for a trip to the shops or taking on some twisty country roads. Safety technology and driving aids are in abundance too ensuring you’ll make it to the other end of your journey, every time.

For example, driver aids include adaptive chassis control, adaptive cruise control, automatic mirror tilt on the passenger side when reversing, blind spot monitoring with rear traffic alert, a distance warning display, and a driver fatigue protection system.

Emergency assist, front assist with a city emergency brake and pedestrian monitoring, lane assist with adaptive lane guidance, manoeuvre braking, parking sensors, a rear view camera with guidelines, and traffic jam assist are all standard.

That’s one of the things that makes the Golf R, well, the Golf R. It comes loaded full of technology, most of it designed to ensure you’re safe while you’re giving it your all on the track, or even on the road (not that you should be doing that).

It’s poised on the road, and some will argue the fact you generally can’t make it dig in and step out, is one of the minor downsides to the Golf R. But you can’t have it both ways. You can’t have the outstanding AWD control, and rabid drift, at least not here.

Volkswagen claims fuel economy of 7.2-litres/100km but well, that’s only if you drive like a granny. In some serious economy testing, we had it as low as 7.6-litres, but for the most part, we were over 12.0-litres. It’s hard not to drive in race mode, okay.

For the privilege of owning one of the last Mk 7.5 Golf R’s, you’ll need to part with $57,990 plus on-road costs. Sure, that’s pricey when compared to say a Hyundai i30 N Performance, but this is a very special Golf, and the name is legendary.

The 2020 Volkswagen Golf R Final Edition comes with a 5-year unlimited kilometre warranty. Service intervals are every 12 months, or 15,000km and a range of capped price servicing options are available.

Our 2020 Volkswagen Golf R Final Edition was supplied by Volkswagen Australia. To find out more, contact your local Volkswagen dealer. Some images supplied by Jessica Jenkin Photography.


Driving experience
Exterior styling
Interior look and feel
Technology and connectivity
Family friendliness
Value for money


Pros - that colour; all-wheel drive package is exceptional; styling, comfortable interior.
Cons - colour looks dirty with slightest hint of dust; no manual transmission; missing some tech.
Mark Holgate
Mark Holgate
A journalist with more than 24 years experience, Mark Holgate has worked with a number of regional, suburban and metropolitan newspapers, as well as stints with motoring specific publications like Which Car? Motorsport News, Auto Action and Street Machine. He is also a contributor to DriveTribe.


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<strong>Pros -</strong> that colour; all-wheel drive package is exceptional; styling, comfortable interior.<br> <strong>Cons -</strong> colour looks dirty with slightest hint of dust; no manual transmission; missing some tech.2020 Volkswagen Golf R Final Edition (car review)