And then there was Volkswagen’s new Golf R; for a long time the daddy of GTIs. Ever since its South African debut some 40 years ago, Volkswagen’s Golf has seen over 350 000 units sold. And now in seventh generation, the latest Golf R has raised the bar in the compact family car class and is grows ever popular with every new iteration. Quiet recently SA received the 2017 GTI and the time for Golf R enthusiast to upgrade has arrived.

That looks properly sporty – the new Golf R

Chiefly, it now packs 213kW underneath its bonnet and along with a bump in power, this AWD performance model is said to raise benchmarks for assistance systems in its class. Blind Spot Monitor with Rear Traffic Alert as well as Adaptive Cruise Control with Front Assist and Autonomous Emergency Braking System are mentioned, though if we are honest, this tech was already seen in 2016 inside the cockpits of its chief protagonist that is Opel’s current Astra range.

This latest Golf R’s design largely features what was introduced with GTI but deserving its own unique look, the bumpers are redesigned so too are its LED head- and taillights. Its signature quartet of tailpipes now sits further outwards to either side and it also benefits upgraded exterior mirror housing caps in either Chrome Matt as standard or Carbon effects at extra cost. There is also a range of 19-inch wheel options while the standard “Spielberg” alloy and optional Pretoria alloys in grey metallic are new.

As expected, the hottest Golf gets new interior touches. This includes new infotainment systems in 9.2-inch Discover Pro guise with gesture control. What is also standard on the Emperor Golf is Active Info Display, panoramic sunroof and drive mode selection with a Sport HMI feature. Sadly, adaptive chassis control is an optional extra.

VWs latest digital display boasts impressive clarity and crispness and is gesture controlled

Predictably, performance is where the Golf R thrives. Its 2.0-litre four-cylinder TSI powerplant now develops 213kW and is coupled with an enhanced 7-speed DSG with Launch Control. Speeds are 0 to 100km/h in 4.6 seconds, 0,4 seconds faster than the previous car. This is attributed its DSG transmission allowing for maximum torque of 380Nm between 1,850 and 5,300rpm.

Fuel usage is claimed at 6.9l/100km and wait for it, the Golf R will set you back R647 300.