ROAD-TRIP test – In a Volkswagen Golf R to blow out the candles

Having a Volkswagen Golf R for a weekend will definitely make you want to get away. In the Netherlands? Dragging a carpet at 100 km / h with such a sedan, is out of the question. France then? And spends his time watching the constabulary with binoculars, too small for us. Of course Germany attracts us. In reality, it was a foregone conclusion because a friend’s birthday was waiting for us there. Therefore, with a green sticker and winter tires we will drive the sports sedan on the Autobahn and around Darmstadt. Except the weather played spoilsport.

The most powerful

The model at our disposal is a rather unique Volkswagen Golf R. This is the 20 Years Edition with 330 hp sent to 4 wheels. Either the most powerful Golf “of all time”. Speaking of weather, the weather didn’t help us. It is already difficult to fully exploit this type of car on our roads, but in case the Autobahn is swept by rain and snow… And yes, it snowed in Limburg (the German city, not the Flemish province) . The traffic and the rain, especially on the way back, prevented us from approaching its top speed of 270 km/h. Regardless, it is possible to go faster than Belgium. A rhythm that the 4-cylinder 2.0 TSI accepts without blinking. The car, firmly planted on the asphalt, accepts compressions and asphalt imperfections with authority. But that was during the trip. Let’s go back to the starting point.

Comfort with a capital E

Before arriving in Germany, the Belgian motorway journey was made using “Comfort” mode, which displays an E on the dashboard. When starting, the Golf R is always plugged into Sport mode. By pressing the button on the console and then the icon on the screen, you can calm your passions. Especially when accelerating. It is also more discreet at the level of the original band that exits the exhaust. At the border crossing, a small push on the R button on the steering wheel puts the car into Racing mode. The exhaust is pretty fun. The car is a bit stiffer on the tarmac and more lively under the right foot. It will also locate the red zone of the digitized tachometer in the form of a bar. The darkness is here this Friday night. Automatic high beams work their magic to ensure the best visibility without dazzling other road users. Especially when the traffic is heavy. It is possible to do some sprints at 160 km/h in 3e band, but still rarely. And our first stop, in Bonn, birthplace of Beethoven, is already there. We will spend the night there.

It’s snowing!

The hotel is right next to the highway. Therefore, we accessed it directly, we decided to discover the melody of the Nürburgring mode, despite the rain. Beethoven (native of Bonn) better be careful. Accelerations are accompanied by a shrill song before passing into a snore after a few yelps when the pedal is released. Sometimes it clicked. But on the highway, it gets tiring quickly, because unless you opt for jerky driving, you might as well stay in Sport mode. And despite everything, the kilometers are devoured without martyrdom on highways with beautiful views and some parts with strong inclinations. The suspension guarantees sufficient comfort for long-distance trips. In the snow, winter tires (mandatory in Germany) and all-wheel drive are clearly reassuring. Therefore, it was in rather good condition that we reached the home of our friends in the state of Hesse near Darmstadt. The funniest thing is for Sunday.

A cry in the clouds

After an outing with friends and the occasional “Alles Gute zum Geburtstag*” at a local restaurant, head to the hotel. Which rewarded us with a rude awakening to a fire alarm at 6 am. Not too serious, because in any case, it is necessary to avoid sleeping in to reach the ruins of Burg Frankenstein (yes like the Swiss scientist in Mary Shelley’s novel). What is interesting is the small road to get there. Especially when there is almost zero traffic in the early morning. The road was wet, covered with fallen leaves in mid-November. Race mode – Nürburgring to start climbing, automatic with the 7-speed DSG at the start before switching to the paddles. All-wheel drive once again shows its usefulness. The sedan is stable. Even hard cornering braking does not bother the rear axle (we did not dare to use Drift mode, which is useless on public roads). Paddles behind the steering wheel make it easy to change gears in sporty driving. All in all, a cautious drive due to slippery conditions and mist this morning with temperatures close to 0°C. Good point for ergonomics with the handset on the left allowing easy activation of the front and rear fog lights. Steering, with a straightforward touch, ensures accurate and direct trajectory acquisition. But above all, it is the symphony of engine breath that awakens the Teutonic forest. The trees tremble as the Golf R drives through a frost-covered environment. Nothing seems to stop this Volkswagen from its desire for unity with the driver. He responded to the desiderata with a delightful and not too cautious song.

The flood

Back to normal life. From a monster, the sedan becomes docile and civilized again in Comfort mode. We do not want to cause disputes in the neighborhood for our friends. Last meal before returning to Belgium, with “Mamie” for company, who spent a few days with her son and his family. He takes advantage of our presence to invite himself into this unusual taxi. A lift on the Volkswagen Golf R, it would be foolish to refuse. There remains the question of circumstance: “Aren’t you afraid of the car? “. “No, I have never gotten sick in the car.” Cold! Even the showers, which even covered some sections with a wonderful film of water, prevented him from testing his resistance to the thrills of the Autobahn. Which is often subject to temporary limitations or “bei Nässe**” that prevent any attempt to return to Chronopost (or rather if, in Chronopost mode for sure, silent). But once again, when given the opportunity, The Golf R chassis showed its safety in difficult conditions, even at good speed. In comparison, a Golf GTI, admittedly with less horsepower, was always more mischievous. Back in Belgium for the end of the trip on cruise control. However, cruise control often takes the initiative to change the programmed speed without asking us. He wants to do us a favor by stopping at the new speed limit. Except that sometimes (and even often), he’s wrong. The fault with ISA, this thing which one imposes on us and which is still not in point. Bugs we also noticed in Germany in limited parts and on peri-urban roads.


The Volkswagen Golf R 20 Years Edition may be the most powerful in Golfs production history, but it remains docile. Its agility translates into control for sharper corner exits. It can be wild and even badass in Drift mode, but above all it is a car capable of completing classic missions like a weekend with friends with luggage in the trunk and guests on the bench seat. The comfort is enough not to change the back trips or muscular test. As for consumption, by mixing driving styles and no more than 180 km/h on the Autobahn, the average is 8.7 l/100 km of fuel in 1300 km of testing, including starting and short trips to Belgium.

* Happy Birthday

** on wet roads

Remember : according to the road-trip principle, the photos are taken on the spot with a smartphone, sometimes by one of the passengers.

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