Volkswagen Golf IV R32 (2002 – 2004), the first supercar-style compact, from €15,000

What are collectibles?

These are cars of particular interest, therefore worthy of preservation. Not necessarily old, however they exist in specified quantities, either because the manufacturer decided, or because their production has stopped. Then, they take advantage of the features that make it more desirable: an engine, a chassis, a design, or a concept. Finally, they are likely to see their rating increase. One more argument to collect them before everyone else!

Why is the Volkswagen Golf IV R32 collectible?

First Golf with an R badge, the R32 benefits from the famous VR6 in a most desirable evolution, offering 241 hp. Dream mechanics in a compact body, combined with all-wheel drive, here is a captivating formula. In short, we are here in the presence of a car with an old charm but decorated with performance and dynamic skills that are still very current, while producing an impressive tune, very noticeable at a time when electricity is developing at the speed of a flash. . As a result, we got the Golf R32, which earned it a high rating.

When it was released in 1997, the 4th generation VW Golf made a lot of noise. In addition to its finish at a level never before reached in a compact, it stands out for its aggressive prices! In fact, with equivalent equipment, it costs less than a Renault Mégane. Moreover, very successful in its design that was both modern and reassuring, the German car won an immediate commercial success, boosted by a very active product plan.

Launched in 1997, the VW Golf IV is distinguished by its modern and sleek design, which inspires solidity (a bit like the Renault 19), as well as a very nice finish.

In addition to the popular TDI blocks, the Golf benefits from continuous improvements: all-wheel drive (but part-time: the rear wheels only become driven when the front wheels slip) including the Haldex differential , brake amplifier and ESP in 1998, VR6 engine in 1999 (V6 4Motion version), while waiting for the final bouquet, at the Paris Motor Show in 2002. Here the sulfurous version of the R32 was launched. Why is it an adjective?

Because under its hood sits the famous 6-cylinder V with a very narrow opening (15°) of the Golf V6, but sees its displacement increased to 3.2 l and its power to 241 hp. The Volkswagen Golf R32 is the most powerful compact in the world! It also retains the Haldex coupler all-wheel drive from the V6 as well as the six-speed manual gearbox, so it can take advantage of all its horsepower without difficulty. The rear axle, of the multi-link type, contrasts with the simple torsion axle of the two-wheel-drive Golf, while the suspension is stiffened and the trim is lowered (- 10 mm). So here is a fast compact (247 km/h), which accelerates well (0 to 100 km/h in 6.6 s) despite its 1,477 kg, and is easy to drive.

Hell of a mouth for the Golf IV R32, here in 2002. Well, its Cd comes out at 0.31 despite the gaping front bumper slits and the 225 wide tires.
Hell of a mouth for the Golf IV R32, here in 2002. Well, its Cd comes out at 0.31 despite the gaping front bumper slits and the 225 wide tires.

In addition, the R32 benefits from impressive equipment: ESP, auto air conditioning, xenon, on-board computer, leather sports seats, CD radio… Enough to justify the very high price of 35,640 €, or 48,250 € now according to ‘Insee . However, this Golf had little success, so VW, who thought it would only be a limited series, made it permanent!

Of the 5,000 planned, 12,000 will be sold, including 7,000 in Europe. Then, VW has a surprise for him. In fact, in 2003, it inaugurated a technology that Wolfsburg had been working on for years with transmission specialist Borg-Warner: the DSG (for Direct Shift Gearbox). Yes, the famous double clutch box.

The two exhaust outlets betray the presence under the hood of the VW Golf R32 of a large engine, in this case the VR6 at 3.2 l and 241 hp.
The two exhaust outlets betray the presence under the hood of the VW Golf R32 of a large engine, in this case the VR6 at 3.2 l and 241 hp.

The R32 benefits from it soon before the Audi TT V6, but unlike the latter, it will only be offered in Germany, the TT boasts it in the rest of the world. DSG is a new type of automatic transmission, faster than before, reports pass almost immediately (even when climbing).

This transmission also has the advantage of slightly reducing fuel consumption: a revolution! But the Golf IV wouldn’t use it for long, its marketing stopped in 2004. It was replaced by the Golf V, less well made but better equipped with running gear, also available on the R32 from 2005.

Well planted on its wheels, the VW Golf R32 benefits from a reduced ground clearance of 25 mm and large brakes: 256 mm discs front and rear.
Well planted on its wheels, the VW Golf R32 benefits from a reduced ground clearance of 25 mm and large brakes: 256 mm discs front and rear.

How much is that ?

The Golf R32 has attracted enthusiasts for some time, earning it a strong and solid rating. With four doors, nothing less than 15,000 €, and at this price, we are entitled to a copy that is certainly beautiful but about 250,000 km. At 200,000 km, we have reached 20,000 €, while to stay at 100,000 km, you have to pay 30,000 €. Two-door versions are slightly more expensive.

The VW Golf IV R32 has xenon headlights as standard.
The VW Golf IV R32 has xenon headlights as standard.

Which version to choose?

For a truly raw experience, you can also opt for the manual transmission, which is more reliable than the DSG.

In 2003, the VW Golf IV R32 received the DSG dual-clutch gearbox as a world premiere.  But only in Germany.
In 2003, the VW Golf IV R32 received the DSG dual-clutch gearbox as a world premiere. But only in Germany.

Collector’s versions

Everyone! In this condition it is in perfect condition. The rating of prints that have not been carried as much literally flies away.

Working without supercharging and direct injection, the 3.2 l VR6 of the VW Golf IV R32 is very stable.  We will still monitor its distribution chain.
Working without supercharging and direct injection, the 3.2 l VR6 of the VW Golf IV R32 is very stable. We will still monitor its distribution chain.

What should be monitored?

Very well built, the Golf IV R32 didn’t escape some damage. After 100,000 km, we recommend monitoring the timing (by chain), or even changing it at 150,000 km. The Haldex system is sensitive if it is not emptied regularly, a comment that is also valid for the DSG box (every 40,000 km).

The latter-suited Mechatronic management system fairly regularly gives up the ghost before 100,000 km in case of careless use, resulting in a bill of €3,000 at the very least. station ! Also monitor the condition of the running gear, which is often damaged in this type of car. The passenger compartment is seriously built, with high-quality materials, but over time, the headliner becomes sagging. Also try the electric windows and the air conditioning, which aren’t very durable in Golf IVs.

On the road, the VW Golf IV R32 still attracts with its mechanical sound and performance, but its behavior lacks enthusiasm.
On the road, the VW Golf IV R32 still attracts with its mechanical sound and performance, but its behavior lacks enthusiasm.

Driving

Despite its age, the Golf R32 still impresses with its looks… and its finish. It is also perfectly installed in a good seat. On startup, the magic sign VR6 works: great! This block is amazing, even before its talents are revealed. Because it’s also very efficient, it combines flexibility, enormous vitality and breath up to more than 6,000 rpm. Certainly, this 6 cylinder remains linear, but its music, its smoothness and its permanent usability make it a wonderful everyday companion.

Exquisite workmanship and a sober design characterize the dashboard of the VW Golf R32, here a 2003 version equipped with the optional DSG box and GPS.
Excellent workmanship and a sensible design characterize the dashboard of the VW Golf R32, here a 2003 version equipped with the optional DSG box and GPS.

Box 6, which is pleasant to the touch and well organized, completes this well enough. On the other hand, the chassis doesn’t age much. The overall impression remains a certain overall seriousness, from the steering to the reactions of the car. The Golf has good handling, but its overly stiff suspension doesn’t benefit comfort or rough-road efficiency. Moreover, if it is quite healthy and efficient, it lacks agility, showing itself to be very understeered, except when you learn to play with the reaction time of the Haldex.

Entering corners at the right speed and overshooting the throttle judiciously can oversteer the R32 as its power flows to the rear axle. In addition, if its brake pedal remains unresponsive, the Golf still stops very briefly. A fast, musical and reassuring car, which consumes reasonably: 11 l/100 km when driving normally.

The alternative newtimer*

VW Golf VI R (2010 – 2012)

Despite its 270 hp, the 2.0 l TFSI of the VW Golf VI R, here in 2010, cannot surround the melody of the R32's VR6.
Despite its 270 hp, the 2.0 l TFSI of the VW Golf VI R, here in 2010, cannot surround the melody of the R32’s VR6.

The first Golf to don the R badge to trade the VR6 for a 2.0-liter direct injection turbo, the VI R took the opportunity to increase its power to 270 hp. This makes it the most powerful compact Wolfsburg has ever marketed, even if lovers of the old 6-cylinder sound will regret it.

Faster and more efficient than any other Golf before it, the R benefits from four-wheel drive (with a 4th generation Haldex coupler), and controlled damping, as an option as does the DSG box. Able to reach 100 km/h in 5.8 s and reach 250 km/h, the Golf 6 R is nevertheless more GT than truly sporty, caring about comfort as much as dynamism, performance as much as fuel economy (8.5 l/100 km). From €13,000.

As standard, the VW Golf IV R32 benefits from superb leather bucket seats.
As standard, the VW Golf IV R32 benefits from superb leather bucket seats.

Volkswagen Golf IV R32 (2003), technical specifications

  • Engine: 6-cylinder staggered, 3189 cc
  • Power supply: electronic injection
  • Suspension: struts, coil springs, anti-roll bar (AV); multi-link axle, coil spring, anti-roll bar (rear)
  • Transmission: 6-speed manual or DSG, four-wheel drive
  • Power: 241 hp at 6,250 rpm
  • Torque: 320 Nm at 2,800 rpm
  • Weight: 1,477 kg
  • Top speed: 247 km/h (manufacturer’s data)
  • 0 to 100 km/h: 6.6 s (manufacturer’s data)

> To find ads for the VW Golf IV, go to the La Centrale website.

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