Disclaimer: because of circumstances beyond our control, us regret to educate you that the auto pictured here-the four-door Volkswagen R32-will not be imported come the U.S. Us repeat: The automobile shown here is no coming come a VW dealer near you. (Please read on for one more important announcement.)


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Okay, therefore the four-door R32 isn"t coming stateside. Together disappointing together that bulletin is, carry out you really believe we"d it is in so cruel as to tease you with number of pages of Teutonic excellence only to deliver crushing news the you can"t have actually it? Not even a taste? reality is, you can and also you will-as lengthy you"re willing to settle for a bit much less versatility.

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Last spring, Volkswagen invite journalists come sample the all-new, second-generation R32 in Europe, however due to scheduling conflicts, us were can not to attend. Fortunately, our partner at sport Compact auto had much more lenient calendars, for this reason we gained the scoop indigenous them: The R32 is a luxury-infused pocket-rocket. The downside? Volkswagen to be on the fence even if it is to income it come the U.S.


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Concerned that Motor tendency didn"t receive a firsthand taste of the R32, Volkswagen invited us to the brand"s job Moonraker home in Malibu. Because that those not in the know, task Moonraker is password for the brand"s southern California-based think tank conceived by VW"s director of group product strategy Stefan Liske. A former BMW guy, Liske produced Moonraker to analysis Volkswagen"s sagging sales in the U.S. Market, through the score of redefining the brand"s position, portfolio, and culture. Together luck would have actually it, Moonraker had actually a European-spec four-door in its fleet to evaluate the R32"s viability in the U.S. Market, which for united state meant availability and valuable time behind the wheel. And, as it turn out, ours test coincided nicely through a pertinent announcement: In the 3rd quarter of 2007, Volkswagen will begin importing two-door 2008 R32s to the U.S.


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While the four-door is arguably the better package-more apertures mean an ext versatility-the two-door is may be the better-looking hatch, void of the added cut lines. Besides doing not have the extra doors the our test car, the U.S. R32 will certainly sport a few other subtle differences, namely sport seats with adjustable headrests and also integrated next airbags in place of the race-style one-piece Recaros, and a contempt fatter behind bumper that adheres to U.S. Crash standards. Various other than that, what you view is what you get: a 3.2-liter, 250-horse narrow-angle V-6, a six-speed DSG (a standard hand-operated won"t it is in offered), 4Motion all-wheel drive, 18-inch alloys, bi-Xenon headlamps, and an approximated price tag of roughly $32,000. Our tester had an optional nav system-$1800 ~ above the GTI-so number some $34,000 because that a loaded R32. At that price, the inquiry isn"t will they sell, yet rather how quickly.


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At the check track, the R32 ripped native 0 come 60 mph in 5.8 seconds and also through the 4 minutes 1 mile in 14.4 at 94.5 mph. Contrasted with the GTI, through its 200-horse, 2.0-liter turbo, the R32 is 0.5 second quicker to 60 and also 0.3 quicker through the quarter. Its fiercest competitors-the Mitsubishi Evo and Subaru STI-are speedier machines, however they absence the R32"s as whole refinement, early in part to the Jekyll-and-Hyde nature of their turbo engines. In contrast, the R32"s iron-block engine is as direct as a runway, always urging girlfriend to push it previous 6000 rpm, if just to enjoy the vociferous barks through the center-mounted dual exhaust with every traction of a change paddle. Moreover, the R32 feels like an Audi (indeed, the R32 is really a reconstituted A3 3.2 S-line quattro), and as together seems more solid and advanced than the 2 Asians.


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Meandering through the lush hills of Malibu Canyon, the R32 feel planted and also composed, its Haldex all-wheel-drive mechanism in track with the torquey V-6, its electrical power steering unique weighted for every speed and also condition. When diving deep right into turns yields mild understeer-the Haldex mechanism routes power to the rear wheels as soon as traction demands; thus, under braking, the R32 behaves favor a front-drive car-getting earlier on the accelerator mid-turn eradicates the push, rotating the rear, tucking in the front, and also launching the automobile out the a turn like a spurred stallion. Although there are just 250 steeds on tap, the power is tailormade for the car. The lighter GTI comes across much more playful-400 under pounds and also a turbo will perform that-but the R32 feels much more mature, a seasoned sense that i do not care clear with the slalom (68.4 mph) and in 60-to-0 braking (111 feet), in i m sorry the R32 outperforms the GTI as well as the $70,000 Audi RS 4.

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Whatever the exercise, the harder you push the R32, the an ext it comes alive. The VW just plans to import 5000 per year is a crying shame-so plenty of will miss out ~ above the most satisfying Golf ever before built.


2008 VOLKSWAGEN R32
POWERTRAIN/CHASSIS
DRIVETRAIN LAYOUTFront engine, AWD
ENGINE TYPE15 V-6 steel block/alum head
VALVETRAINDOHC, 4 valves/cyl
DISPLACEMENT194.6 cu in/3189 cc
COMPRESSION RATIO10.9:1
POWER (SAE NET)250 hp
2800 rpm
REDLINE6500 rpm
WEIGHT come POWER14.6 lb/hp (est)
TRANSMISSION6-speed auto-clutch manual
AXLE/FINAL-DRIVE RATIOS4.80:1 (I-4); 3.60:1(5,6,R)/2.97:1
SUSPENSION, FRONT; REARStruts, coil springs, anti-roll bar; multilink, coil springs, anti-roll bar
STEERING RATIO16.2:1
TURNS LOCK-TO-LOCK3.0
BRAKES, F;R13.6-in vented disc; 12.2-in vented disc, ABS
WHEELS18 x 7.5-in cast aluminum
TIRES225/40R18 92Y Michelin Pilot Exalto
DIMENSIONS
WHEELBASE101.5 in
TRACK, F/R60.4/59.6 in
LENGTH x broad x HEIGHT167.2 x 69.3 x 57.7 in
TURNING CIRCLE35.8 ft
CURB WEIGHT3600 lb
WEIGHT DISTRIBUTION, F/R58/42 %
SEATING CAPACITY5
HEADROOM, F/R37.4/36.5 in
LEGROOM, F/R41.5/33.5 in
SHOULDER, F/R53.7/52.5 in
CARGO VOLUME9.7 cu ft
TEST DATA
ACCELERATION to MPH
0-301.9 sec
0-403.0
0-504.3
0-605.8
0-707.7
0-8010.0
0-9013.0
0-10016.3
PASSING 45-65 MPH3.1
QUARTER MILE14.4 sec
60 MPH
2400 rpm
CONSUMER INFO
BASE PRICE$32,000 (est)
PRICE together TESTED$33,800 (est)
STABILITY/TRACTION CONTROLYes/yes
AIRBAGSDual front, next curtain
BASIC WARRANTY4 yrs/50,000 miles
POWERTRAIN WARRANTY4 yrs/50,000 miles
ROADSIDE ASSISTANCE4 yrs/50,000 miles
FUEL CAPACITY14.5 gal
EPA CITY/HWY ECON21/27 mpg
RECOMMENDED FUELUnleaded premium