Motor Authority Best Car To Buy 2022 nominee

The Volkswagen GTI‘s all-around talents have earned it a special place in our hearts over the years, and the Golf R has only made the hot hatch cooler, quicker, and more extreme. We’ve loved it, too.

Both cars get a redesign for 2022 that turns up the power and technology, while also evolving the look.

It starts with a 2.0-liter turbo-4 for both cars. In the GTI, it’s tuned to 241 hp and 273 lb-ft of torque, increases of 14 hp horses and 15  lb-ft. In the Golf R, it spins up 315 hp and 310 lb-ft, up from 288 hp and 280 lb-ft. Buyers have a choice of a 7-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission or, our favorite, a 6-speed manual. The Golf R can launch from 0-60 mph in a tidy 4.7 seconds.

2022 Volkswagen Golf GTI

2022 Volkswagen Golf GTI

2022 Volkswagen Golf GTI

2022 Volkswagen Golf GTI

2022 Volkswagen Golf GTI

2022 Volkswagen Golf GTI

Both cars ride an updated version of the EQB platform from the outgoing Golf. Tweaks include a stronger and lighter aluminum front subframe, stiffer springs, new damper software, and revised helper springs, wheel mounts, and wishbone bushings. A front differential lock and an electronically controlled limited-slip differential come standard on the GTI, while the Golf R’s all-wheel-drive system features mechanical torque vectoring that can send all of the available rear-wheel torque to the outside wheel in a turn. 

In both cars, the steering is tuned for more comfort and fewer turns lock-to-lock, while the brakes get a larger master cylinder for more pedal feel. The GTI rides on 18- or 19-inch all-season or summer performance tires, and the Golf R has only 19-inch summer tires.

The GTI has always been a great all-around vehicle. Its hatchback body style gives it room for passengers and cargo, and its ride quality makes it easy to drive every day. At the same time, it’s always fun to drive and it can be a true performer on a racetrack, where both cars are faster this time around. VW says the Mk VIII GTI is 3.9 seconds quicker than the Mk VII around its 2.05-mile Ehra test track, while the Golf R cut 19 seconds from its time around the Nürburgring Nordschiefe with an impressive 7:51.

2022 Volkswagen Golf R

2022 Volkswagen Golf R

2022 Volkswagen Golf R

2022 Volkswagen Golf R

2022 Volkswagen Golf R

2022 Volkswagen Golf R

New technology contributes to the dual-nature of these cars, making them everyday drivers in Comfort mode, and turning up the performance in Sport mode. The Golf R adds a Race mode with two sub-modes: Nürburgring and Drift. Nürburgring aims for the best track times, while Drift is self explanatory and loads of raucous fun.

More technology is found inside, with a 10.3-inch digital instrument cluster and a 10.0-inch infotainment touchscreen. The Golf R can display performance stats, including real-time horsepower and torque, torque distribution, boost pressure, a G meter, and more. We’re not fans of Volkswagen’s new touch-intensive control interface. It complicates usually easy tasks like turning up the volume or changing radio stations, and we’ve had to dig to find commands that should be readily accessible.

2022 Volkswagen Golf R

2022 Volkswagen Golf R

That doesn’t take away from the fun-to-drive character and cool factor of these two cars. We’d still recommend the GTI to any enthusiast looking for fun everyday transportation. We’d recommend the Golf R, too, as it’s not too harsh to use as a commuter and it also makes a great weekend track toy.

Will that utility and sportiness be enough for the Mk VIII generation Golf to be named Motor Authority Best Car To Buy 2022? Check back on Jan 3., when we reveal the winner, along with the champs from our sister sites, The Car Connection and Green Car Reports.

Source: Motor Authority

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