Volkswagen has always held a special place in many of South Africa’s consumer’s hearts. One of their best products come in the form of a hatch that has managed to capture a plethora of fans and even more envious members of society who wish they had bought one.
This week I had the opportunity to complete my circle of Golf’s, first was the 7.5 GTI, Golf R and finally the 298th out of 300 Golf TCR’s that prowl our streets. The TCR is the last hoorah of one of the most successful Golfs to date. This is a no holds barred version of our favourite hatch, it packs a big punch, a bad attitude and capabilities like no other front-wheel-drive vehicle we have evaluated.
The premium feeling is present much like the GTI and it has not been compromised in any manner, the interior features, expensive and modern touches place the TCR at the top of the food chain. The interior hosts’ several class-leading ergonomics which include an HD display that provides you with pivotal information, such as, sport gauges, lap timer, climate control and the entertainment section that caters to both Android and Apple device users.
Highlights include figure-hugging tartan wrapped seats, a leather-clad sports steering wheel that carries red stitching wrapped around the 12’ o clock mark and a very conservative dose of Alcantara.
Entertainment is not an afterthought; however, it is not Volkswagens best attempt at pushing the barrier, I found that the GTI and R proved to be more immersive and provided a refined quality of sound. Bear in mind that the TCR is aimed at lighting up lap times, creature comforts are not at the top of the priority list, however, Volkswagen has managed to keep it clean and sophisticated.
The ever-evolving EA888 is employed to do what it does best, and it doesn’t skip a beat, power from the turbocharged 2.0L is vigorous, explosive and somewhat manageable. Volkswagen claims a power figure of 213kW and 380Nm, however, the neck-snapping acceleration I experienced seems to be more in line with more powerful cars, there were several times where the power figures felt to be have been underquoted, naturally aspirated Affalterbach and Munich car owners, this serves as a fair warning to you.
0-100 km/h is claimed to be achieved in 5,6 seconds, this will vary based on road conditions, you will have more luck in hitting that 100 km/h mark on a smoother road surface, the tyres scrabble at the tar as they fight to get that first bite of grip, once the drama has subsided, the acceleration is unstoppable, and neither does it end there, no corner is too sharp to slice through and no apex is too technical to get the TCR facing in the correct direction and shooting off into the distance.
The TCR is capable, it Is not often that I am spurred on to continue mashing the throttle at any given opportunity, it’s addictive, there were periods where I decided that I should take it easy and trot along like a well-mannered road user, sadly, I failed,
Volkswagen has employed the duties of an electronic limited-slip differential to ensure that power is being used as efficiently as possible and that alone contributes a great deal to the immersive experience.
Touring car racing are words that will reverberate in my soul for years to come, my experience with the TCR is nothing short of sublime, it is exceedingly difficult for me to criticize this machine, it managed to conjure some feelings I have not experienced in a while and that alone is worth full marks.
The TCR faces stiff competition, namely Honda’s Civic Type R, Hyundai’s i30N and the new kid on the block, BMW’s 128ti which has managed to impress, however, the TCR exudes exclusivity, reliability and desirability, and those points alone, tickle my fancy.
9.3 / 10
- From R689,20
- 213kW 380Nm
- 0 – 100 km/h 5.6 seconds
- Top Speed: 264 km/h
- 6 speed DSG
- 3 year/120 000km warranty
- 5 year/ 90 000km Volkswagen Service Plan
- 12-year anti-corrosion warranty. Service intervals are every 15000km.