Harding Performance Volkswagen Golf R: Hot Tuner 2016

The same as last year’s winner, only very different

Harding Performance Volkswagen Golf R

“ABOUT THE only things that haven’t changed are the chassis numbers,” observes Guy Harding, gazing at his Harding Performance Golf R.

Hot Tuner 2016 is brought to you by Valvoline SynPower

Given this thing cleaned up last year as a box-fresh, lightly tweaked daily drive, that’s a throwaway remark simply dripping with intent.

From inside, there’s little sign of the mechanical mayhem that resides beneath the vinyl-wrapped skin – the stock seats, steering wheel and dash all remain just as Volkswagen intended when the car rolled off the production line.

But under the bonnet, well, let’s just say that’s where you find a whole new kettle of fish.
The R’s EA888 engine – already with more muscle than stock out of the factory, thanks to a stronger cylinder head, hollow exhaust valves, larger turbo and bigger radiator – has scored a full basket of additional goodies from Racingline (think ‘Volkswagen Racing’ stuff and you’re all of the way there).

Harding Performance Volkswagen Golf R engineIt uses Harding Performance’s Racingline turbo kit, intake and intercooler, along with a Milltek turbo-back exhaust. Racingline also takes cares of the digital side of things, with software tunes applied to both the engine and the DSG gearbox. Underneath, the goodies are very good indeed.

“The car has one of the first Stage 3 turbochargers from Racingline which has all new internals,” says Harding, who boasts that it’s capable of exceeding 500bhp (373kW), huge power from a 2.0-litre.

“Unfortunately, thanks to this,” says Harding, pointing to the crutches that he hobbled around on for the duration of the event, “we didn’t get time to finish the engine calibration, so we had to wind the power output right down to safely make the event.”

He reckons he lost a month or more of development time in the lead-up, thanks to his dicky knee. Chassis-wise, Racingline supplied the coilover kit, along with adjustable front and rear anti-roll bars, all of which is all bolted on with Harding Performance-designed SuperPro urethane bushings.

Harding Performance Volkswagen Golf R sideThe monotube dampers are adjustable via a single dial for both bump and rebound, and a specially-cast lower arm allows an extra degree and a half of castor to be dialed in. If you don’t quite get what that means, think about it this way: stand with your feet together, then take a step forward with your left leg. That leg now has more castor, and you have more stability.

“We’ve bolted in a fully ‘dry’ set-up which we obviously can’t change now,” says Harding, as we shelter from the driving rain. “We’ll see how that goes.” A set of six-piston front calipers are mated to 360mm front-hatted rotors, with 18 x 8.0-inch Racingline rims dressed in Yokohama AD08R 235/40 ZR18 tyres.

“The biggest secret of the Golf R in general is that it’s so neutral and so usable,” says Harding. “It’s like the old Subaru WRX STI.” 

Harding Performance Volkswagen Golf R wheelsWORKSHOP
Car: 2015 VW Golf R
Who: Harding Performance
Where: 1/56 Cambridge Street, Coorparoo, Queensland
How long: Since 1998
Contact: 1300 730 949
Email: sales@hp.net.au
Web: www.hp.net.au

Drive: all-wheel
Engine: 1984cc inline-4, DOHC,16v, turbo
Gearbox: 6-speed dual-clutch
Suspension: A-arms, coil-overs, anti-roll bar (f); multi-links, coil-overs, anti-roll bar (r)
Brakes: 360mm ventilated/slotted discs, 6-piston calipers (f); 310mm ventilated discs, single-piston calipers (r)
Wheels: 18 x 8.0-inch (f/r)
Tyres: 235/40 ZR18 (f/r); Yokohama Advan AD08R

Stage 3 kit: $5500
Intercooler: $1995
Transmission tune: $1495
Exhaust: $4450
Intake: $795
Suspension: $5595
Swaybars: $850
Control arms: $1150
Bushes: $450
Brakes: $4895
Wheels/Tyres: $3595
Total mods cost: $30,770
Vehicle cost(mSrp): $55,240
Total cost: $86,010


How are you finding our new site design? Tell us in the comments below or send us your thoughts at feedback@whichcar.com.au.


Subscribe to Motor magazine

Subscribe to MOTOR and save up to 49%
The world's most thrilling performance car magazine. Delivered to your door each month.



We recommend


BMW E36 M3

Bargain '90s heroes to buy now

In a world of crazily-priced metal, here are some attainable goodies

9 hours ago
Jack Houlihan
Please enable JavaScript to view the comments powered by Disqus.