It’s been a while since someone pulled me up to engage me about the colour of the car I’m driving, yet it happened a good half-dozen times in the brief time I took charge of Volkswagen’s Golf R Final Edition.
The hue seen here is known as Viper Green Metallic, and for a more $300 on top of the $57,990 RRP ask for the Golf R Final Edition, it’s hard to think of ways to attract more attention from the Great Unwashed.
There are 450 Final Editions up for grabs, with 150 of them painted in three varying shades of ‘look over here’; Victory Blue, Violet Touch Pearlescent and the aforementioned Viper Green Metallic. White, blue and black are no-cost options, if jellybean paint ain’t your bag.
Black 19-inch rims, carbon-effect leather trim and dark tinting are also part of the R, which itself is $1500 dearer than the 213kW/380Nm-packing stocker. A $1900 sunroof is the only available add-on.
Unchanged is the seven-speed dual-clutch ’box, all-wheel-drive and 2.0-litre EA888 four-potter, while the big multimedia screen and digital dash do a good job of keeping the Mk7.5 warhorse in the now.
There’s no arguing, though, that dropping into the black leather bucket feels like a move I’ve done a dozen times before, and despite the electronic toys on the inside and cool LED lights on the outside, the Golf is starting to show its crows feet. No rear USB points, for example, and no inductive phone charger reveals the R’s, erm, advancing age.
The driving experience is, thankfully, unsullied by the passage of years, though those looking for playful and darty should probably look elsewhere. The R has always offered a dependable - if predictable - combination of mid-corner poise and corner-exit punch that’s dulled by reluctance from the front end to be convinced to grip up.
The ability to cycle through the array of driving modes on offer imparts a real sense of dual personality, though, with a big difference between full attack and laid-back.
I’m hoping the Mk8 comes with bigger flappy paddles and a more integrated digital presentation, and the rumoured extra grunt from the evergreen EA888 won’t go astray in a world of Honda Civic Type Rs and Hyundai i30Ns.
We already know, though, that VW will impart new electronic chassis trickery to allow the diff and suspension to work more closely, which may bring the funk back to the relatively benign R.
I bet you won’t be able to get that same shade of green, though.
Pros: That colour, cool backstory, a proven performer
Cons: Still solid instead of sexy, that colour
Model Volkswagen Golf R Final Edition
Engine 1984cc 4cyl, dohc, 16v, turbo
Power 213kW @ 5400 – 6500rpm
Torque 380Nm @ 1850 – 5300rpm
Weight 1450kg (tare)
Transmission 7-speed DSG
0-100km/h 4.8sec (claimed)
On sale now