26 Sept 2022

First Drive: Can Volkswagen’s Golf R Estate deliver performance and practicality?

First Drive: Can Volkswagen’s Golf R Estate deliver performance and practicality?

What is it?

Volkswagen’s latest Golf R has arrived with some real punch, bringing an evolution of the firm’s powerful hatchback that adds more technology and a healthy dose of extra power. But, as with the previous-generation R, its hatchback layout might mean it doesn’t provide enough space for some drivers.

That’s where the Golf R Estate comes in. It’s got the same hugely potent setup as in the regular hatch version, but with a larger boot designed to help those who need extra space and pace. We’ve been checking it out.

What’s new?

This latest Golf R is the most powerful to date, showing that it really does arrive with some serious performance to tap into. Much the same as the hatch, you’re getting a range of mechanical upgrades over the standard Golf, including a 20mm drop in ride height and a number of exterior tweaks and changes.

As we’ve become used to in this latest eight-generation Golf, there’s a largely button-free cabin design – though this powerful model gets sportier seats and a smattering of ‘R’ specific badges.

What’s under the bonnet?

Much the same as before, the Volkswagen Golf R uses a 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine sending power to all four wheels through an all-wheel-drive system. With 316bhp and 420Nm sent to the wheels through a seven-speed DSG automatic gearbox, the Golf R Estate will manage the 0-60mph sprint in 4.7 seconds and carry on to a top speed of 155mph. You can raise that top speed to 168mph via the optional R-Performance package if you’d like, too.

Volkswagen claims that you should see up to 36mpg, too, while CO2 figures stand at 178g/km.

What’s it like to drive?

The Golf R has always been known for its safe and secure approach to handling, and this latest model feels much the same. Though this Estate version is ever-so-slightly slower in its acceleration compared to the hatch, it’s still enormously quick, even over slippery ground conditions.

It doesn’t brim with feel or feedback – the regular GTI is a better option if you’re after this, even if it isn’t offered as an estate – but it still continues to be an excellent point-to-point model. It’s all very intuitive, mind you, and the inclusion of torque vectoring which can throw up to 100 per cent of the engine’s torque to the outside rear wheel when cornering means that bends are handled in as much of a fuss-free manner as the straights.

How does it look?

The Golf R Estate has always pursued an understated approach to styling and it’s a similar story to this latest version. This ‘wagon’ seems more under-the-radar than the regular hatchback, with that longer rear end design seeming to shroud the quad exhaust pipes underneath.

The bright IQ Light system at the front gives the Golf R Estate a very modern look, while subtle ‘R’ badges on the flanks and in the front grille give a nod to this car’s added performance.

What’s it like inside?

As we’ve already touched upon, the Golf R Estate follows a similarly button-free approach to cabin design as the regular car. That means the inside does feel largely uncluttered, with the vast majority of functions accessed via the central screen. It might not be the most intuitive, but it does give the cabin a clean look.

But of course, the real reason to opt for the Golf R Estate is the increase in boot space. There’s 611 litres of luggage room back there, which is considerably more than the 343 litres you’ll get in the hatchback version. Given the only negligible drop in performance, it’s a really impressive boost in practicality.

What’s the spec like?

There’s plenty of standard equipment accompanying the Golf R Estate. All cars get three-zone climate control, keyless entry and a variety of driver assistance systems including emergency assist, side assist and rear traffic alert.

For the Golf R Estate’s £44,535 starting price, you also Volkswagen’s Digital Cockpit Pro system, which incorporates a 10-inch high-resolution screen with customisable menus. This comes alongside the main 10-inch colour touchscreen in the middle of the dashboard that’s packed with features.


The Volkswagen Golf R Estate feels like the ideal performance car for those drivers who want to have plenty of benefits tied up in one car. It’s quick, of course, while four-wheel-drive traction means that it’ll be just as impressive when the conditions turn wet and slippery. That added boot space is a real bonus, too, and to our minds makes this Estate version even more appealing than the hatch.

Though it might not offer the engagement offered by some rivals, the Golf R Estate is the kind of performance car that could be used day-to-day with minimal fuss.

  • Model: Volkswagen Golf R Estate
  • Price as tested: £48,135
  • Engine: 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol
  • Power: 316bhp
  • Torque: 420Nm
  • 0-60mph: 4.7 seconds
  • Top speed: 155mph
  • Economy: 36mpg
  • Emissions: 178g/km CO2

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