Nearly new buying guide: Volkswagen Golf R

Other choice options include leather, climate windscreen, uprated Dynaudio system – at full whack, it will loosen your fillings – and panoramic sunroof. The optional 19in Pretoria alloys are sought after but check their condition first. The standard-fit sound actuator that enhances the engine note is good but, in 2017, VW made a sports exhaust package available for £2975.

Desirable though all these options are, don’t let the right car slip through your fingers for want of a few goodies since the R is already well specced in standard trim, with sports suspension, four-wheel drive, 18in alloys and xenon headlights, not to mention a good sound system. In 2016, the car was given a mild makeover, receiving a 10bhp boost, LED lights, a new media system and some subtle styling changes. Underneath it all, though, it was the same great performance bargain.


Engine This has a taste for the black stuff but, unfortunately, you’ll never know if it’s been checked and topped up as necessary. If it’s low when you dip it, assume the worst. The oil should be changed every 10,000 miles. Avoid a remapped car since you can only assume it’s been driven hard. It will also invalidate any warranty. The coolant module is prone to leaking but replacement modules suffer the same problem. After a hot drive, a failing one will produce  a spicy, coolant smell.

Transmission Check the DSG’s fluid and filters have been changed every 40,000 miles. Also, that the Haldex four-wheel drive coupling has had fresh fluid every 20,000 miles or three years. Make sure drive is going to the rear wheels. Manual cars can suffer premature clutch slip, so check its operation. 

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Interior Check everything works including the front windows, which can play up. Close them fully and press the switch in the up position for a moment to re-set them.

Infotainment Early cars’ MIB1 systems (with 5.8in screen and up to end of 2015-reg) cannot have Apple CarPlay retroactivated.

Wheels and tyres Attractive and expensive optional Pretoria wheels are light but prone to buckling (check inner as well as outer faces). Check tyres aren’t mixed brand or budget.


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