Published on February 8th, 2015 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez0
Volkswagen Golf R Variant: a practical powerhouse we don’t get?
Those who value the wagon usually belong to two distinct groups of people: those who value the wagon as a practical statement, and those who view the wagon as something cool and sporty. The sporty image associated with wagons came as a result of both Volvo and Audi producing wagon versions of their high powered halo models, and soon the appeal and cult following developed with the mindset that wagons could be quick as well- not merely a soccer mom mobile.
And in today’s world of modular design and production, it is not so difficult to produce a car with various body styles- especially when most platforms can accept most engines across a company’s range. The Golf Variant is the wagon version of the Golf platform, a naming scheme Volkswagen has taken on rather recently. And for those of you who don’t already know what a Golf R is, it’s a fire-breathing 300 hp all-wheel drive machine, designed to tangle with hot-hatchbacks at high speeds.
If you combine the two, you get the Golf R Variant. It takes the powertrain, all 300 horses of it, and drops it into that wagon bodystyle that enthusiasts so curiously crave for. Some extra work is done to beef up the chassis, with suspension work and tuning optimized for the slightly heavier body and longer overall length. Naturally the wagon will not be nearly as quick as the hatchback around a circuit, but it should possess inherent stability that the MQB platform gives.
And the benefits to having the wagon bodyshape are clear to see. Legroom isn’t wildly different from the hatchback, but there is plenty more boot space to fit luggage and other items- making this kind of car the perfect compromise as a family vehicle. Entirely track capable for a weekend thrill and still comfortable enough to do the school run through the weeks, it’s hard to argue against the Golf R Variant.
Advanced sales of the Golf R Variant have begun overseas- that being said, it’s unlikely that this car will ever make it to our shores. A proposed Passat wagon import project for Malaysia was axed last year, likely due to a lack of demand. Our market is still not quite mature enough to accept the idea of a blisteringly quick family car, with car owners divided between sports cars and hot hatchbacks, or family sedans and MPVs and SUVs. Even run of the mill wagons at decent price points don’t receive much attention, so it’s easy to see why Volkswagen Malaysia won’t offer this model.