Pros Great handling. Fast AND capable. Upscale interior.
Cons What C/Net said. Limited to one configuration.
Summary First off, I do not own this car, but I have spent some time with them. And I do own the original VR6 Hot Hatch, a MkIII GTI of 1997 vintage that has been driven hard to 150k miles on the original clutch and timing chains.
VW's made the mistake of only offering this model with the DSG and 2 doors here in the U.S. while the european market has choices of a true manual six-speed and four doors. I believe VW missed a big chance to broaden the appeal of ths car to a much larger market. The easier-to-live-with DSG tranny, while an awesome piece of engineering (the 7-speed version just got debuted in Germany) would have been much better suited to a four-door model and made a more 'mature' choice for those with family who still desire a fun car. The 2-door with a real row-your-own 6-speed would have satisfied those of us who took VW's old 'Drivers Wanted' ad campaign to heart. In the U.S. configuration this car is as fast point-to-point as anything out there. It has so much grip that your corner speeds will creep and astonish you without biting you on the ass like much more sporty cars can. And the brakes are more than capable. This is one of the few cars out there that likes to be flogged and puts a smile on your face at every apex. Go to YouTube and search for 'Top Gear R32' for a good performance review of the euro-model 4-Door with the DSG gearbox. And if you think the lower priced front wheel drive four cylinder turbo GTI with a bit more tuning is the answer, Google up Automobile Magazine's comparison where they tuned their long-term GTI up to the same HP as the R32 and tested them side by side.
With the dealer lot showing stickers of $35k (I don't know what incentives there are right now) VW also came in about $4k too high for a 2-Door Hatch. There are several good sporty sedans out there in the mid-30s price range that would feel like more car for the money. BMW, Acura, even Audi are well represented at that price.
And then there will be the inevitable comparison to the other all-wheel-drive sports cars, the Subaru WRX STI and Mitsubishi EVO, both of which are about 300hp, and will run rings around a stock R32 on a roadcourse. That being said the R32 is a much quieter, solid ride that waay more civilized in the daily grind. Kind of an oranges & nectarines comparison if you ask me. The R32's interior is well-appointed, as noted before. I'd rather have the CD Changer if it plays MP3s.
So there it is in my very humble opinion. What rules you? Your heart or your head (or your wallet)? For a little less $$ this car would be an all-time steal. With 4 Doors it would make a palatable, sensible car. The ordinary manual tranny could allow for a price drop. Or just add a bit more power (trust me, this car could handle 50hp more with no other modifications) and you justify the price easily. Not an easy choice if your looking at the numbers. And if you're seriously looking at R32 ownership then you absolutely have to drive it. If you're not dead serious then don't drive it 'cause numbers don't matter after that grin stretches across your face. VW sold all 5000 of the original U.S. model R32s easily for a very good reason. This batch (did I tell you there will only be 5000 imported?) will be gone soon as well.
This choice isn't easy.
Pros performance, limited production,
Cons needs a turbo or supercharger
Summary people in bmw's do a doubletake. this car is fun to drive and the interior is comfortable.
the blue stands out the most. rice burner and muscle car guys don't get it.
oh yeah, review the RNS-510 head unit....
"CD Changer"on by ericlanglois
Pros CD Changer in disguise, look closely.
Cons Now everyone thinks there is no option for a CD changer when you buy the Nav option.
Summary I listened to the review say that there is no CD option when you buy the one option on the R32. I do believe, upon closer inspection you will notice a slot above the screen, with an eject arrow (silver) to the right. If that's not the CD loading slot, then what is it?
Pros Light vehicle, 230+ HP
Cons Too much money for what you get. Offers only 1 option. The option it offers sucks!
Pros Fun to Drive, Looks
Cons MPG, Cost for a two door
Summary I own a 06 VW GLI and there is a secret menu that allows detailed CD text to be displayed. I am certain the R32 has this option for the iPod as well.