2017 Volkswagen Golf GTI vs 2017 Volkswagen Golf R

When it comes time to rev up your engine, the last thing you want to hear is a sad sort of whine. Those looking for more power are eager to get behind an unassuming hatchback. A quick comparison of the 2017 Volkswagen Golf GTI vs 2017 Volkswagen Golf R shows that both models have a lot to offer power-thirsty drivers, but the GTI starts off more affordable. Is it worth the savings, or is an upgrade the ultimate performance model in your future?

Which option you ultimately take home depends highly on what you most value, and what you can afford. The Golf GTI obviously has a much lower starting price, but between its four trim levels you receive a wide range of options. The base trim is like a stylish, powerful Golf, while the top trim can almost give the Golf R a run for its money. Almost.

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Which VW hot hatch will catch your eye?

At first glance, the specs seem to speak for themselves. The 2017 Volkswagen Golf R is obviously offering up appeal when it comes to power figures, and the fact that the Golf GTI doesn’t offer all-wheel drive at all can be seen as a performance downside. Consider this, though: the new model year GTI has many performance features that the Golf R has, starting at the Sport trim. This means larger vented disc brakes, a limited-slip front differential and a small boost in horsepower, up to 220. No, it won’t outpace the Golf R, but if you’re looking for something that will feel plenty potent at highway speeds, but want that balance of performance and price, it’s not a bad deal.

Still think you want more? The top trim Golf GTI has dynamic chassis control, while the base trim for the Golf R does not. An upgrade for this feature will tip the scale of the Golf R above the $40,000 mark. Yes, it will be the best performing Golf hot hatch money can buy, but this is where you start debating: should you stick with best GTI, with less power and no AWD, but DCC and a whole host of luxury features, or upgrade and sacrifice the DCC?

As you can likely tell, the major difference between the GTI and the Golf R comes down to performance features. The Golf R does have a more luxurious interior and a refined style that doesn’t have to try too hard to be sporty, but at the end of the day you’re looking for an aggressive ride. If you want to feel the differences between these models in action, and compare for yourself, stop by New Century Volkswagen and take both for a test drive.