2018 Volkswagen Golf GTI vs 2018 Volkswagen Golf R

2018 Volkswagen Golf GTI vs 2018 Volkswagen Golf R

One of the toughest comparisons for Volkswagen fans isn’t looking at how different offerings from other automakers. No, it’s comparing the 2018 Volkswagen golf GTI vs 2018 Volkswagen Golf R. Buying a performance models pits our sense of fun and enthusiasm against our practical, adult sensibilities. We mean to say, can you justify the price of the 2018 Volkswagen Golf R. We know if money were no object, every hot hatch enthusiast would pick the Golf R hands-down. Money is a factor for 99 percent of the shoppers stopping by our showroom, so you want to know if the Golf R is worth it. Here’s a quick comparison to help you choose between the GTI and the R.

2018 Volkswagen Golf GTI


2018 Volkswagen Golf R

$26,415 Starting MSRP $39,785
220hp/258 lb-ft of torque Performance specs 292hp/280 lb-ft of torque
Unavailable 4Motion AWD Standard
Available DCC Adaptive Damping Standard

Key performance differences DCC Adaptive Damping

What would you do with $13,000? When the price difference between the base 2018 Volkswagen Golf GTI and Golf R is that much money, it’s no wonder the debate isn’t easy. Of course, you might also be debating between the top trim GTI, which comes in with an MSRP of $35,070. Suddenly that price hike seems worthier of consideration.

One obvious reason is the 4Motion all-wheel drive system, since it isn’t available at all for the Golf GTI and is often considered a necessity for performance-minded drivers. That, and the fact that the power output is obviously an upgrade over the Golf GTI.

Then again, other performance features like the DCC adaptive chassis control system are available for the GTI as upgrades. The base GTI doesn’t have performance brakes, but these are also available and so is the VAQ limited-slip differential, plus driving mode selection is standard.

Since the Golf R only comes in one trim for 2018, upgrading to the top trim for the Golf GTI means receiving convenience features that make it a fun everyday vehicle outside of its performance specs. These include features like the overhead view camera and pedestrian monitoring.

With differences coming down to engine specs and all-wheel drive, it may be the only way to decide between these models is to take a test drive. Stop by Folsom Lake Volkswagen to see which model is the right choice for you.