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Report From The Street!
2008 VW R32 the fastest VW Ever
What made the VW GTI the greatest car VW ever made was simple. They took their incredibly popular VW Bug replacement of the Rabbit, which later would go by its German name, Golf, and added a little badly needed kick along with sports seats and a signature paint job. VW was on the same track when they built the R32. The R32 is like a GTI on steroids, more power more braking better seats and ground effects. Unfortunately, there will not be a 2006 R32 here in the states as VW has decided to hold off selling the R32 in the U.S. until the next generation is ready. We may see the new 240 horsepower GTI that is already on sale in Europe before the R32 which has now officially been slated as a 2008 model with sales to begin in November 2007.
In Europe they currently sell the R32 with a 3.2 liter V6 engine that develops 247 horsepower. For one year (2004) VW sold it here. Currently on E bay they are selling at close to factory list ($29,000). When they were for sale at the dealers they sold out in about five months. VW was actually disappointed hoping, that like some $600,000 Ferrari they would sell out immediately. The irony is that they will keep importing new Phaetons till next July while some 2004 Phaetons still sit on dealer’s lots. Had VW enthusiasts known that they would have to wait till 2007 to get another chance to buy a R32 new then maybe the 2004’s would have sold out faster. By holding off selling the current R32 they have given VW enthusiasts something to look forward to in the next generation R32 which will get a 3.6 liter V6 that will produce 280 horsepower. This 15% boost in horsepower will make an already quick car even faster. Current R32 run 0-60 in 6.1 the 2008 R32 should record times in the 5.5 to 5.8 second range.
The R32 has full time four wheel drive which is much better then front wheel drive when you have this much power on tap. VW has used the R32 to promote their tuning components and accessories. At a time when VW is searching for its soul, they need to stop searching, and start selling cars. In the entire automotive industry, of all customers, enthusiasts are the most loyal and vocalized. We will never know how much of Honda’s success was due to winning the hearts of the tuner crowd. It is true that the R32 can not compete head to head with the Mitsubishi Evolution and the Subaru WRX STI. They both offer sub 5 second 0-60 times and while the new R32 will come closer it will not match those numbers. This is not a very good reason to hold off selling the R32 here, because there are Japanese car tuners and European car tuners and they are two separate groups who don’t crossover. Reminiscent of the sixties and seventies when there were Chevy owners and Ford owners and they were two different groups who wouldn’t dare cross the line to the other side. VW doesn’t realize how close they are to owning the European tuning crowd here in America, or they would never make American tuners wait while the European are getting to have all the fun.
The reason why the 2004 R32 have held their value so well is that to enthusiast the car is virtually irresistible. With their 18 inch 20 spoke wheels, larger air intake and dual center exhaust all of the tuner must haves are included. It just might be the reason that VW uses a normally aspired engine is to give the tuners the choice of either supercharging or turbo charging the engine.
Living with the R32 is the reason to buy one. Although the car fits like a snug glove with its back hugging Racaro seats their purpose is understood once you encounter your first high speed turn. The R32 is one of the few sports cars that you sit upright in; most have you sitting on the car’s floor with your feet straight out. This car is a true pocket rocket that’s easy to park, easy to drive and will get a lot better gas mileage then any of those V8 German cars trying to fill this niche.
To most people on the street the R32 looks like any other VW golf. This is actually a good thing, cars that stand out too much draw unwanted attention from the police. The Golf has always been the first car people buy new when they finish college. Models like the GTI and Cabriolet were the versions you bought if you could afford the extra dollars, the R32 is the quintessential Golf, meaning current college students will have two years to think of some good reasons to tell their parents why they need to buy this car when it becomes available.
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Report From The Street!
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