Sunday, August 17, 2008

2002 Volkswagen Golf R32

Volkswagen Golf R32 (2003-2004)

In 2003 Volkswagen produced the Golf R32 in Europe. Again, due to unexpected popularity, Volkswagen (through Volkswagen of America) decided to sell the car in North America (except Canada) as the 2004 Volkswagen R32. Billed as the pinnacle of the Golf IV platform, the R32 included every performance, safety, and luxury feature VW had to offer including the all new 3.2 L VR6 engine producing 241 bhp, AWD, a new 6-speed manual transmission, independent rear suspension, automatic climate control, sport seats from Koenig, 18" OZ Aristo wheels, electronic stability programme ESP, massive (334 mm) brakes, sunroof, and model specific bodywork. The vehicle was available in only four colors, Tornado Red, Reflex Silver, Black Magic Pearl and Deep Blue Pearl.

In spite of outwardly appearing very similar to the 20th Anniversary GTI, the R32 shared the vast majority of its major components with the 3.2 L Audi TT, most notably, the engine, all wheel drive system, and both front and rear suspension geometries. Five thousand cars were produced and intended to be sold over a 2-year period. Each car was sold just 13 months later.

This was a venture put out by Volkswagen which was considered to be a corporate gamble. Volkswagen surprisingly sold all 5,000 R32s in America with little marketing and advertising.

The Golf R32's competitors (at the time of production) were the Subaru Impreza WRX STi and the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution VIII, although, unlike these cars, the R32 was not run by Volkswagen in rally competitions, and lacked the playstation appeal and ultimate status as those cars. Instead of the boy-racer, go-fast approach of the competition, VW focused on the stability and drivability in everyday conditions.

The R32 remains the quickest car Volkswagen has imported to the U.S. Capable of 60 mph in only 5.8 seconds, and clearing the 1/4 mile in only 14.1 (@99.2 mph), it edges out its sportiest sibling (the Phaeton 6.0 litre W12 - 414 bhp) by a tenth of a second by the 1320 foot mark.

It also has a surprisingly high resale and used-car value; the Kelley Blue Book used car retail price (the price an individual might expect to pay for one from a dealer) for a model in excellent condition with low mileage actually exceeds the original retail price of the car in many cases, making it one of a few recent cars that have actually approached an increase in value over time. This premium can be explained mostly due to scarcity, both of the cars themselves due to low production and importation, and especially of ones that have not been driven particularly hard.


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