2012 Volkswagen GTI & Golf R


Pros: Strong turbocharged engine; Standard all-wheel drive, Premium interior, Sharp handling

Cons: Considerably more expensive; Interior storage; Available with manual only

The GTI and Golf R are both high performing versions of the more pedestrian Golf hatchback. Both are comfortable enough to be your weekday driver but they also have the power for a weekend at the track. The Golf is already a top practical compact and the GTI and R just added more sportiness and fun to the mix.

The Golf R brings the edition of all-wheel drive and more power but it also comes at a significantly higher cost. Both offer the same premium interior and an exhilarating drive, however unless you are a die-hard fan boy who plans to spend every single waking moment at the track, I would recommend sticking with the less expensive GTI.

GTI Body Styles,Trims & Options
The 2012 Volkswagen GTI is offered in 2-door and 4-door body styles and both are available in two main trim levels- base and Autobahn. The base GTI comes standard with 18-inch alloy wheels, fog lamps, a rear roof spoiler, full power accessories, heated side mirrors with integrated turn signals, heated windshield washer nozzles, a sport-tuned suspension, a leather-wrapped sport steering wheel with shift paddles, plaid cloth upholstery, split-folding rear seats, and an 8-speaker sound system with a media device interface, Bluetooth® audio streaming and satellite radio.

A Convenience and Sunroof Package can be added that will give you a sunroof, multifunction steering wheel controls and a touchscreen media interface with an in-dash CD changer. Adding the available Sunroof and Navigation Package will get you adaptive Xenon headlights with LED daytime running lights and a touchscreen navigation system.

The top-of-the-line GTI Autobahn offers all of the above mentioned features plus unique 18-inch alloy wheels, leather seating surfaces, keyless access with push button start and a premium Dynaudio® sound system.

Golf R Body Styles, Trims & Options
The 2012 Golf R is also offered as a 2-door or 4-door. Standard features include 18-inch alloy wheels, heated mirrors, 4MOTION all-wheel drive, a sport-tuned suspension, unique Golf R badges and trim details, adaptive Bi-Xenon™ headlights with LED daytime running lights, dual zone automatic climate control, heated sport front seats with leather-trimmed seating surfaces and an 8-speaker touchscreen sound system with Bluetooth® and HD radio.

Adding the Sunroof and Navigation Package will get you a sunroof, keyless entry/ignition, a premium sound system, a navigation system and a power reclining driver’s seat (on the four door model only).

Safety equipment found on the GTI and Golf R are virtually identical. Both include front airbags and full-length curtain airbags, anti-lock brakes, electronic brake-pressure distribution, hydraulic brake assist, engine braking assist, electronic stability control and traction control.

Warranty Information
Every new Volkswagen has got you covered with a New Vehicle Limited Warranty for 3 years or 36,000 miles, whichever occurs first. All wear and tear items and/or adjustments are covered for the first 12 months or 12,000 miles. All 2012 & 2013 models are also covered by a Powertrain Limited Warranty for 5 years or 60,000 miles, a Corrosion Perforation Limited Warranty (excluding the Routan) for 12 years, unlimited miles, 3 year/36,000 mile Roadside Assistance and a 3 year/36,000 mile no-charge scheduled Carefree Maintenance™ Program. Contact your local VW dealer concerning warranty specifics and available protection plans.


Trims MSRP 
GTI 2- Door $23,995
GTI 2-Door with Convenience and Sunroof $26,375
GTI 2-Door with Sunroof and Navigation $27,945
GTI 2-Door Autobahn $29,995
GTI 4-Door $24,595
GTI 4-Door with  Convenience and Sunroof $26,975
GTI 4-Door with Sunroof and Navigation $28,545
GTI 4-Door Autobahn $30,595
Similar Vehicles  Base MSRP 
2012 Mazdaspeed3 Touring $24,000
2012 Subaru Impreza WRX $25,595
2012 Mini Cooper S Coupe $25,800


Trims MSRP 
Golf R 2-Door $33,990
Golf R with Sunroof and Navigation $35,490
Golf R 4-Door with Sunroof and Navigation $36,090
Similar Vehicles  MSRP 
2012 Subaru Impreza WRX STI $34,095
2012 Mitsubishi Lancer Evo. GSR $35,290
2012 BMW 1 Series 128i Coupe $31,200

GTI Engines, Drivetrains & EPA Ratings




Fuel Economy (city/highway/combined)

GTI 2-Door, 4-Door, Autobahn

2.0L 200 hp TSI® turbocharged 4-cyl.

6-Speed Automatic with Tiptronic® and Sport Mode


GTI 2-Door, 4-Door, Autobahn

2.0L 200 hp TSI® turbocharged 4-cyl

6-Speed Manual Transmission


 Golf R Engines, Drivetrains & EPA Ratings




Fuel Economy (city/highway/combined)

Golf R 2-Door & 4-Door

2.0L 256 hp TSI® turbocharged in-line 4-cyl.

6-Speed Manual Transmission


Christine is a Contributing Editor at DriverPulse, a provider of online automotive editorial reviews and news. She is also an Account Manager and Head of Client Services for Nusani Media. She drinks a lot of coffee, loves to drive (manual, of course) and enjoys the company of her dog. She spends her free time exploring the great outdoors, painting and volunteering at her local animal shelter. Her passion for cars started at an early age. While most little girls were playing with dolls, she was playing with matchbox cars and watching her grandfather work on his prized Fords. She believes a vehicle should not only give you goosebumps while speeding around the circuit, its design should be purpose focused and elicit a pure emotional response. Her dream car, the Porsche Carrara GT, may not be easy to control however it is the perfect definition of form following function; mind blowing performance and beauty.

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