A tale of two Golfs

Volkswagen Golf R, 2017, side, action
Volkswagen Golf R, 2017, rear, action
Volkswagen Golf R, 2017, interior
Volkswagen e-Golf, 18-plate, charging
Volkswagen e-Golf, 2017, side
Volkswagen e-Golf, 2017, interior
Volkswagen e-Golf, 2017, electric motor

THIS is the tale of two Golfs. The first is the e-Golf and a signpost to where Volkswagen is going in the future especially with its ID electric range.

The second is the Golf R - the high performance version of the car which can arguably lay claim to the title of the first ever pocket rocket.

Upfront, they look not dissimilar but the drive is totally different, as you can imagine.

I started with the e-Golf which is VW's pride and joy, priced from £28,230.

Volkswagen was one of the first car manufacturers back in the day to realise that an electric car did not really have to look that different from its fossil fuelled siblings.

Thus the e-Golf looks just like the iconic Golf but with an all electric powertrain and zero emissions taking us into the next decade.

It recuperates and regenerates power as you drive using the electric motor powered by a 323 volt battery (35.8kWh).

And it is one of the few cars I have ever driven that actually does grab back power.

By dextrous braking and/or coasting you can raise the range of miles left to you. You can also choose more or less severe engine braking so that as soon as you lift your foot off the accelerator pedal, the car immediately goes green.

At the same time you can monitor this via the dial on the instrument panel. The hand is in the blue zone when you power away but retreats into the green zone at any time you try to recuperate energy.

Scott Fisher, product affairs manager with Volkswagen, said research has shown that ‘range anxiety' in drivers disappears when an electric car can give them 250 miles on one charge.

VW reckons the e-Golf on a good day will manage 186 miles so it is getting quite near to that figure although realistically with heating on and radio tuned the real life figure is nearer 125 miles.

When I took it out for a run around a 16.3 mile route I managed to use only 11 miles of charge successfully regenerating five miles by positive driving.

As a colleague said it becomes a challenge to find the ‘sweet spot' and get as many miles as possible out of your e-Golf.

Certainly if this is the future we will all be driving a lot slower and a lot more carefully - but then that may be no bad thing.

Or we may decide we want one last hurrah with the fossil fuels and go for the e-Golf's dynamic brother, the Golf R.

"The Golf R is the jewel in the crown of Golf performance," said Mr Fisher.

"The manual version will do 0-62 in just five seconds - it's a serious piece of kit and the UK is the largest market in the world for R products."

Liveried in the same shade of blue as its all-electric brother, the casual onlooker would probably not note any difference between the two cars.

Sitting in them and firing them up, however, is a totally different matter.

Where one is silent and smooth, the other is a little fiend rip-roaring into life with a top speed limited to 155mph.

My version boasted a titanium sport exhaust system, carbon Nappa leather upholstery, dynamic chassis control and the Dynaudio sound system with eight speakers - all for £34,910.

It also has battery regeneration when you brake tipping its hat to its electric sibling.

I took it on the same route I had just driven in the e-Golf. It was a great route twisting and winding with sweeping hills and long straights.

It had taken me about half an hour in the e-Golf. In the Golf R, er, somewhat less - but what a drive.

Two Golfs, two examples of very different VW technology. The future looks bright no matter which one you choose.

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