Golf's sporting

style and 60-plus

mpg

Volkswagen Golf R-Line, front
Volkswagen Golf R-Line, side
Volkswagen Golf R-Line, rear
Volkswagen Golf R-Line, boot
Volkswagen Golf R-Line, interior
Volkswagen Golf R-Line, badge

JUSTa few years ago, a zero to 60 miles an hour sprint of eight seconds and economy of 62.8 miles per gallon would have been complete cloud cuckoo land.

But car designers and engineers are being squeezed for lower and lower emissions and their success also brings vastly improved engine efficiency and aerodynamics, often along with lighter weight and greater built-in safety.

For you and me, that means lower running costs and improved performance.

Now obviously, you can't have both. If you use the performamce, the economy and emissions rocket - that's just the way of the world.

This all came to mind after a week driving the latest VW Golf 2.0-litre turbo diesel in R-Line spec driving through the superb DSG twin clutch automatic gearbox.

The figures above are for that car and it drives like a thoroughbred in every way. It also comes with the excellent quality build and finish that is part of VW's raison d'etre.

This car was powered by a 150bhp version of the 2.0-litre TDI engine common to so many cars in the VW group and what it lacks in the revs common to petrol power units, it more than makes up for in low and mid range pulling power.

This mid range grunt - just where you need it for overtaking - is fantastic and the engine remains smooth and reasonably quiet.

Add the superbly slick and very quick changing DSG automatic gearbox to the mix and the whole works seamlessly and beautifully together, bringing that great economy or performance depending on the weight of your right foot.

The Golf has always been a great handling car and this latest model is no exception. It's lighter and wider than previously and the R-Line models come with lowered suspension to improve even on the very good dynamics of the lower order cars.

Such sports suspension usually has a detrimental effect on comfort levels - especially when combined with big wheels and very low profile tyres.

But the R-Line has a trick or two up its sleeve in the form of Driving Mode Selection. This means that drivers can switch between Comfort, Normal and Sport for the suspension, and tailor the engine and gearbox response using Eco, Sport, Normal and Individual.

That's a lot of choices, and most owners will probably never move from Comfort and Normal because that's all they will ever need.

The comfort setting gives you just that - all the time over almost every surface. It simply rolls over the worst of surfaces, insulating you from them all with huge ease.

Well, it seems like huge ease, but of course, there are probably umpteen computers working together in milliseconds to get it all sorted just the way you want.

The excellent seats add to the ride and support perfectly in the corners at the same time. They also have a huge range of adjustment to suit all sizes.

This version of the Golf is larger than its predecessor, but it's still a medium hatch compared with many rivals, thanks to that near-vertical tailgate.

So cabin space and practicality are excellent, with a good sized boot and a 60/40 split fold rear seat for even more baggage room.

The cabin is a lovely place to spend time, with soft plastics all round, sat nav and infotainment screen and everything angled towards the driver.

R-Line sits above GT in the lineup and apart from items already mentioned, also includes pre crash occupant protection as part of the standard kit, together with R-Line rear spoiler, side skirts and radiator grille, bespoke air intakes, R-Line front bumpers and fog lights, R-Line rear bumper and 17-inch alloys.

Inside are stainless steel pedals and door sills, leather gear knob and gaiter and R-Line leather multifunction steering wheel.

FAST FACTS

Price:£26,765

Mechanical:150bhp, 1,968cc, 4cyl diesel engine driving front wheels via 7-speed automatic gearbox

Max Speed:133mph

0-62mph: 8.6 seconds

Combined MPG: 62.8

Insurance Group: 20

C02 emissions: 118g/km

Bik rating: 27%

Warranty: 3yrs/ 60,000 miles

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