To really appreciate what the R32 is to the Golf GTI enthusiast, you have to understand what a disappointment the 4th generation was. After 5 years of playing with different drivetrains (including the V5) VW finally gave their enthusiasts what they wanted, a golf which was fast and handled.
The R32 was launched in 2002 but a 2003 model year, the visual transformation was a subtle one, but it’s drivetrain was much more significant. The front and rear bumpers were deeper (the front cut out for larger air intakes, the rear for a pair of exhaust tips), a set of side skirts was applied, and the look was finished off with some arch-filling 18-inch alloy wheels wrapped in 225/40 R18 tyres.
The biggest changes were the new version of VW’s VR6 engine, 3189cc and used a 24-valve head, and sent its 237bhp and 236lb ft through a Haldex all-wheel-drive system. A six-speed manual transmission was standard, but the R32 was also the first production car to offer VW’s Direct-Shift Gearbox or DSG dual-clutch transmission. Early DSGs are considered a little problematic, but a good one still feels modern even compared to today’s standards.
The key for any petrol head is the noise, which comes from those two stainless tailpipes which emit a crisp-edged, open-mouthed blare as the power flows, a slight gurgle as the throttle feathers, revving into the high 6000’s.
Due to the disappointment of the Mk4 GTI, prices remain reasonably high, in some cases over inflated purely down to its owner thinking it’s worth more than it really is. This is rarely bought by someone who has bought it on a whim, this will usually not be their first Golf or fast hatch.
Spending time to find the right car is essential, running cost should not be too high remembering this is a 15-year-old German performance car, however, please note that it shares very few engine parts with other Mk4 Golfs and more with its family member, the 3.2 Litre Audi TT.
What would we be expected to pay for one of these fine V dub’s? .. well for a very well kept, full-service history low (50k-60k) mileage model this will set you back circa £10,000. Higher (110k +) mileage cars with mileage related wear you would be looking in the region of £5,500.
As noted, car enthusiasts will inevitably price their cars high, so don’t be drawn into their emotional attached high numbers, as well as dealers pushing up market prices. Expect to see 8-10% appreciation per annum, but where these prices go in the next 5-10 years will be interesting to see and certainly one to watch!
Until next time
Peace & Love