Like a dachshund with a German shepherd’s bark and a dalmatian’s bite, the 2008 Volkswagen R32 is a small dog, but it’s fast and packs a punch.
I had the opportunity to spend some time with the 3.2L, 250 horsepower R32 last month, and it left me checking price quotes and option packages.
By the way, $32,990 unless you start stripping out the navigation system. You may be asking “can’t I get a smaller engine for cheaper?” Not on the R32 — if you want a four-cylinder model, you need to look at the GTI.
The R32 is named after its engine — the Racing 3.2 L naturally aspirated VR6 engine with 236 ft. lbs. of torque.
The package is completed by the VW 4Motion All-wheel-drive system and Direct Shift Gearbox (DSG) transmission, which takes the jolt out of changing gears. It’s an automatic transmission with optional Tiptronic shift-paddles for a "virtual manual" experience. DSG is a dual-clutch system that gives you racing-tuned shifting without a clutch pedal and shifter — like what I discussed in the Eos.
It does 0-60 in 6.5 seconds.
This car is fast, and it has a good roar to it when you rev the engine — this is not supposed to be the case with a small car. You expect a Fast and the Furious-inspired high-pitched squeal out of a small car’s engine, not something more suited to a Mustang.
It’s like this: when you’re in the left lane on I95 and someone is going 70 in front of you. If you let off the gas and then give it a good rev, they’ll get the picture and get out of the way.
Not that I did that or anything…
This is a hot car. In the $30,000 range, it’s priced between affordability and luxury, but it gives you a ton of the luxury features you’d expect on a $50,000 car.
I’m a satellite radio skeptic. But with the integrated system on the R32, (and many other cars starting to follow the trend) I liked being able to switch between my favorite AM, FM and newly found Sirius channels.
I wasn’t overly impressed with the navigation system. I would have much preferred a touch-screen to the dial and knob operation on the R32. I know you’re not supposed to touch your GPS while driving, but sometimes you just have to make an adjustment, and it’s a lot more complicated to make on-the-fly changes with the built in nav system than with a Garmin or TomTom. They charge you enough for it; it might as well be touch-sensitive.
The seating, on the other hand, is the picture of comfort for the driver. The racing seats hug you in, resulting in a quite comfortable driving experience. The car easily fits four and can do five if you need to.
I was amazed by how much headroom the car gives. It’s low to the ground, but once you get in it’s very roomy. There is also good cargo room in the hatchback trunk.
Overall, it’s a wonderful car to drive that’s packed with features. It’s fun on long journeys and decent on gas mileage (18 city, 23 highway).