Likes

  • Sensational performance for the asking price.
  • Understated styling flys under the radar.
  • Excellent tuning support
  • Some OEM equipment can be retro-fitted.

Dislikes

  • Some reliability concerns.
  • Parts and labour can often ask a premium.
  • Many used examples have been abused and modified poorly.
  • Owners can struggle to retain their driver license.

Stuff you should know

  • The Golf R, the flagship model of the Mk6 Volkswagen Golf range, competes directly with rivals like the Audi S3 and Mercedes Benz AMG CLA45.
  • It comes equipped with a range of features typical of the Mk6 Golf line, including leather interiors and premium sound systems.
  • Under the hood, it boasts a potent 2.0 L turbocharged 4-cylinder engine, powering all four wheels through either a manual or dual-clutch automatic transmission.
  • Performance enhancements include upgraded brakes and suspension.
  • Australian-delivered models were manufactured in Germany between 2010 and 2012.
  • Due to depreciating prices, the Golf R is often considered an excellent value-for-money performance vehicle.
  • However, many examples on the market may have been poorly modified or subjected to abuse.
  • Prior to purchasing, a comprehensive pre-purchase inspection is crucial to identify potential issues.

What goes wrong

Exterior:

  • The plastic clips holding the front bumper corners can become brittle with age, leading to potential breakage and protrusion of the bumper.
  • Electrical components, particularly folding door mirrors, may exhibit erratic behavior, though this is not overly common.
  • Drainage holes in the doors can become blocked, indicated by sloshing sounds when opening and closing the doors, potentially signaling drainage issues.
  • A concerning issue involves sound deadening sponge in wheel arches holding water, leading to rust and corrosion over time, particularly in cold climates or areas with salted roads.
  • Rust around the rear badge and hatch can occur in regions with salted roads or coastal locations, albeit not very common.
  • With the increasing affordability of these cars, inexperienced owners may lead to accidents and shoddy repair work; thorough inspection of the exterior is advised.

 

Interior:

  • Headlining sagging can occur, easily fixed by a professional upholsterer or DIY.
  • Some reports mention electrical glitches, so thorough testing of all functions is recommended.
  • Interior plastics may become brittle, causing rattles; check for noise during test drives.
  • Water ingress issues may arise from door speaker seals, window regulator card seals, and taillights, leading to damp carpets in footwells.
  • Sunroof-equipped models should have clear drainage holes to prevent water leaks into the electronics.

 

Mechanical:

  • Engine:
    • The Golf R is equipped with the EA113 engine, featuring CDLF & CDLC engine codes, which utilizes a timing belt rather than a chain, unlike the EA888 engine found in many other performance Volkswagen models.
    • Timing belt replacement is recommended every 105,000 kilometers or 7 years, although they often outlast the chains in the EA888 engines.
    • Notably, the timing belt operates a smaller and simpler water pump compared to the problematic water pump in the EA888.

    Common Engine Concerns:

    • High-pressure fuel pump issues may arise.
    • Cam follower failures can occur.
    • Odd fuel pressure codes may appear, but these are typically easily rectified.
    • Turbo diverter valve seal failure can lead to boost pressure regulation codes, although resolution is generally straightforward.
    • PVC valve failure may cause lean and misfire codes, accompanied by increased engine noise.

    Transmission & Driveline:

    Manual Transmission:

    • Generally reliable, with dual mass flywheel failures often preceding clutch issues.

    Dual Clutch or DSG Transmission:

    • Servicing at 60,000 km intervals is crucial for maintaining reliability.
    • The DQ250 six-speed is generally considered more reliable than the seven-speed variant.
    • Despite being jerky and clunky in operation, these characteristics do not necessarily indicate faults.
    • Signs of potential issues include abnormal shifting, strange noises, unpleasant vibrations, or warning lights.
    • Accumulator and mechatronics issues are reported, along with clutch and electronics issues.
    • Even well-serviced units may experience these problems, with operator driving

Exterior:

  • The plastic clips holding the front bumper corners can become brittle with age, leading to potential breakage and protrusion of the bumper.
  • Electrical components, particularly folding door mirrors, may exhibit erratic behavior, though this is not overly common.
  • Drainage holes in the doors can become blocked, indicated by sloshing sounds when opening and closing the doors, potentially signaling drainage issues.
  • A concerning issue involves sound deadening sponge in wheel arches holding water, leading to rust and corrosion over time, particularly in cold climates or areas with salted roads.
  • Rust around the rear badge and hatch can occur in regions with salted roads or coastal locations, albeit not very common.
  • With the increasing affordability of these cars, inexperienced owners may lead to accidents and shoddy repair work; thorough inspection of the exterior is advised.

 

Interior:

  • Headlining sagging can occur, easily fixed by a professional upholsterer or DIY.
  • Some reports mention electrical glitches, so thorough testing of all functions is recommended.
  • Interior plastics may become brittle, causing rattles; check for noise during test drives.
  • Water ingress issues may arise from door speaker seals, window regulator card seals, and taillights, leading to damp carpets in footwells.
  • Sunroof-equipped models should have clear drainage holes to prevent water leaks into the electronics.

 

Mechanical:

  • Engine:
    • The Golf R is equipped with the EA113 engine, featuring CDLF & CDLC engine codes, which utilizes a timing belt rather than a chain, unlike the EA888 engine found in many other performance Volkswagen models.
    • Timing belt replacement is recommended every 105,000 kilometers or 7 years, although they often outlast the chains in the EA888 engines.
    • Notably, the timing belt operates a smaller and simpler water pump compared to the problematic water pump in the EA888.

    Common Engine Concerns:

    • High-pressure fuel pump issues may arise.
    • Cam follower failures can occur.
    • Odd fuel pressure codes may appear, but these are typically easily rectified.
    • Turbo diverter valve seal failure can lead to boost pressure regulation codes, although resolution is generally straightforward.
    • PVC valve failure may cause lean and misfire codes, accompanied by increased engine noise.

    Transmission & Driveline:

    Manual Transmission:

    • Generally reliable, with dual mass flywheel failures often preceding clutch issues.

    Dual Clutch or DSG Transmission:

    • Servicing at 60,000 km intervals is crucial for maintaining reliability.
    • The DQ250 six-speed is generally considered more reliable than the seven-speed variant.
    • Despite being jerky and clunky in operation, these characteristics do not necessarily indicate faults.
    • Signs of potential issues include abnormal shifting, strange noises, unpleasant vibrations, or warning lights.
    • Accumulator and mechatronics issues are reported, along with clutch and electronics issues.
    • Even well-serviced units may experience these problems, with operator driving styles impacting reliability.

    All-Wheel Drive System:

    • The Haldex pump may occasionally present issues, although less likely if properly serviced.
    • Servicing is often overlooked, despite the necessity for maintenance every 3 years or 40,000 kilometers, especially for vehicles subjected to hard driving or track use.
    • Tailshaft rear drive coupling failures are infrequent but not unheard of.

    Modifications and Tuning:

    • Poor modifications and improper tuning can lead to significant issues.
    • Purchasing modified examples should be approached with caution unless high-quality components and expert tuning are confirmed.

    Additional Information:

    • Educating potential buyers about the importance of regular maintenance, especially for critical components like the timing belt and transmission, can help mitigate future issues.
    • Emphasising the impact of driving style on reliability encourages responsible vehicle operation and maintenance practices.

Exterior:

  • The plastic clips holding the front bumper corners can become brittle with age, leading to potential breakage and protrusion of the bumper.
  • Electrical components, particularly folding door mirrors, may exhibit erratic behavior, though this is not overly common.
  • Drainage holes in the doors can become blocked, indicated by sloshing sounds when opening and closing the doors, potentially signaling drainage issues.
  • A concerning issue involves sound deadening sponge in wheel arches holding water, leading to rust and corrosion over time, particularly in cold climates or areas with salted roads.
  • Rust around the rear badge and hatch can occur in regions with salted roads or coastal locations, albeit not very common.
  • With the increasing affordability of these cars, inexperienced owners may lead to accidents and shoddy repair work; thorough inspection of the exterior is advised.

 

Interior:

  • Headlining sagging can occur, easily fixed by a professional upholsterer or DIY.
  • Some reports mention electrical glitches, so thorough testing of all functions is recommended.
  • Interior plastics may become brittle, causing rattles; check for noise during test drives.
  • Water ingress issues may arise from door speaker seals, window regulator card seals, and taillights, leading to damp carpets in footwells.
  • Sunroof-equipped models should have clear drainage holes to prevent water leaks into the electronics.

 

Mechanical:

  • Engine:
    • The Golf R is equipped with the EA113 engine, featuring CDLF & CDLC engine codes, which utilizes a timing belt rather than a chain, unlike the EA888 engine found in many other performance Volkswagen models.
    • Timing belt replacement is recommended every 105,000 kilometers or 7 years, although they often outlast the chains in the EA888 engines.
    • Notably, the timing belt operates a smaller and simpler water pump compared to the problematic water pump in the EA888.

    Common Engine Concerns:

    • High-pressure fuel pump issues may arise.
    • Cam follower failures can occur.
    • Odd fuel pressure codes may appear, but these are typically easily rectified.
    • Turbo diverter valve seal failure can lead to boost pressure regulation codes, although resolution is generally straightforward.
    • PVC valve failure may cause lean and misfire codes, accompanied by increased engine noise.

    Transmission & Driveline:

    Manual Transmission:

    • Generally reliable, with dual mass flywheel failures often preceding clutch issues.

    Dual Clutch or DSG Transmission:

    • Servicing at 60,000 km intervals is crucial for maintaining reliability.
    • The DQ250 six-speed is generally considered more reliable than the seven-speed variant.
    • Despite being jerky and clunky in operation, these characteristics do not necessarily indicate faults.
    • Signs of potential issues include abnormal shifting, strange noises, unpleasant vibrations, or warning lights.
    • Accumulator and mechatronics issues are reported, along with clutch and electronics issues.
    • Even well-serviced units may experience these problems, with operator driving styles impacting reliability.

    All-Wheel Drive System:

    • The Haldex pump may occasionally present issues, although less likely if properly serviced.
    • Servicing is often overlooked, despite the necessity for maintenance every 3 years or 40,000 kilometers, especially for vehicles subjected to hard driving or track use.
    • Tailshaft rear drive coupling failures are infrequent but not unheard of.

    Modifications and Tuning:

    • Poor modifications and improper tuning can lead to significant issues.
    • Purchasing modified examples should be approached with caution unless high-quality components and expert tuning are confirmed.

    Additional Information:

    • Educating potential buyers about the importance of regular maintenance, especially for critical components like the timing belt and transmission, can help mitigate future issues.
    • Emphasising the impact of driving style on reliability encourages responsible vehicle operation and maintenance practices.

Should you buy it?

Whether we’d recommend buying a Mk6 Volkswagen Golf R largely hinges on your desired driving experience.

If you crave maximum acceleration and cornering prowess at a reasonable price, coupled with a touch of understated elegance, and you stumble upon a meticulously maintained specimen, then the Mk6 Golf R is certainly worth considering. Just set aside a few extra funds for inevitable repairs.

However, if you seek a car that demands finesse and skill to truly appreciate, prioritising driver engagement over sheer speed, and requiring time to unravel its nuances, then the Golf R might not fit the bill.

It may sound paradoxical, but setting aside potential reliability concerns, the Mk6 Golf R’s all-around excellence could lead to a sense of predictability once the initial excitement of its power wears off. It might not be as dull as its successor, the Mk7, but there’s a risk it could become a tad mundane over time.

Whether we’d recommend buying a Mk6 Volkswagen Golf R largely hinges on your desired driving experience.

If you crave maximum acceleration and cornering prowess at a reasonable price, coupled with a touch of understated elegance, and you stumble upon a meticulously maintained specimen, then the Mk6 Golf R is certainly worth considering. Just set aside a few extra funds for inevitable repairs.

However, if you seek a car that demands finesse and skill to truly appreciate, prioritising driver engagement over sheer speed, and requiring time to unravel its nuances, then the Golf R might not fit the bill.

It may sound paradoxical, but setting aside potential reliability concerns, the Mk6 Golf R’s all-around excellence could lead to a sense of predictability once the initial excitement of its power wears off. It might not be as dull as its successor, the Mk7, but there’s a risk it could become a tad mundane over time.

Should you buy it?

Whether we’d recommend buying a Mk6 Volkswagen Golf R largely hinges on your desired driving experience.

If you crave maximum acceleration and cornering prowess at a reasonable price, coupled with a touch of understated elegance, and you stumble upon a meticulously maintained specimen, then the Mk6 Golf R is certainly worth considering. Just set aside a few extra funds for inevitable repairs.

However, if you seek a car that demands finesse and skill to truly appreciate, prioritising driver engagement over sheer speed, and requiring time to unravel its nuances, then the Golf R might not fit the bill.

It may sound paradoxical, but setting aside potential reliability concerns, the Mk6 Golf R’s all-around excellence could lead to a sense of predictability once the initial excitement of its power wears off. It might not be as dull as its successor, the Mk7, but there’s a risk it could become a tad mundane over time.

Need help with finance?

What is the car's build year?

2020

Loan Amount

$5,000

Finance estimate ~

$30

Per week*

8.49%

Comparison rate p.a#

Models, pricing & features

Volksagen Golf R Mk 6-1

R

Price when new: $48,490 - $49,990

Price used: $12,000 - $20,500

Equipment

  • 12V Socket(s) – Auxiliary
  • 18″ Alloy Wheels
  • 8 Speaker Stereo
  • ABS (Antilock Brakes)
  • Adjustable Steering Col. – Tilt & Reach
  • Air Cond. – Climate Control 2 Zone
  • Air Conditioning – Pollen Filter
  • Air Conditioning – Rear
  • Air Conditioning – Sensor for Pollutants
  • Airbag – Driver
  • Airbag – Knee Driver
  • Airbag – Passenger
  • Airbags – Head for 1st Row Seats (Front)
  • Airbags – Head for 2nd Row Seats
  • Airbags – Side for 1st Row Occupants (Front)
  • Alarm
  • Armrest – Front Centre (Shared)
  • Audio – Aux Input Socket (MP3/CD/Cassette)
  • Audio – MP3 Decoder
  • Body Colour – Bumpers
  • Bottle Holders – 1st Row
  • Brake Assist
  • Brake Emergency Display – Hazard/Stoplights
  • CD Player
  • Calipers – Painted Front
  • Calipers – Painted Rear
  • Cargo Cover
  • Cargo Tie Down Hooks/Rings
  • Central Locking – Once Mobile
  • Central Locking – Remote/Keyless
  • Chrome Air Vents Surrounds
  • Chrome Exhaust Tip(s)
  • Chrome Grille Surround
  • Chrome Interior highlights
  • Chrome Ringed Instruments
  • Clock – Digital
  • Control – Electronic Stability
  • Control – Park Distance Front
  • Control – Park Distance Rear
  • Control – Traction
  • Cup Holders – 1st Row
  • Cup Holders – 2nd Row
  • Diff lock(s)
  • Diffuser – Rear
  • Disc Brakes Front Ventilated
  • Disc Brakes Rear Solid
  • Door Pockets – 1st row (Front)
  • Driving Lamps
  • EBD (Electronic Brake Force Distribution)
  • Electronic Differential Lock
  • Engine Immobiliser
  • Exhaust – Stainless Steel Dual System
  • Flares Body Coloured
  • Fog Lamp/s – Rear
  • Fog Lamps – Front
  • Footwell Lamps – Front
  • Gloss Finish Insert on Steering Wheel
  • Gloss Finish Inserts
  • Gloss Finish Inserts in Dash Board
  • Gloss Finish Inserts in Doors
  • Glovebox – Cooled
  • Headlamp Washers
  • Headlamps – Active (Cornering/steering)
  • Headlamps – Bi-Xenon (for low & high beam)
  • Headlamps – Electric Level Adjustment
  • Headlamps – See me home
  • Headlamps Automatic (light sensitive)
  • Headrests – Adjustable 1st Row (Front)
  • Headrests – Adjustable 2nd Row x3
  • Heat Insulated – Side Windows
  • Heat Insulated – Windscreen
  • Illuminated – Entry/Exit with Fade
  • Independent Front Suspension
  • Independent Rear Suspension
  • Intermittent Wipers – Variable
  • Leather Gear Knob
  • Leather Hand Brake Lever
  • Leather Steering Wheel
  • Lock Nuts
  • Map/Reading Lamps – for 1st Row
  • Map/Reading Lamps – for 2nd Row
  • Multi-function Control Screen
  • Multi-function Steering Wheel
  • Paint – Metallic
  • Parking Assist – Graphical Display
  • Pedals – Sports
  • Power Door Mirrors – Heated
  • Power Steering – Electro-Hydraulic
  • Power Steering – Speed Sensitive
  • Power Windows – Front only
  • Power Windows – Remote Control Open/Close
  • Rain Sensor (Auto wipers)
  • Rear View Mirror – Electric Anti Glare
  • Rear Windows – Extra Dark/Privacy
  • Rear Wiper/Washer
  • Remote Boot/Hatch Release
  • Remote Fuel Lid Release
  • Seat – Drivers Lumbar Adjustment Manual
  • Seat – Height Adjustable Driver
  • Seat – Height Adjustable Passenger
  • Seat – Passenger Lumbar Adjustment Manual
  • Seat – Rear Opening for Skis/boot access
  • Seatback Pockets – 1st Row (Front) seats
  • Seatbelt – Load Limiters 1st Row (Front)
  • Seatbelt – Pretensioners 1st Row (Front)
  • Seatbelts – Lap/Sash for 5 seats
  • Seats – 2nd Row Split Fold
  • Side Skirts
  • Spare Wheel – Space Saver/Temporary
  • Speed Dependant Wipers
  • Spoiler – Rear Roof Mounted
  • Storage Compartment – Centre Console 1st Row
  • Storage Compartment – In Cargo Area
  • Sunvisor – Illuminated Vanity Mirrors Dual
  • Sunvisor – Vanity Mirror for Driver
  • Sunvisor – Vanity Mirror for Passenger
  • Tacho
  • Tail Lamps – LED
  • Tail Lamps – Tinted
  • Trim – Cloth
  • Trip Computer

MY12 update

  • Alarm with Motion Sensor
  • Alarm with Tow Away Protection
  • Armrest – Rear Centre (Shared)
  • Audio – Aux Input USB Socket
  • Audio – Input for iPod
  • Bluetooth System
  • Body Colour – Door Handles
  • Cruise Control
  • Floor Mats
  • Grille – Black
  • Headlamp – Auto Dipping
  • Metallic Finish Door Inserts
  • Metallic Finish Interior Inserts
  • Paint – Pearl
  • Power Door Mirrors – Auto Dipping (Reversing)
  • Power Steering – Electric Assist
  • Scuff Plates – Embossed or personalised
  • Seatbelt – Adjustable Height 1st Row
  • Spoiler – Front
  • Sports Seats – 1st Row (Front)
  • Steering Wheel – Sports
  • Storage Compartment – Overhead Console 1st Row
  • Suspension – Lowered
  • Tyre Pressure Sensor

MY12.5 update

  • CD Stacker – 6 disc In Dash/Cabin
  • Chrome Finish Gear Shift Gate
  • Disc Brakes Rear Ventilated
  • Headrests – Active 1st Row (Front)
  • Memory Card Reader
  • Metallic Finish Dash Board
  • Storage Compartment – in Dash
  • Suspension – Sports

MY13 update

  • Daytime Running Lamps – LED

Tech specs

Body Styles

  • 3 door Hatchback
  • 5 door Hatchback

Engine Specs

  • 2.0 litre, 4-cylinder turbo petrol, 188kW / 330Nm

Transmission

  • 6-speed Manual (R)
  • 6-speed Sports Automatic Dual Clutch (R)

Fuel Consumption

  • 6.8 – 11.9 / 100km

Length

  • 4212mm

Width

  • 1785mm

Height

  • 1461mm

Wheelbase

  • 2574mm

Kerb Weight

  • 1496kg

Towing

  • Not listed

Ancap Ratings

  • 5 stars, tested 2009 (R)

Body Styles

  • 3 door Hatchback
  • 5 door Hatchback

Engine Specs

  • 2.0 litre, 4-cylinder turbo petrol, 188kW / 330Nm

Transmission

  • 6-speed Manual (R)
  • 6-speed Sports Automatic Dual Clutch (R)

Fuel Consumption

  • 6.8 – 11.9 / 100km

Length

  • 4212mm

Width

  • 1785mm

Height

  • 1461mm

Wheelbase

  • 2574mm

Kerb Weight

  • 1496kg

Towing

  • Not listed

Ancap Ratings

  • 5 stars, tested 2009 (R)

Body Styles

  • 3 door Hatchback
  • 5 door Hatchback

Engine Specs

  • 2.0 litre, 4-cylinder turbo petrol, 188kW / 330Nm

Transmission

  • 6-speed Manual (R)
  • 6-speed Sports Automatic Dual Clutch (R)

Fuel Consumption

  • 6.8 – 11.9 / 100km

Length

  • 4212mm

Width

  • 1785mm

Height

  • 1461mm

Wheelbase

  • 2574mm

Kerb Weight

  • 1496kg

Towing

  • Not listed

Ancap Ratings

  • 5 stars, tested 2009 (R)

Warranty & servicing

Warranty

  • 3 years / 100,000 km (R)
  • 3 years / unlimited km (R)

Servicing

  • 15,000 km / 12 months

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Disclaimer

Please note that pricing information is subject to fluctuations in the automotive market.

Information correct as of Apr 11, 2024.

The advice provided on this website is general advice only. It has been prepared without taking into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. Before acting on this advice, you should consider the appropriateness of the advice, having regard to your own objectives, financial situation and needs.

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