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Thoughts on the R - Bec's DBP

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After a long 8 month wait, I've had my R a full week now, and whilst it’s still early days, thought I'd post (quite) a few initial observations on the car.

Starting with….

Drive:

Bloody brilliant! Early days, but has exceeded my expectations already.

Handling is taught, sharp, precise, and responsive. The chassis is stiff and agile. Planted and super grippy, it’s a much lighter and more engaging drive than I was anticipating. It still delivers the fun with plenty of aplomb, but without any unwelcome drama, and with a markedly different personality to a GTI. Begs to be driven hard, in and out of the bends. Good turn in and less understeer than I was expecting. Must say the turning circle is noticeably bigger, requiring a change of habit in regular, familiar scenarios such as parking on my driveway, but already adjusting to it.

The power is addictive and eagerly available when you call upon it. Plenty of torque throughout the range for smooth, reliable and consistent acceleration. In terms of accessing the power – I do like the top mounted throttle pedal which I was a little reticent about, after years of floor mounted throttle pedals. Throttle response could be a little snappier, you do need to put some effort to get the response.

DSG – great as always, that seductive sound of it moving through the gear changes. I was converted 7 years ago and no going back now. This generation has none of the jerkiness in S of the previous version. However as always in D goes up through the gears too quickly, and in S hangs onto the gears a touch too long. Fine if you are solo, but get some funny looks from passengers wondering why the engine is snarling away, lol! Something in between would be perfect, but that's where Manual and the paddles come in. Just wish the paddles had a bit more presence to them. Am looking at paddle extensions.

Driver Profiles - trying out the various ones, and switch between them depending on mood. Only one I haven’t spent any time in is Eco. I’m mainly using Individual with this setup:

DCC - Sport (occasionally Normal)
Steering - Sport
Drive – Sport or Normal
ACC - Normal
Interior engine sound - Eco
Aircon – Normal
Dynamic cornering lighting – Sport

Soundaktor – always controversial and divisive, but with the now ability to alter the volume in Individual mode, it’s absolutely acceptable at Eco setting, not intrusive and does not interfere or detract from the Dynaudio. But, still great to have the option to have more fake noise when the mood strikes! Real engine noise and exhaust note - sublime! Can't get enough of that growl and pop.

Tech:

Keyless - a breeze to use. Was worried beforehand that it might be hit and miss, and I might end up leaving the car unlocked, but it's really very simple. Love it. And only a couple of times have I gone to put a key in the non existent ignition. A convert to the ignition button.

ACC - yet to use this but plans to do so on a winter trip to Yorkshire.

DCC – as expected.

E-brake/Autohold – took about an hour to be won over by this.

Stop/Start - don't mind it at times, but adds a nanosecond too much time to pulling away for my liking, so gets switched off when I remember (town driving). I know that lightly tickling the brake pedal will stop it from activating and have got the hang of that. Where I live is a very congested city with much time spent in slow moving or static traffic and often easier to switch it off altogether.

Front Assist - had only a couple of warnings but no braking intervention as yet. Either I’m a better driver than I thought, or it doesn’t work, lol.

Parking sensors and rear camera. Handy at times, but could live without them, still like to use my own judgement.

There’s a lot of new-ish tech, compared to my previous car, and where it properly aids the driver, without becoming a hindrance, it is very, very good.

Interior:

I think the black piano gloss is very nice, but could be a mega dust magnet. I always have a microfibre and trim dressing to hand to keep the dust at bay, and probably ust as well. Though I like the dark cabin, I think a few more blue trim accents would have made it a bit more special. So to introduce a bit more colour I’m swapping the harsh white footwell lights for some blue LEDs. The illuminated blue door and sill strips are a nice feature, though the sill guards themselves are not up to that job, so I’m ordering some additional guards.

Surprisingly I like the headrests. Was a massive fan of the older style that wrapped over the top of the seat, so was rather disappointed to see they had changed them. But in the flesh new style ones really suit the car. Like the embroidered R logo on them.

The MiB2 unit - is great, the larger screen really finishes off the cabin, screen resolution is good. The touchscreen is miles better than older generations which were very temperamental and clunky. Discover Pro Nav - used it on the recent Windsor trip. Very impressed. App-connect works well.  Yet to try the Car-net.

Dynaudio – just excellent. Head and shoulders above previous gen, even in its yet to be burned-in state, it’s very, very good. Will be superb after about 60 hours. Money very well spent.

Steering wheel, thinner than my previous, but I like it a lot. Except I find the button placement is not quite as intuitive as old style. Ergonomics are slightly off, and I miss the mute button of old which is absent this time round. The dials are lovely as are the blue needles. Found the indicator/wiper stalks a bit flimsy at first but got used to them now.

Centre console is well designed apart from the Mode button / StopStart button / ESP button, which are poorly positioned on left and hard to see - would be much better on the right side the gear stick, but guess thats a result of it being a LHD design throwback. Cup holders - great and the 'claw' feature very useful for securely gripping cups. Rear cup holders much better located in the load through arm rest.

Window buttons - not as ergonomically perfect as in a Mk6 (angled) but small price to pay for the other improvements.

Prefer the faux carbon trim on gearstick, doors and around dash to previous trim, looks more premium compared to the my old trim which was a bit incongruous. This is much more in-keeping style-wise with the rest of the car.

Love the leather seats and white stitching. But I can see it sagging quicker than the mk6 leather. Preferred the lumbar 4 way rocker switch of old, as the basic handle control on the side of the seat seems crude and a step back, but cost cutting I guess.

Reduced boot space. Significantly smaller, but just travel lighter. Have crammed a a lot of my work gear around the wheel well.

On the whole I like the interior a lot, I would say it is an upgrade, plus it looks and feels distinctly different from the Mk6 which enhances the experience.

Exterior:

Colour – you might be forgiven for thinking I might be bored with Deep Black Pearl after a fair few black Golfs, but no! Very glad I chose it for the 7R as I think it looks stunning. Yes you lose the contrast of the black accents, but gain a sleek, stealth look. I like both the brushed silver wing mirrors and lip more than I thought I would, and they add just enough ‘interest’ without blinging or tarting it up too much.

Pretoria wheels (19â€) – rumoured to have caused the long, long wait, but what can I say – worth it IMO. A lovely wheel, like a lightweight motorsport wheel, adds an elegance to the car, which stops DBP looking too heavy and clumpy.  Might be a pain to clean.

Tyres – ContiSportContact 5Ps – thank the Lord! Have run these faultless tyres for last 3 years, and very, very pleased to get them on the R.

Front end - the front end actually looks more aggressive in the flesh, and like the grill. Bit sick of honeycomb grills after 3 GTIs, so a nice change. Love the intakes and don't miss having fog lights. Love the double LED U headlights. Overall look is subtle but with hints to it’s intent and purpose. Has enough presence for me.

Rear end - absolutely love the smoked rear LEDs, especially against the black bodywork. Quite surprised how little there is of the rear spoiler. Assumed it would be of a similar size/depth to the mk6 but it's much shallower. And, the black plastic side bits make it look even less prominent, but overall it suits the sharper shape of the car. Love the gloss black rear diffuser. Always hated the textured grey 6GTI one, but never got around to spraying it gloss black.

Exhausts - even though 4 exhausts are overkill for a 4cyl, I love them. And I think this car needs something a bit showy at the rear to offset the subtlety of the front end.

Sides - The wing R badges - now I thought I was going to hate these, as was not keen on them in the pics, but, they seem to work on black. Maybe because Deep Black doesn't have the contrast against the black grill and other black trim, the badges add something without it looking blingy. Deeper side skirts are much better.

When I first saw the Mk7 exterior changes, I was not sold. But now I've had it on my drive for just over a week, am totally sold now!

Conclusion - Awesome!!! It’s a fantastic car. A capable but utterly exhilarating drive, and still admirably practical on a daily basis.

And here’s are the things I’m really glad I specced:

Dynaudio
Keyless

Discover Pro + App connect

And, if I could’ve specced only one additional option?

Dynaudio. No question. And preferably as part of Tech Pack. But on it's own, for £700 odd it’s a bargain for such great sound which will get better and better.

Finally…..

Without a doubt the best car I've had to date! (so far)

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Nice post Rebecca glad you like the car,is there a lot of difference between Dcc and non Dcc ride wise

hope i am not missing much as i did not spec  Dcc

Not a massive amount. Though I'm glad I specced it it was more from habit as I had it on my 6GTI on 19s, so it was a kind of auto tick box choice. If I had to pick between DCC and say Dynaudio, I would've happily dropped it. So don't feel like you are missing out too much. That said, this version is an improvement on the old ACC (as it used to be called) of the mk6.

 

I mainly use it in Sport setting, as, and this may sound weird and surpise a few, I've always found it better over the pothole infested and crappy UK roads, than in either Normal or Comfort. Somehow the firmer ride copeds better with the poor surface. Comfort rarely gets used, it's just too wallowly and marshmallow-like. Only time it gets a look in, is if I have my ageing parents in the car, easier on their bones perhaps, lol.

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It's a very honest write up,it is such a great all rounder that makes it such a fun/ practical car to own, good work , now go and polish it again!

 

Darren, I tell you it's killing me not having any free time to do a detail yet.  Lots on with weekend work and socially so be nearer end of the month by the time it's been proprly done. Still has the transport sticker glue on it. But hoping to get Tardis and IronX on it Sunday and following weekend, seal and wax.

 

Don't you just hate it when life gets in the way of car stuff.  :cheesy:

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Darren, I tell you it's killing me not having any free time to do a detail yet.  Lots on with weekend work and socially so be nearer end of the month by the time it's been proprly done. Still has the transport sticker glue on it. But hoping to get Tardis and IronX on it Sunday and following weekend, seal and wax.

 

Don't you just hate it when life gets in the way of car stuff.  :cheesy:

Hey Rebecca, know what you mean , mines filthy and need to seal glaze wax the spoiler still lol, maybe Sunday after golf and playing with vcds, and the gardening and tip run ,!

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Interesting , balanced , review - with obvious enthusiasm for the car (that has come across in all your other posts that I have read!!). 

 

My thanks to you for taking the time to write it - not many do ! And pretty much gramatically correct which is refreshing!  If you dont mind me asking - do you write as part of your job ? 

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Great write up. Be interested to compare your thoughts to mine when it arrives

What tyres come as standard?

Its the performance I'm after, and reading your write up, it seems everything is there to support that performance

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Hey Rebecca, know what you mean , mines filthy and need to seal glaze wax the spoiler still lol, maybe Sunday after golf and playing with vcds, and the gardening and tip run ,!

 

And when you've done all that Darren, pop over to Kent and clean my car. It's not that far.  :cheesy:

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Interesting , balanced , review - with obvious enthusiasm for the car (that has come across in all your other posts that I have read!!). 

 

My thanks to you for taking the time to write it - not many do ! And pretty much gramatically correct which is refreshing!  If you dont mind me asking - do you write as part of your job ? 

 

Thanks.  I do have a great deal of enthusiasm for it. Let's hope that is sustained throughout my ownership. Be good to write another review maybe a year down the line.

 

I do write as part of my job. Nothing as glamorous as being a 'writer' as such though. I work for a local authority (yes a dreaded council officer, but, definitely NOT a jobsworth!).  I'm responsible for the stategic management of all the district's open spaces, or greenspace - so parks, gardens, sports pitches, countryside, open space on new development, etc (a little ironic that my private car passion entails the antithesis to the very thing it is my job to provide - fresh air, lol).  My work covers all aspects, from developing and writing strategy documents for both professional and public consumption, to banging a stake in the ground. So, I do write on a regular basis.

 

That said, I have found writing on car forums over the years to be equally beneficial in honing writing skills, and though I'm a stickler for good grammar and spelling in myself, I love the diversity of writing styles, good and bad, you find on forums.  More than correct grammar, it's good to see personality in someone's posts.

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Great write up. Be interested to compare your thoughts to mine when it arrives

What tyres come as standard?

Its the performance I'm after, and reading your write up, it seems everything is there to support that performance

 

On 19s, ContiSportContact 5Ps appear to be standard now, thankfully. They are a great tyre.  Not sure about 18" Cadiz, might still be Bridgestones I think. Have you gone for the 18s? 

 

If if mine had come on Bridgestones I was ready to replace with Michelin PSS, but not needed now.  Saved me a few quid!

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Thanks to all for your great feedback.  :smiley:

 

Not planning any any power upgrades, stock is enough for me.

 

As mentioned, I'd like to do a follow up review in a few months time, see if the R still thrills me as much, or maybe more?

 

But between now and then, well, there's a lot of driving and detailing to be done! 

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