Volkswagen: 2016 Golf R Wolfsburg Wagon review

Volkswagen: 2016 Golf R Wolfsburg Wagon review

Limited edition high-performance station wagons don’t come much rarer than the Golf R Wolfsburg pictured here in Lapiz Blue Metallic.

Just 40 of these particular turbocharged 2-litre petrol all-wheel-drive wagons with the official crest of the city of Wolfsburg on the tailgate will be available for VW aficionados to take home and tuck inside the garage.

If the Lapiz Blue is not to your taste, Volkswagen also offers three other colour options, being Pure White, Limestone Grey Metallic, and Deep Black Pearlescent.

2016 Golf R Wolfsburg badgeSo why would you call a car a Wolfsburg? Simple, it’s a fitting tribute to the ancestral home of Volkswagen.

In 1938 the Nazi regime planned a new town around the village of Fallersleben in Lower Saxony, building a car factory and residential housing for the workers who would produce the KdF or people’s car, which post-war became the Volkswagen Beetle.

The Stadt des KdF-Wagens bei Fallersleben (the City of the KdF Car, at Fallersleben), sounded pretty clumsy to the occupying British forces.

So in 1945, the Brits renamed the town Wolfsburg in honour of a local castle and hence created the unique crest which adorns this limited edition Golf R wagon, as well as many previous Volkswagen cars.

Power and performance
Volkswagen created the R as a step up from the front-wheel-drive 162kW GTI, for those people who wanted more power and performance but wanted to stay within the Golf family.

It is interesting to note there is no GTI wagon offered, as yet.2016 Golf R Wolfsburg front grille

The Golf R Wolfsburg wagon does share its drivetrain with the Audi S3; the four-cylinder 1984cc engine produces 221 kilowatts of power and 380 Newton metres of torque from 1800 which it distributes through a Haldex all-wheel-drive system via a six-speed twin-clutch direct shift gearbox.

Zero to 100 km/h is a tyre frying 5.1 seconds, accompanied by the spine-tingling bellow of the turbocharged four’s usually rumbly exhaust note turning into a full throttle howling wolf.

Volkswagen is equipping the Wolfsburg with its DCC adaptive chassis control which includes its PDA driving profile selection. The PDA system offers the driver the choice of a mode to best suit the situation being eco, normal, comfort, sport, individual, and race.

The Wolfsburg Wagon also has Volkswagen’s XDS+ electronic differential lock in its suite of technology, which cleverly divides the power between the wheels, and the Haldex system will only send a maximum of 50% of torque to the rear axle, making for surefooted but neutral handling.


2016 Golf R Wolfsburg rear lowDifferentiating the Wolfsburg Wagon from the ‘standard’ Golf R are specifications such as its black gloss 19-inch Pretoria alloy wheels, black roof rails, and the Carbon Nappa leather upholstery.

Wearing 235/35 19-inch tyres on an R Suspension, which lowers the body by 20mm, the Wolfsburg not only looks the business; it comes fully loaded, and there are no extra cost options offered apart from the $1200 Volkswagen scheduled service plan.

2016 Golf R Wolfsburg upholsteryVW hasn’t skimped on the safety features in this car; there’s City emergency braking, blind spot alert, rear traffic alert with integrated automatic reverse braking, multi-collision braking, fatigue detection, and adaptive cruise control.

The proactive passenger protection system will automatically close the windows and tighten the seatbelts as a precautionary measure if the vehicle identifies a dangerous situation.

Other features include a reversing camera, bi-xenon headlights with cornering function, headlight cleaning system, LED daytime running lights, satellite navigation, privacy glass, electrically adjusted and heated door mirrors, rain sensor, and park distance control.


2016 Golf R Wolfsburg steering wheelDespite the flat-bottomed R leather clad steering wheel, the sporty and comfortable bucket style front seats, the carbon touch decorative panels, the blue illuminated light strips, and the blue dial needles in the speedo and tachometer, the gloss black dash finish, the interior of the Wolfsburg wagon is still very generic Golf.

That’s not necessarily a bad thing; because all the switchgear is well made and easily used, including the touch screen functions, and the Wolfsburg also has the Apple Car Play functionality which allows you to dictate text messages while on the move as well as dial and receive cell phone calls.

My sole disappointment with the Wolfsburg was the lack of electric adjustment for the heated front seats, both driver and passenger have manual seat height and lumbar adjustment, as well as manual fore and aft and seat tilt adjustment. At this price point, it felt a bit penny-pinching.


The Wolfsburg is no sheep in wolf’s clothing, and it is truly one of the most fun to drive wagons we have come across lately. The comfort, sport, and individual modes adapt well to the New Zealand driving environment, and the Race mode is best left for track day antics.

There is no shortage of power from the 2-litre turbo engine, and there’s a fully fledged cacophony of rumbles and growls from the exhaust when pressing on.

The high level of adhesion from the all-wheel-drive system allows cornering at a velocity that even a Golf GTI driver wouldn’t be game enough to consider, but the Wolfsburg just digs its heels in and continues to grip the tarmac, leaving a smile on the drivers face.


Remember the Subaru WRX wagon? A loud and powerful all-wheel-drive machine with a unique boxer engine soundtrack that was beloved by performance enthusiasts.

The Wolfsburg reincarnates the spirit of the WRX wagon but in a far more mature and grown up fashion.

It offers all the qualities that the WRX had and more. But well as making the right noise and delivering the high performance, the Volkswagen adds much greater levels of comfort and safety that today’s more discerning buyer demands.

Those 40 units will disappear quickly, so don’t hesitate.

Price $79,990


  • Loud,
  • Fast
  • Fun
  • Practical,


  • Lack of electric seat adjustment
  • Won’t suit some housewives

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