2007 VOLKSWAGEN Golf R32

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2007 VOLKSWAGEN Golf R32


Up until 2002, if you wanted a sensible hatchback that was unbeatable down a B-road, you'd head into your nearest Volkswagen dealership and make a straight-line course for those three famous letters: GTI.

However, even the most ardent of Volkswagen fans would recognise that the Golf GTI was getting a little behind the curve, and a bit on the hefty side, with the Mk3 and subsequent Mk4 models. Luckily Volkswagen had an answer to its own question.

After putting its narrow-angle VR6 engine into the Mk3 Golf to create the front-wheel drive “VR6” model, Volkswagen did it again with the Mk4, then added its own-brand Haldex all-wheel drive to the mix for the VR6 4MOTION car. Both of these were more upmarket cruisers than they were hot hatches though; the extra 25hp they brought over the GTI wasn't enough to set them apart, and the regular GTI retained the handling edge.

The basic recipe was there though and, with a little racing knowledge from its “R” division, Volkswagen set about creating its all-new performance benchmark: the R32.

This added a new, 3.2-litre version of the VR6 engine into the mix, providing 237hp – 60hp more than the GTI – while retaining the all-wheel drive system and, in a world-first, adding a dual-clutch gearbox (DSG) as an option.

That might also sound like the blueprint for the Audi TT, which received the same engine and gearbox late in its first generation, and there's more than a handful of similarities under the skin – including the multi-link rear suspension that was unique amongst Golfs.

When the Mk5 replaced the Mk4, Volkswagen evolved the R32 into a second generation. This got more power from a reworked version of the VR6 engine, at 247hp, but also became a little more subtle. However emissions regulations became a pressing concern and the thirsty R32 wasn't long for this world.

Volkswagen retired the model when it replaced the short-lived Mk5 generation, but it had lit a spark. The R32 directly resulted in the Golf R -- a 300hp AWD Golf powered by a two-litre turbo four – and indirectly created the modern AWD C-segment hot hatch sector, proving as much a market-changer as the GTI had 30 years prior.

The Vehicle

This R32 is one of the later Mk5 models, first registered in September 2007 and wearing that classic, model-defining Deep Blue Pearl body colour.

With 118,000 miles on the clock – around 7,500 a year – it's certainly been a faithful servant to all of its six owners. The current owner picked it up in 2019, and hasn't added many miles to the tally, but with an expanding family the three-door body is nudging into the impractical territory – not to mention the around-town fuel economy, which isn't the best.

While R32s were never especially common, it wasn't unusual to see some over-the-top modifications of those that were on the UK's roads – both in terms of bodykits and under-the-hood upgrades. This one seems to have stayed remarkably original, with a couple of subtle tweaks like the deleted rear wiper you'd probably need pointing out unless you were an R32-enthusiast.

It seems to have been well cared-for across all of its owners, flying through all but a couple of MOTs and then only on wear and tear parts – tyres, of course, and suspension components – and quickly rectified.

The car could benefit from some further TLC and a bit of bodywork to bring it back to its best, but it won't take much and it's a great base for what could be a future classic given the already low numbers on the road and its relatively standard condition.

On the Outside

As noted, the Golf comes in the signature Deep Blue Pearl colour which really does the R32 justice compared to the more staid silver and black options.

It's in a generally excellent condition throughout, with no sign of damage, parking dings, or stone chips across almost the entire body; that's good going on a 15-year old hot hatch.

There are some blemishes however. The most notable is just above the nearside front wheel arch, where there is some bubbling under the paint – a classic area for R32s due to a rubbing plastic liner – and there's some surface rust on the leading edge behind the offside front wheel, possibly from the sunroof drains. You'll also find what looks like a parking scrape behind the nearside rear wheel too.

However the paint is unmarked elsewhere, and the blue looks just as good as it did when the car left the factory, with the shell, doors, boot lid, and bonnet all otherwise clean.

The big chrome grille on the R32 is an area particularly prone to damage, but it appears straight and clean too; there's some discolouration on the front registration plate where the backing looks to have separated slightly.

All four of the standard ten-spoke wheels are in good condition too. There's some minor kerbing on the nearside front and offside rear, which in each case looks like it's confined to a small, 30-degree arc of the very edge of the lip and one the outermost surface of one spoke on the rear. Otherwise they're clean and show no staining.

Each wears an identical tyre from American AWD specialist brand General – matched tyres being a particular requirement of these Haldex-based AWD systems. All four have plenty of remaining tread, with the fronts worn a little more than the rears, but these tyres also have a very obvious, written wear indicator!

All of the vehicle glass is in excellent condition, without marking, chips, or scrapes. The same goes for the lights which all appear in good condition; there's some condensation inside each of the front headlight units, but no obvious damage.

On the Inside

As you'd expect from a practical family hatchback, the R32 sports five seats and they're holding up well for the mileage. Naturally the driver's seat has seen the most action, but there's only a couple of minor blemishes – one on the seat base and one on the outside bolster – that are pretty hard to see at first glance. The front passenger seat is in good condition too, with a couple of little indentations but no damage. That also holds for the rear seats, which have a 60:40 fold as well as a ski-hatch for longer items; it is a Golf, after all.

Even a good poke around the cabin doesn't reveal anything grisly, with the carpets all in good condition – and the mats that protect them also holding up very well. The upper cabin plastics, door cards, and “engine spin” aluminium trim is all in excellent condition too.

All of the vehicle instrumentation that we tried is clear and functional, and the controls remain clearly labelled and operate just as they should in a Golf. One fun curio is that the covered centre cupholder – an optional extra on Mk5s – still retains its original bottle-opener, which also serves as a divider.

There's a couple of aftermarket add-ons here, with a small, blue LED strip lighting up the driver's footwell, and an add-on Parrot device for bluetooth and hands-free mobile phone connectivity.


Of course the 3.2-litre VR6 engine is the most important part of the Golf R32, and it fires up without any issue and makes all the right noises and none of the wrong ones. There's some vapour on revving it, but the car has been sitting for a while and hasn't clocked up a lot of miles – 800 in just over a year.

All seems well with the Haldex AWD system – which runs as front-wheel drive and shifts torque to the rear when the front wheels slip – and the DSG 'box, which are both highly complex systems for the day.

We weren't able to pick up anything amiss with the brakes, suspension, or steering, with no clunking or creaking from anywhere on tight manoeuvres. If only everything in life was as reliable as a Golf…

The car's undercarriage – largely clad in dimpled plastic just like a golf ball - is age- and mileage-appropriate, with no obvious signs of damage; there's surface rust on the exposed, older parts but again that's as expected. There's some older oil low on the front of the block, but no sign of leaks or gasket issues.

History Highlights

The car comes with an original R32 owner's manual, in its original leather wallet with the silvered R32 badge on it and an original navigation disc – and these are unusual items in the own right.

Within there's a fully stamped Volkswagen service book, which includes the important 40,000-mile and 80,000-mile DSG oil change servicing, along with a second book that covers servicing right up to 118,000 miles.

All of the car's MoTs are of course available digitally, although several of the paper equivalents are also included – most importantly the recent one through to February 2024 – along with receipts and documents for work carried out which includes the flexible exhaust pipe section, which was replaced in 2018.

What We Think

The Golf R32 was always a rare car in either generation, and it's only getting more rare by the day – particularly in almost standard form you see here.

It was an incredibly important car too. Without the R32 forging the path, the recent boom in accessible, high-performance, all-wheel drive hot hatches may well have not happened – and lest we forget, it was the first production car in the world with a dual-clutch gearbox.

Still pretty rapid even by today's standards, the R32 is a car you could happily daily drive and fettle as a future classic – and that V6 makes a far better sound than any pop-and-bang mapped modern turbo equivalent!

We think our estimate of £7,000 - £11,000 represents fine value for this future classic.

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  • Location: Batley, United Kingdom
  • Seller Type: Private
  • Odometer Reading: 118935
  • Chassis Number: WVWZZZ1KZ8W075219
  • Engine: 3200
  • Gearbox: Auto
  • Steering position: Right-hand drive
  • Colour: Pearl Blue
  • Interior: Black Leather
  • Estimated Price: £7,000 - £11,000

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