Volkswagen Golf R Mk6 and Mk7 Buyer’s Guide & History

Without a doubt Volkswagen’s Golf R series of hot hatches are some of the most iconic sports cars on the road today. They provide an abundance of performance, sophistication and practicality that not many other cars can match.

In this buyer’s guide we are going to be looking at two versions of the Golf R, the Mk6 and the Mk7, and what you need to know before purchasing one. Read on to find out more!

How to Use This Golf R Mk6 and Mk7 Buyer’s Guide

This is a pretty hefty guide, so make sure you check out the table of contents below to skip to the section you want to read (or just read it all). To begin with we will look at the history and specifications of the Mk6 and Mk7 Golf Rs. Following that we will dive into the buyer’s guide section of the article and then we will get into some more general car purchasing advice.

History of the VW Golf R Mk6 & Mk7

Credit: Volkswagen

The story of the Golf R badge goes back as far as 2003. Following lukewarm reception to the Mk4 Golf GTi, Volkswagen wanted to create a car that would regain the hot hatch crown. They would squeeze a powerful 3.2-litre V6 engine and an all-wheel drive system into the Golf’s rather understated looking exterior. The car was given the badge “R32”, and it proved to be an instant hit with motoring journalists and enthusiasts alike.

Volkswagen would soon follow up the R32 with another version of the car based on the Mk5 Golf in 2005 (you can read our Golf R32 Mk5 buyer’s guide here). This car retained the mighty VR6 engine and added another level of sophistication to the Golf R badge.

Volkswagen Launches the Golf R Mk6

Credit: Volkswagen

The 2000s was a big turning point for the world of motoring. Emissions regulations were becoming ever more stringent and engines such as the 3.2-litre VR6 in the R32 were simply not fuel efficient enough to make the cut.

There was much speculation over when the next “R” Golf would come, what it would be powered by, and what it would be called. It was widely rumoured to be to be named the R20, however, when Volkswagen unveiled the car at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September 2009 it would simply be called the Golf R.

It would be the most technologically advanced and powerful “R” badged Golf to date, featuring a 270 PS (266 bhp/199 kW) 2.0-litre turbocharged engine that sips just 8.5-litres of fuel per 100 km (62 miles), 2.2-litres less than the R32.

Interestingly, in Australia, America, China, Japan, and South Africa, Volkswagen detuned the Golf R’s engine by 14 PS (10.5 kW). It was believed that this was done due to the hotter weather conditions and/or the quality of the fuel.

To create the new turbocharged four-cylinder engine, Volkswagen’s engineers had to make a number of improvements and changes. Unlike less powerful TSI versions, the Golf R’s power unit featured cylinders equipped with reinforcing bolts. Stronger connecting rods were also introduced to allow for better transfer of the engine’s torque to the crankshaft. Lastly, the cylinder block was reinforced to better handle the increased power of the engine.

While some drivers lamented the loss of the VR6 engine, performance enthusiasts were more than happy with what Volkswagen had done. With more power on tap, the Golf R was in another league compared to the R32 Mk5. It could go from 0 – 100 km/h (62 mph) in as little as 5.5 seconds with the DSG transmission, while the manual version of the car was around 0.2 seconds slower. The only real area where the R32 could match the new Golf R was in top speed. Both were limited to 250km/h (155 mph) at the factory, but without the limiter the Golf R is said to be around 10 – 15 km/h (6 – 9 mph) faster.

All-Wheel Drive System

Just like the R32, the new Golf R Mk6 featured a 4MOTION all-wheel drive system as standard. However, they didn’t just rip out the old system and put it in the new car. They completely redeveloped the all-wheel drive system to provide better traction and performance, especially when it came to power transmission between the front and rear axles.

Unlike the previous generation 4MOTION system, the one fitted to the Golf R operates independent of slip. This is because the system’s working pressure is always available, largely thanks to the addition of an electric pump and improved control module.

Drivers would not only see a benefit from the updated system during cornering, but also with standing starts with improved traction during acceleration. In extreme cases, the Golf R can send nearly 100 percent of its drive torque through to the rear axle.

An All-New Chassis

The engine and all-wheel drive system weren’t the only things to receive the attention of Volkswagen’s engineers. While the basic suspension setup was the same as the standard Golf (McPherson strut at the front and multi-link at the rear), the layout was transformed to better suit the demands of performance driving.

Volkswagen lowered the ride height by 25 millimetres, and re-tuned the springs, dampers and stabilisers to better suit the new configuration. They also offered DCC dynamic chassis control as an optional extra for those that wanted it. This system continually adapts the suspension systems damping to the road conditions and the driving style of the person behind the wheel.

The brakes also received some upgrades as well. At the front Volkswagen installed large ventilated 345 mm (13.6 inch) diameter discs, while the rear received 310 mm (12.2 inch) rotors. These are gripped by R-specific calipers painted in a high-gloss black colour with an R-logo.

A big change for the new Golf R was the modification of the electronic stabilisation program (ESP). It could now be switched to a new sport mode, delaying intervention of the system to allow for more aggressive and responsive cornering.

The last piece of the puzzle was new 18-inch alloy wheels with 225/40 tyres as standard. Buyers could also upgrade to 19-inch wheels and 235/35 tyres if so desired as well.

Subtle Yet Sophisticated Exterior

Credit: Volkswagen

Just like the two R32 cars that came before it, the Golf R’s sporty styling was somewhat subtle when compared to many of the hottest hatches on the market. To the untrained eye the R looks not to dissimilar to a standard Golf, but a closer look reveals a number of differences.

A new front bumper with three large intakes was fitted to help feed the powerful turbocharged engine with fresh air. Side skirt extensions matched to the body colour were also fitted, along with mirror housings finished in high-gloss black.

At the rear the Golf R received a new tail-light design, bumper and diffuser. Twin, centrally mounted tailpipes also gave a hint of what the Golf R was all about. To finish off, a smattering of R-badges show passers by that this is no ordinary VW Golf.

An Interior to Match

Credit: Volkswagen

Just like the exterior, the Golf R’s interior wasn’t designed to be overly shouty. Volkswagen’s designers created something refined and high quality that they claimed put the Golf R in a league of its own for the price point.

A number of Golf R logos adorned the seats, steering wheel and other trim pieces. The Golf R Mk6 also received special aluminium door tread plates, a unique instrument cluster and stainless steel sport pedals.

North America Release and the End of the Golf R Mk6

Initially, Volkswagen did not launch the Golf R in the United States and Canada. This would change in December 2010 when Volkswagen announced that the Golf R Mk6 would be available in the United States from 2012. A Canadian version was also announced for early 2012, however, buyers would only be given the opportunity to purchase the four-door version of the car.

Production of the Golf R would ultimately conclude not long after the introduction of the model into the United States. The Mk6 Golf had run its course and it was time for a new, updated model.

Volkswagen Launches the Golf R Mk7

Credit: Volkswagen

The world got its first glimpse of the new Mk7 Golf at a reveal in Berlin in September 2012. The car would be fully unveiled soon after at the Paris Motor Show. Just like with “R” badged Golfs before it, the Mk7 Golf R would not be announced with the initial reveal of the standard car. The flagship Golf would finally get its time in the limelight in August 2013, with production models shipping to customers soon after.

Most Powerful Golf Yet

The Mk6 Golf R was no slouch when it came to performance, but Volkswagen’s engineers turned it up to eleven for the new car. With 300 PS (296 bhp/221 kW) and 380 Nm (280 lb-ft) of torque on tap from its turbocharged 2.0-litre engine, the Mk7 Golf R was without a doubt the most powerful production Golf produced to date at the time. As with the previous generation, Australian, Japanese, North American and South African Mk7 Golf Rs featured slightly less power at 280 PS (276 bhp/206 kW).

The massive power increase from the new engine led to big gains in the performance department. Manual equipped cars can get 0 – 100 km/h (62 mph) done and dusted in as little as 5.1 seconds, while DSG models are even faster with a rated time of just 4.9 seconds, 0.6 seconds quicker than the old DSG Mk6 Golf R.

Power would be further increased in some markets to around 310 PS (306 bhp/ 228kW) and 400 Nm (294 lb-ft) of torque with the introduction of the Mk7.5 Golf R at the end of 2016. The power increase would came later in some markets such as South Africa.

Updates the Drivetrain to Match

Volkswagen didn’t just squeeze in more power and call it a day. They also extensively reworked the 4MOTION all-wheel drive system and overall drivetrain as well. The 4MOTION system was upgraded with a Haldex 5 coupling that can active even before any wheel starts to slip. Engineers combined this with a new advanced control function unit that adjusts the all-wheel drive system based on specific driving conditions to eliminate almost all traction losses.

Another big benefit of the updated 4MOTION system was its ability to decouple the rear axle under low loads or when coasting to reduce fuel consumption. This, combined with the new engine led to a reduction in fuel consumption by around 18 percent when compared to the previous gen model.

Volkswagen once again gave buyers the choice of two transmission options: a six-speed manual or a 6-speed dual-clutch gearbox (DSG), the latter of which being preferable for outright speed.

Suspension, Steering and Brake Updates

For this generation of Golf R, Volkswagen’s engineers paid extra attention to improving the suspension and overall handling of the car. The ride height was lowered 20 mm compared to the standard Golf. Additionally, the front received newly developed low wishbones for the front suspension, while the rear was improved in a number of areas to increase lateral rigidity and performance. The suspension upgrades combined with the improved all-wheel drive system lead to a car that was leaps and bounds ahead of the Mk6 Golf R.

Just like the Golf GTI Mk7, the Golf R came equipped with Volkswagen’s newly developed progressive steering system as standard. This system reduces the need to turn the steering wheel as much to turn a desired radius, providing better manoeuvrability at slow speeds and better dynamics on twisty roads.

To help slow the powerful new Golf R, engineers installed much more powerful brakes. The front discs were now 340 mm in diameter and 30 mm thick, while the rears were 310 mm in diameter and 22 mm thick. Both front and rear discs were internally ventilated and the special “R” branded calipers housed 60 mm diameter brake pistons at the front, with the rear coming in at 42 mm.

New Generation DCC

Once again Volkswagen offered the Golf R with its DCC dynamic chassis control as an optional extra. Now in its second generation, Volkswagen claimed that the new DCC system offered even more dynamic handling improvements. This improvement was largely down to the fact that the system could now fully independently vary rebound and compression damping for transverse movements.

Sporty Exterior and Interior

Credit: Volkswagen

Both the exterior and interior received a number of changes and additions to set the R apart from the standard Golf and Golf GTI models. New bumpers, side sills, tailpipes, wheels and more gave the Golf R a much sportier, aggressive appearance. A smattering of “R” badges finished off the exterior and the car was initially available in a total of eight colours:

  • Lapis Blue Metallic
  • Pure White
  • Tornado Red
  • Night Blue
  • Limestone rey Metallic
  • Reflex Silver Metallic
  • Deep Black Pearl Effect
  • Oryx White

On the inside the Mk7 Golf R received much the same treatment as the previous generation, but with many of the technological advancements that had become standard by its launch. The base Golf R came standard with a 5-inch touchscreen display, but buyers could also upgrade to larger 5.8 and 8-inch units as well. In 2016 the interior was reworked, with base model cars now featuring a 6.5-inch display among a number of other improvements.

Some of the most obvious changes included stainless steel look pedals and foot supports, new Golf R door sill guards, R-branded floor mats, and an R-specific instrument cluster with a speedometer that goes up to 320 km/h.

(2015) Volkswagen Launches the Golf R Estate

The 2015 model year would see the introduction of a bigger, more practical model, the Golf R Estate. With 310 PS (306 bhp/ 228kW) on tap and a 0 – 100 km/h (62 mph) time of around 4.8 seconds it was certainly no slouch. Like the standard Golf R, the top speed was limited to 250 km/h (155 mph), but this increased to an impressive 270 km/h (168 mph) with the performance package.

Golf R Mk7.5

Credit: Volkswagen

In November 2016 Volkswagen announced a facelifted version of the Golf R Mk7 that became known as the Mk7.5. Sales began the next year with the car being advertised as a 2017 model. The car featured a number of improvements and changes over the Mk7, including the following:

  • Updated front and rear bodywork
  • Slightly more power and performance – the 0 -100 km/h (62 mph) was now 4.8 seconds for the manual car and 4.6 with the DSG
  • New 6.5-inch infotainment system as standard
  • Digital instrumentation
  • New indicators and LED lights

Volkswagen made other changes as well, but the ones listed above were some of the biggest alterations.

Production End

While the Mk6 Golf R would have a relatively short life, the Mk7 R would cover the 2013 to 2020 model years. The car would be replaced by the even more powerful and technologically advanced Mk8 Golf R.

Volkswagen Golf R Mk6 & 7 Specifications

Model Golf R Mk6Golf R Mk7/7.5
Country/LocationWolfsburg, GermanyWolfsburg, Germany
Model Years2010 – 20122013 – 2020
LayoutFront-engine, four-wheel driveFront-engine, four-wheel drive
Engine/Engines2.0-litre Inline 4 Turbocharged

(EA113 FSI)

2.0-litre Inline 4 Turbocharged


Power270 PS (266 bhp/199 kW) at 6,000 rpm

256 PS (252 bhp/188.5 kW) – Australia, America, China, Japan, and South Africa

300 PS (296 bhp/221 kW) 6,000 rpm

280 PS (276 bhp/206 kW) – Australia, America, China, Japan, and South Africa

310 PS (306 bhp/ 228kW) – Golf R Mk7.5

Torque350 Nm (258 lb-ft) at 2,500 – 5,000 rpm380 Nm (280 lb-ft) at 1,800 – 5,000 rpm

400 Nm (294 lb-ft) – Golf R Mk7.5

Gearbox6-speed manual

6-speed DSG

6-speed manual

6-speed DSG


Brakes Front345 mm (13.6 inch) discs340 x 1.18 (13.4 x 1.18 inch) discs
Brakes Rear310 mm (12.2 inch) discs310 x 22 mm (12.2 x 0.87 inch) discs
Wheel Size Front18-inch

19-inch (optional)


19-inch (optional)

Wheel Size Rear18-inch

19-inch (optional)


19-inch (optional)

Tyres Front225/40

235/35 (optional)


235/35 (optional)

Tyres Rear225/40

235/35 (optional)


235/35 (optional)

Suspension FrontMacPherson strut, coil springs, anti-roll barMacPherson strut, coil springs, anti-roll bar
Suspension RearMulti-link, coil springs, anti-roll barMulti-link, coil springs, anti-roll bar
Weight (kerb)1,521 kg (3,353 lbs)1,483 kg (3,270 lbs)
Top speed250 km/h (155 mph) – limited

260 km/h (161 mph) – unlimited but not verified

250 km/h (155 mph) – limited

264 km/h (163 mph) – unlimited but not verified

267 km/h (166 mph) – optional performance package

0 – 100 km/h (62 mph)5.7 seconds (manual)

5.5 seconds (DSG)

5.1 seconds (manual)

4.9 seconds (DSG)


Golf R Mk6 vs Mk7/Mk7.5 – Which Is the Better Car to Buy?

Credit: Volkswagen

Before we dive into the buyer’s guide section of this article, we thought we would discuss the pros and cons of these two generations of Golf R.

For those looking for the best performance out of a stock car there is no doubt that the Mk7 is the way to go. It is more powerful, handles better and is just an overall better purchase if you are looking for something fast.

On the other hand, many feel that the build quality is better on the older generation car. The interior seems to be made from better quality materials and is regarded as more durable. Additionally, the mechanicals seem to be a bit more reliable, especially the engine. Some Mk7 Golf Rs have experienced premature turbo failure (more on that later) and other issues that make them the less reliable car.

Pricewise the Mk6 Golf R is going to be a bit cheaper due to the fact that it is older, but condition and mileage will play a big factor is well. At the end of the day, both Golf Rs are fantastic machines and you can’t really go wrong with either if you are looking for a fast performance hatch.

VW Golf R Mk6 and Mk7 Buyers Guide

Credit: Volkswagen

With the history and specifications out of the way, let’s get into the buyer’s guide section of this article. Volkswagen sold quite a lot of Mk6 and Mk7 Golf Rs (more so of the latter), so there are plenty of them on the roads today. However, maintenance is absolute key as parts and labour on these cars can be very expensive (not too long ago we were down at our local VW service centre and an owner of a Mk6 R was being relieved of about NZ$5,000/US$3,400 for repair work).

Setting Up an Inspection of a Golf R

Here are some things to keep in mind when looking for/setting up an inspection of a Mk6 or Mk7 Golf R:

  • View the Golf R in person if possible – Purchasing used vehicles sight unseen is becoming more popular, especially with the advent of specialist auction sites such as bringatrailer. However, it is always best to physically inspect a used Golf R prior to purchase if possible. If you can’t do this, we recommend that you try to find a reliable friend or third party who can. Being able to properly inspect a used car prior to purchase with your own eyes will reduce the risk of winding up with a lemon.
  • Bring a friend or helper to the inspection – When you go to check out a used Golf R Mk6 or 7, try to find somebody who can along with you. A second pair of eyes and ears may be able to spot something you missed. Additionally, they can give you their thoughts on the Golf R and whether or not they think it is a good buy.
  • Try to look at the Golf R Mk6 or Mk7 at the seller’s house or place of business – By doing this it should give you the chance to see how and where the Volkswagen Golf R is stored. If it is always parked out on the street it is more likely to have bodywork issues such as paint fade, perished seals and possibly even rust. Another benefit of doing this is that you can check the condition of the roads the car is regularly driven on. If they are super rough and full of potholes the suspension, steering, wheels and tyres may have taken a bit of beating.
  • If possible, look at the VW Golf R in the morning rather than later in the day – This isn’t completely necessary, but by looking at a used car earlier in the morning it does give the seller less time to clean up any potential issues such as a big oil leak.
  • Ask the seller not to drive or warm up the car prior to your arrival if possible – A warm engine can hide a multitude of sins, so be cautious.
  • If the Golf R is being sold at a dealer, don’t let them know you are coming to see it – While this is not always possible depending on how the dealer operates, it can be a good idea. If the seller knows you are coming it gives them a chance to clean up any potential issues and pre-warm the engine.
  • Try not to inspect a used car in the rain – Water can cover up a number of different issues with the bodywork and paint. If it does happen to be raining when you inspect/test drive a VW Golf R Mk6 or Mk7, try to go back for a second viewing before making a purchase.
  • Be cautious if the seller has just washed the car – This is largely for the same reason as above, but some sellers will also wash the engine bay and underside of a vehicle to hide an issue (or anywhere a leak/issue may occur).
  • Get the seller to move their Volkswagen Golf R outside if it is in a garage or showroom– Lighting in places such as garages and showrooms can cover up issues that direct sunlight may have revealed.

Buying a Golf R Mk6 or Mk7 with Problems

Most of the information in this buyer’s guide does relate to finding the cleanest Golf R possible. However, there is really nothing wrong with buying a car with problems as long as you know what you are getting yourself into and how much it will cost to repair. You can use any problems you find to try and get a discount on the Golf R.

If you are looking at a Mk6 or Mk7 R with issues, it can be a good idea to call up a Volkswagen specialist or service centre to get a quote on how much it could cost to fix.

Where to Find a Volkswagen Golf R For Sale?

Apart from your usual classified/auction sites and dealers, we recommend that you check to see if there are any VW owners’ clubs in your area. The people in these sorts of clubs tend to be very knowledgeable about their cars and will usually look after them better. Somebody in the club may have a suitable Golf R for sale or may be able to put you in contact with another person who is looking to sell theirs. Here are a few examples of Volkswagen or Golf owners clubs:

VWROCArguably one of the biggest club for Volkswagen’s “R” badged cars and definitely worth checking out, especially for UK based buyers (as most users are from the UK).

Volkswagen Owners ClubClub dedicated to all Volkswagen cars with a fairly active user base.

These are just a couple of examples and we recommend that you check to see what clubs are in your local area.

How Much Should I Pay for a Golf R

The condition, mileage, specs, etc. will play a big factor in determining how much you need to pay for a Golf R. However, expect to pay a bit more for Mk7 Golf Rs than Mk6s, simply because they are a bit newer.

To work out roughly how much you need to spend to get a Mk6 or Mk7 Golf R, we recommend that you look for ones for sale in your local area/country. You can then use the prices for these cars to work out what you need to spend to get a suitable Golf R.

VIN Number

It is always a good idea to check the VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) or chassis number. The VIN can tell you quite a bit of information about a specific Volkswagen Golf R Mk6 or Mk7 and its specifications and possibly even history. VINs and chassis numbers usually consist of a series of characters and numbers and they are assigned by manufacturers to a vehicle at the factory.

There are quite a few different online VIN checkup/decoder services available (such as this one or if you are in the UK get an HPI check). These services can tell you quite a bit of information about the particular Golf R you are looking at and you may even be able to find out whether or not it has been stolen at some point (these cars are popular with thieves).

The VIN can also be checked on Volkswagen’s database which will tell you important information such as when it was last serviced (although this won’t be noted if the owner takes it to a non-official VW service centre or mechanic).

The VIN can be found in a number of different locations on a Volkswagen Golf R Mk6 or Mk7 including the following:

  • Inside the engine bay
  • Lower edge of the windscreen (when looking from outside)
  • On a sticker on the inside of the driver’s door shut
  • In the service book/logbook


Credit: Volkswagen

Maintenance really is the key when it comes to both of the engines in these cars. While you can argue that the Mk6 Golf R’s power unit is a bit more reliable, this can easily be negated if somebody hasn’t looked after the car properly.

To begin your inspection of the engine, move to the front of the Golf R and lift the bonnet/hood. Check that it opens smoothly and that the hinges and catch are in good condition. If they look like they have been replaced it could be indicative of a past accident.

Give the engine bay a good general look over, keeping an eye out for any of the following issues:

  • Cleanliness – A really dirty engine bay could be a sign of an owner who hasn’t cared for their Golf R very well. However, on the other hand a really clean engine bay could be a sign of somebody who is trying to cover something up like a big oil leak. Additionally, if the engine bay has been pressured washed water could have made its way into some of the critical components (electrical parts, etc.) if they were not correctly sealed/covered.
  • Obvious issues – This could be anything from an oil leak to broken or missing components (for example a damaged coolant expansion tank)
  • Modifications – A growing number of these Mk6 and Mk7 Golf Rs have been modified, so check for any upgrades/changes to the stock setup.

Inspecting the Fluids

Checking the fluids during an inspection is something that quite a lot of used car buyers overlook, but is something that we feel is very important. If the engine oil and other fluids have not been changed at or before their recommended service interval it can potentially lead to increased wear and possibly even total engine/component failure. Additionally, fluid levels that are too high or too low can lead to problems as well, so make sure they are at the correct height.

When checking the engine oil, be on the lookout for any metallic particles or grit as this could be a sign of a big problem such as failing bearings (especially if it is very noticeable). It can be a good idea to get the car’s engine oil analysed prior to purchase to make sure it is in good condition and there are no hidden surprises. However, this is really up to you and we probably wouldn’t go to those lengths.

While you are checking for metallic particles, make sure there is no foam or froth on the dipstick or in the engine oil. If there is it could be a sign of a number of different issues from condensation problems to an engine that has been overfilled with oil, and even more worryingly, a blown head gasket. A creamy emulsion on the oil cap is usually pretty normal if the car has been used for short trips in the winter, so don’t worry too much if you see something like that.

When Does the Oil Need Changing on a Mk6 or Mk7 Golf R?

Volkswagen recommends servicing the Mk6 Golf R every 16,000 km (10,000 miles) or so. This service should have included replacing the engine oil, oil filter, and doing some other checks and adjustments as well (rotating tyres, checking brake pads, etc.). Some owners feel that 16,000 km is a bit too long between oil changes, so they do it at half that distance (8,000 km/5,000 miles). This shows that they probably care quite a bit about their Golf R Mk6 which is a good thing in our eyes.

The Mk7 Golf R is a bit different with Volkswagen originally offering two service plans: long life and fixed. VW’s fixed plan for the Mk7 Golf R is a bit like the one for the Mk6, with oil and filter changes every 16,000 km (10,000 miles) or sooner. The long life change is up to 30,000 km (around 19,000) miles/every 24 months or if the service light comes on (the service centre should reset the service date). Quite a lot of enthusiasts seem to prefer the fixed plan, however, the long life plan is believed to be cheaper if you do big mileage.

You can check when the next service is expected on a Mk7 Golf R by hitting the car button, then selecting the cog icon and scrolling down to servicing. However, this only works properly if the service technician remembered to reset the service date. For this reason, we feel it is better to rely on the service history documentation.

If the Golf R you are looking at is well past the service interval without oil changes, etc., it suggests that the car has been poorly maintained. If the owner can’t be bothered or doesn’t want to shell out money for regular servicing, it doesn’t bode well for the rest of the Golf R.

Check with the owner to see if they know what oil has been used in their Golf R as Volkswagen has quite specific requirements. We believe it is 504/507 for Mk6 and 502/504 for Mk7 cars, however, it is worth double checking this as Volkswagen has been known to change standards for some model years. There should be a sticker in the engine bay that indicates what oil standard should be used and the owners manual will also tell you as well. If the oil that has been used in the car does not meet Volkswagen’s standards we would proceed with caution as it may indicate the owner has been a bit lacklustre with maintenance.

Oil Consumption

Neither the Mk6 Golf R nor the Mk7 should use too much oil over a distance of around 1,600 km (1,000 miles), but a top up will probably be needed in between oil changes (often around half a litre to a litre). Really good examples may not need any top ups at all, so there isn’t a hard rule for this. Oil burning/consumption seems to be slightly more of an issue on Mk6 Golf Rs, however, this may simply be due to the fact that they are older.

We suggest that you ask the owner how much oil their Mk6 or Mk7 Golf R uses. If it seems like a lot there could be some issues with the car. They probably won’t give you a completely honest answer if there is a problem, but it is always worth trying.

Common Engine Oil Leaks

Unlike some other cars, both the Mk6 and Mk7 Golf Rs aren’t known to have leaking issues (at the moment), so if you notice any dripping oil or puddles of oil underneath the car, alarm bells should be going off in your head. While oil leaks shouldn’t be too common, here are some ones that are more likely to occur:

  • Timing/valve cover gasket – Always one to watch out for on any internal combustion engined car, especially if it is older or higher in mileage. Not a massive problem and the gasket will need to be replaced at some point in the engine’s life. A tiny bit of seepage is nothing to really worry about (but use it to get a discount), however, a more significant leak should be sorted as soon as possible.
  • Oil pan – once again not a major problem to fix and can sometimes even be something simple like incorrectly tightened bolts for the pan. Have a good look at the area around the oil pan, paying particular attention to the bolts and the area around the gasket

Other leaks can occur as well. For example, the rear main seal can go if there are problems with the PCV system or some other issue.

Make sure you check for oil leaks both before and after a test drive. Look for puddles of oil underneath the car and if you inspect the Golf R at the seller’s house or place of business look for any oil stains. While the stains may be from another car, they could also be from the Mk6 or Mk7 Golf R you are looking at.

If you can’t determine the exact cause of the leak prior to purchase, we probably wouldn’t buy the car. A well maintained Golf R Mk6 or Mk7 shouldn’t leak oil, so it is probably worth moving onto another car if the one you are looking at is leaking.

PCV (Positive Crank Ventilation) Issues

The PCV system on both Mk6 and Mk7 Golf Rs can fail, especially if the car has been modified. If a PCV failure is not sorted it can lead to more significant issues such as a blown rear main seal. The main symptoms of PCV issues tend to be as follows:

  • Lumpy/rough idle (especially if other components such as the spark plugs have already been changed to try and fix the issue)
  • Leaks around the PCV breather hose (can be both the intake and valve cover side)
  • Boost leaks

You can do a bit of test of the PCV by doing the following:

  1. Try remove the oil cap with the engine running – the oil cap should be easy to remove
  2. Check how the engine is running – with the oil cap off the engine should start stumbling due to there being a vacuum leak. If the engine starts surging immediately it could have a PCV issue.
  3. Put some plastic/cling wrap or a post-it-note over the valve cover – If the item you are using gets blown off forcibly or sucked in, the car probably has a PCV issue. A normal functioning system should provide some light suction against the valve cover.

Some Mk6 and Mk7 owners delete the PCV system and fit an oil catch can from the likes of APR. However, fitting a catch can may lead to a whole different set of problems. In cold winter months the fluid inside can freeze, leading oil leaks, smoking and more. See an example of this on a Mk6 Golf R in the video below.

Timing Belt/Cambelt (Golf R Mk6)

If you are looking at a Mk6 VW Golf R, make sure that the timing belt has been replaced every 96,000 km (60,000 miles) or every 4 years. The EA113 engine inside the Golf R Mk6 is an interference engine, so if the belt breaks it can lead to some serious damage and a wallet that feels very much lighter. If the owner/seller or any previous owner has not kept up with this vital piece of servicing, you should be questioning where else they have cut corners. The belt should be replaced with the following components as well:

  • Water pump
  • Tensioner
  • Accessory drive belt
  • Upper and lower idler rollers
  • Camshaft seal

Some owners have found that the timing belt produces a little bit of a top-end rattle if it is near to needing to be replaced. However, we wouldn’t necessarily rely on this as the sound could be coming from somewhere else as well.

Timing Chain (Golf R Mk7)

Unlike the Mk6, the Golf R Mk7’s EA888 engine uses a timing belt instead of a chain, so there is no need to worry about changing it at a specified interval.

It is well documented that a lot of early EA888 engines suffered from timing chain tensioner issues, but luckily by the time the Mk7 Golf R rolled around these were largely fixed. However, it is still worth checking to make sure if the car you are looking at has any timing chain or tensioner issues.

While it is often claimed that the chain will last the lifetime of the engine, in reality this is often not the case and a timing chain and/or tensioner replacement may be needed at some point. If the timing chain has gone bad you may find that the Golf R displays the following symptoms:

  • Rattling sound (especially if it is very loud) –The timing chain is located on the left side of the engine on the EA888 in the Golf R Mk7, so pay particular attention to that area. This is probably going to be the main symptom to watch out for.
  • Check Engine Light (CEL) – Can illuminate due to a vast array of different faults, including problems with the timing system.
  • Metal shavings in the oil – More likely due to other things, but can also be a sign of timing chain wear.
  • Engine runs poorly/misfires – This can happen if the timing chain has stretched, but once again there are a number of other faults that are more likely to cause this issue.

We wouldn’t worry too much about the timing chain and tensioner on a Golf R Mk7 at the moment (although some owners have reported issues), but these components may become more of an issue as these cars age and rack up higher mileages.

Cam Follower/Fuel Pump Tappet (Golf R Mk6)

Volkswagen doesn’t state that the cam follower/fuel pump tappet needs replacing at a specified mileage, but many enthusiasts recommend that you do. If you can see that the part has been replaced it is a sign that the owner knows a thing or two about preventative maintenance on Mk6 Golf Rs.

Failure of the cam, cam follower/fuel pump tappet can lead to some pretty big problems (high pressure fuel pump failure). If the problem is really bad the camshaft can pop through the follower and go into the fuel pimp Here are some symptoms that may indicate the Golf R Mk6 you are looking at has problems with this component:

  • Stalling
  • Rough or irregular running
  • Increase in engine noise
  • Performance reduction
  • Check Engine Light (CEL)
  • Metal shavings in the engine oil due to component failure

The cam follower/fuel pump tappet was (and still is) a very common wear item on Mk5 Golf GTis and other cars equipped with 2.0 FSi and TFSi engines. You can learn more on our MK5 Golf GTI buyer’s guide. It doesn’t seem to be as much of an issue on Golf R Mk6s, but it is still worth checking to see if this part has been replaced (especially if the car is getting up there in mileage). If the cam follower hasn’t been replaced, it is a good idea to do so if you do plan on purchasing the car.

Cooling System

Credit: Volkswagen

A correctly functioning cooling system is vital for the health of a car’s engine, so check for the following:

Water Pump

If you are looking at a Mk6 Golf R, make sure that the water pump has been replaced with every timing belt change at around 96,000 km (60,000 miles) or every 4 years. There is no specified interval for the Mk7, but some owners recommend changing the pump at around the same mileage as the Mk6 (if it lasts that long). The water pump on both Mk6 and Mk7 Golf Rs (particular the Mk7) isn’t known to be the strongest and some owners have found that they have had to replace it as soon as 32,000 km (20,000 miles). The main symptoms of pump failure tend to be as follows:

  • Coolant leaks – could be a slow or fast leak
  • Whining and/or chuffing sounds
  • Overheating – make sure you go out for a reasonably long test drive as sometimes a bad water pump will be fine for short distance trips.
  • Steam or smoke – this tends to originate from under the bonnet/hood. If the Golf R is already at this stage it is best to walk away

You can also test the water pump by turning the heater on as high as possible. The heater core requires the water pump to operate as fluid needs to be forced through the system. When you first turn the heater onto full heat, you will get a blast of hot air. However, if there is a problem with the water pump the heat will gradually reduce as more hot fluid is not being cycled through the system.

The water pump on later Mk7 Golf Rs should still be covered under warranty (5 year/96,600 km/60,000 miles), however, these warranties will expire over the coming years.

Other Heater Related Issues

Along with water pump issues, no warm air from the heater could also be a sign that the heater core, HVAC control flaps or some other component has failed. The Silica bag that is located inside the coolant expansion tank can also rupture, leading to a blocked heater matrix. This often happens if the car’s engine overheats due to a failed water pump or some other issue with the cooling system.


The thermostat is known to be another problem area, especially on Mk7 Golf Rs (essentially part of the water pump with the part being called the coolant module). Most owners report that it is actually the thermostat housing that fails and starts leaking, but the thermostat itself can cause issues as well. Here are some of the main things to watch out for:

  • Temperature gauge sits on the cooler side and/or behaves erratically – if the temperature gauge is on the warmer end, it is more likely that the Golf R is overheating
  • Coolant leaks – If the thermostat housing/coolant module has failed you may find that it starts to leak coolant

The thermostat can often fail along with the water pump, so you may need to replace both components (will almost certainly need to replace the entire coolant module on Mk7s). Just like with the water pump, thermostat failure can occur at surprisingly low mileages (40,000 km/25,000 miles) and a number of owners have had to get the component replaced under warranty (particularly Mk7 owners).

You can test the thermostat by taking it out and seeing if it opens in boiling water, but this is obviously something you aren’t going to do unless you own the car. While the thermostat itself isn’t too expensive to replace, we would also be worried about a failing or failed water pump as well.

Bubbles in the Coolant

If you notice bubbles in the expansion tank (back left on both cars), it is a sign that air has made its way into the cooling system. The most likely cause of this issue is a bad bleed, faulty cap on the expansion tank, fan issues, thermostat problem and possibly even a faulty temp sensor. Other possible and more worrying causes of this issue could be a leak somewhere in the system, a blown head gasket and/or a cracked head.

Bubbles in the coolant will impact the performance of the cooling system, especially if they remain for the entirety of a test drive. If you notice the bubbles in conjunction with any other weird behaviour from the cooling system we would be very cautious.

Coolant Leaks

We have touched on this briefly in the topics above, but make sure you do a thorough check for any coolant leaks. Check around the expansion tank on both Golf R Mk6 and Mk7 cars, and try to check as many of the coolant lines as you can get a look at. The main thing to watch out for is any current coolant leaks or crusted coolant which may indicate a past leak. Do a sniff test as well as if you notice the sweet aroma of coolant the Golf R you are looking at probably has a leak somewhere in the system.

It is usually a good idea to check for coolant leaks both before and after a test drive, and don’t forget to check the coolant level as well. After a test drive, switch the Golf R off and let it sit for around 10 to 15 minutes. Following this, recheck for any coolant leaks and watch out for that sweet smell of coolant as well.

Volkswagen states that the coolant is a lifetime fill for both the Mk6 and Mk7 Golf Rs, but quite a lot of service centres and specialists recommend replacing it every 96,000 km (60,000 miles). If the Golf R you are looking at hasn’t had the coolant replaced we wouldn’t let that stop you purchasing the car. However, if it has had the coolant changed it probably shows that the owner or a previous owner has cared for the car quite a bit.

Head Gasket Failure

We haven’t heard of too many Mk6 or Mk7 Golf Rs that have succumbed to head gasket failure, but it is still important to know the symptoms of the problem. Head gasket failure may also become more of a problem on these cars as they age and get into the hands of people who can’t or won’t maintain them properly. Here are some of the signs of head gasket failure:

  • Overheating
  • Bubbles in the radiator or coolant expansion tank
  • White and milky oil
  • Spark plugs that are fouled (if you or probably a mechanic can get a look at them)
  • Low cooling system integrity
  • Smell of coolant from the oil
  • Sweet smelling exhaust
  • White smoke from the exhaust pipe (especially if you see lots of it)
  • Steam from the front of the Golf R Mk6 or Mk7

Head gasket failure can be more of an issue on Golf Rs running more power/boost, so keep that in mind if you are looking at a modified example.


Credit: Volkswagen

Check as much of the exhaust system as you can. You really shouldn’t find any issues here, but look for any damage, modifications, corrosion, etc. Unlike some other cars, the exhaust on a Golf R Mk6 or Mk7 shouldn’t really have any issues with rust. However, you may notice some surface corrosion and sometimes the clamps and mounting hardware can rust (especially in countries like the UK where they salt the roads).

Apart from that keep an ear out for any low rumbling, rattling or scraping noises that could indicate a problem with the exhaust system. Additionally, watch out for any ticking noises as these sorts of sounds are often a sign of a leak (especially if they change with the engine speed).

Catalytic Converter Issues:

The Cats can fail and are expensive to replace, so keep an eye out for the following:

  • Smell of sulphur or rotten eggs from the exhaust
  • Reduced acceleration and sluggish engine performance
  • Excessive heat under the Golf R Mk6 or Mk7
  • Dark smoke from the car’s exhaust
  • CEL (Check Engine Light)

Be cautious of cars fitted with a decat system as this will almost certainly lead to a failure in any emissions test and the car may not be road legal. However, not all countries have this requirement, so check what laws are in place in your local area.

Aftermarket Exhausts

There are a number of aftermarket exhausts available for both the Mk6 and Mk7 VW Golf R from the likes of Miltek, Borla, etc. If the car you are looking at is fitted with an aftermarket exhaust, note down the brand/manufacturer and check any reviews.

Some owners like to do a resonator delete, however, this is quieter compared to a catback system. Additionally, some people don’t like how the car sounds after a resonator delete. In the video below you can see one owner’s thoughts on the modification and some before and after sound tests. \

Bad Motor Mounts

We wouldn’t expect the motor mounts to be too much of an issue on these cars, especially newer Mk7 Golf R models. However, eventually the motor mounts will need to be replaced at some point so check for the following:

  • Engine movement – Rev the engine and see if it moves excessively. Also check how the engine is at idle
  • Excessive vibrations/shaking – Often most noticeable at idle
  • Clunking, banging or other impact sounds – These sorts of noises could indicate that the engine is moving slightly due to a failed mount

Replacing the engine mounts shouldn’t be too expensive, so don’t worry too much if you notice an issue here (make sure you use it to get a discount though). However, keep in mind that some of the symptoms above (excessive engine vibration, etc.) could also be a sign of another issue such as intake issues, etc.

Some owners like to replace the original mounts with stiffer aftermarket ones (poly, etc.) that improve engine response. Unfortunately, sometimes these aftermarket mounts can make engine vibrations and noise in the cabin a bit worse.

Misfiring or Stuttering Due to Injector Failure (Particularly the Mk6)

FSI engines from around the Mk6 Golf R’s era are known to suffer from failed injectors, so watch out for misfiring, reduced fuel/gas mileage, rough running, and in more severe cases failure to start. Mk7 cars don’t seem to suffer from injector failure as much as Mk6 Golf Rs, however, owners have reported higher rates of failure on modified examples.

Depending on where you are in the world, the injectors can be quite expensive to source. Combine this with labour costs and this can be a pricey problem to fix (most of the time it shouldn’t take long to replace the injectors, but it does depend on the specialist/mechanic and what extra work they do).

What Is the Correct Idle Speed for a Mk6 or Mk7 VW Golf R?

Both cars should idle around the 800 rpm mark (+ or – 50 to 100 rpm or so). DSG equipped cars tend to idle a bit higher when in sport mode and all models will idle higher when the climate control/air con is turned on. There are a load of other things that can affect the idle speed as well, so we wouldn’t get too worked up over this.

However, if the idle speed is much higher, lower or fluctuates a lot it indicates there is a problem. This could be anything from something like a bad O2 sensor, clogged injectors, malfunctioning fuel pump, MAF issues (Mk7 doesn’t have a MAF), and more.

You are probably not going to be able to determine the exact cause of the issue during a short test drive and inspection, so assume the worst and hope for the best. If the idle issue was an easy fix, the seller probably would have got it sorted before putting their Volkswagen Golf R on the market.

Smoke From a Golf R Mk6 or Mk7

If you notice lots of smoke or steam from the Mk6 or Mk7 Golf R you are inspecting/test driving, it is probably best to simply walk away from the car. A good amount of smoke that continues usually indicates a serious problem and while it may be fixable, the car is almost certainly not worth your time or money (even if you can get it at a great price). A small amount of exhaust vapour on engine start is perfectly normal, especially if it is a cold day.

It can be a good idea to get the seller to start the vehicle for you for the first time. This way you can see what comes out the back during startup and if the seller revs the car hard you know it has probably not been treated well. Here are what the different colours of smoke indicate:

White smoke – A few white puffs is usually caused by condensation in the exhaust as we have already discussed. Lots of thick white/grey smoke from the exhaust of a indicates that water/coolant has made its way into the cylinders due to a blown/leaking head gasket. Give the exhaust a good whiff and if it smells sweet, it is probably coolant. If the smoke is very thick and doesn’t dissipate quickly it could be sign that the block or cylinder head is cracked/broken. If the smoke doesn’t smell like coolant it is probably a turbo failure rather than a head gasket issue.

Blue/Greyish smoke – This colour smoke could be caused by a whole range of things including warn pistons rings, valve stem seals, turbo issues and more. To test for this colour smoke during a drive, get somebody to follow you while you are driving the VW Golf R. Take the engine through its rev range and see what comes out the back. If you don’t have a helper, get the owner to drive for a bit while you look out the back (good chance to see how they drive as well).

Black smoke – This sort of smoke is usually a sign that the engine is running too rich and burning too much fuel. There are quite a few things that could be causing this issue from something like dirty intake components to incorrect spark timing, problems with the injectors, and more. If the exhaust smells of fuel, the engine is almost certainly running too rich.

It is quite common for modified Mk6 or Mk7 Golf Rs to produce a few puffs of black smoke when under load, etc. This is usually because they are running a bit richer and/or the mapping isn’t quite correct.

Some owners have reported smoking issues under hard cornering or braking (usually during track days). This is often caused by a surge of oil being sucked into the inlet side of the turbo due to the aggressive movements. Not a problem for regular driving, but something to keep in mind if you plan to track the Golf R.

Signs of Turbo Failure

Credit: Volkswagen

The K04 and IS38 turbochargers fitted to the Mk6 and Mk7 Golf Rs can and will eventually fail. The IS38 on the Mk7 Golf R seems to fail at a higher rate than the K04 on the Mk6, even with stock tunes. Below we have listed some of the signs of turbo failure on both Mk6 and Mk7 Golf Rs:

  • Slow acceleration – This is probably going to be one of the most notable signs, especially if you have driven a few different Golf Rs before. However, remember that tune GT-Rs will feel different to stock ones.
  • Strange rumbling, whistling or high-pitched metallic sounds – when the turbocharger is at full boost (drive at a slow speed and then accelerate moderately up to high rpms). Whistling noises could also be a sign of a loose pipe.
  • Distinctive blue or grey/whitish smoke – This happens when turbocharger’s housing cracks or if the internal seals become worn. The smoke will become more apparent when the turbocharger is in use, so get somebody to follow you and check while you are test driving a Golf R Mk6 or Mk7. Keep in mind that white smoke can also be a sign of a head gasket failure, so try to get a whiff of what is coming out the back.
  • Burning lots of oil – It will be hard to get an accurate picture of this during a test drive, but try to glean some information from the owner. Some oil consumption is to be expected as we have already discussed earlier in this guide, but a lot indicates a problem.
  • If the boost pressure comes on late – depending on whether or not the car is stock or modified, boost pressure may come on earlier or later along with peak boost. However, if there seems to be a big delay it could be a sign that the Golf R you are looking at has a blown turbo charger.

Turbo Issues with Tuned Mk7 Golf Rs

According to Rick@UnicornMotorDev on, certain batches of IS38 turbos fitted to the Mk7 Golf R seem to have not been balanced correctly. This unbalance leads to the compressor wheel moving off centre slightly. On normal turbochargers this doesn’t tend to be a problem, however, the IS38’s compressor wheel hits a Teflon insert and can ultimately break. Alternatively, the unbalance can also undo the retaining nut and lead to even more damage.

Early Golf R Mk7s seem to experience the highest number of failures, but it can occur on all years. If you plan on tuning your Golf R it is recommended that you get the turbo checked over for balance. We also recommend that you check with the seller to see if this has been done if you are looking at a modified Mk7 Golf R. You can read more about it here.

Engine Rebuilds and Replacements

There is absolutely nothing wrong with an engine rebuild or replacement as long as the work was done by a component Golf R/VW specialist or mechanic. Try to find out who did the work and check any reviews you can find. If the feedback is poor, we would probably pass on the vehicle.

If the rebuild or replacement was a home job, we would probably be a bit more cautious. While there are plenty of very competent home mechanics out there, there are also a load with more ambition than skill. You don’t want to purchase somebody else’s unfinished project (unless you want to).

We recommend that you try to find out the cause of the rebuild or engine replacement. Was it a factory issue with the engine? Did the head gasket blow or the timing belt break? Any other reasons? If the engine failure and resultant rebuild/replacement was due to a lack of maintenance you should be thinking what other corners have been cut with the car’s servicing.

It is usually best to avoid fresh rebuilds or engine swaps with only a few hundred miles on them. For example, a Golf R Mk6 or Mk7 with 10,000 km (6,200 miles) on a rebuild or replacement is going to be a much safer bet than one with only a tenth of the mileage.

Should I Get a Compression Test Done Before Purchase?

While a compression test isn’t completely necessary, it can help you determine the health of a particular Golf R’s engine. If you are taking the car to a mechanic or specialist prior to purchase, you may as well get a test done while you are at it.

Some owners will get a compression test done before sale and put the results in the advertisement. The most important thing with the results is to make sure that they are all roughly the same (within around 10% of each other).


Credit: Volkswagen

Both the Mk6 and Mk7 Golf R were available with either a six-speed DSG gearbox or a six-speed manual. Mk7 cars were also available with a seven-speed DSG from 2017 onwards that reduced revs by about 800 rpm in top gear and made the ‘Sport’ mode more usable in a wider variety of driving situations. The DSG was the most popular choice with buyers of both generations, so we are going to look at that first.

DSG Transmission

A failure with the DSG system can be extremely expensive to fix, so make sure the transmission has been serviced (oil and filter) every 65,000 km (40,000 miles). The DSG service is part of a bigger service which includes the following:

  • 65,000 km (40,000 mile) DSG service
  • Oil change
  • Oil filter
  • Airbox filter
  • Spark plugs
  • Fuel filter
  • Cabin filter

If the Golf R is driven enthusiastically and/or running stage 1 modifications, it is often recommend that the DSG service be done at around 50,000 km (31,000 miles). With a stage 2 or higher tune many recommend going even further with fluid changes at half this distance.

Make sure you test the transmission as thoroughly as possible during your inspection/drive. If you notice that the Golf R lurches, jumps or surges at low speed (especially up inclines) it suggests that the Mechatronic ECU has failed. Volkswagen charges an arm and a leg for this part along with its replacement. Doing a DIY replacement does bring down the replacement cost significantly, however, not everyone will be keen (or should) do this. During a drive of a DSG equipped Golf R we recommend that you carry out the following tests:

  1. Put the car in reverse and turn the steering wheel lock to lock – listen out for any clunks, thuds, etc.
  2. Take your foot off the brake and see if the car starts rolling back on its own (like with an automatic transmission – if it jerks, shudders or lurches there is an issue
  3. With the R32 rolling back, tap the brakes and change from reverse to drive – once again check for any clunks, shudders, etc.
  4. Do the same as the first step but with the car in drive –
  5. When the car is warm, roll to a stop and see how the transmission acts – if it bucks or jerks trying to stop there is an issue
  6. Check how the transmission shifts under high rpms – watch out for any strange noises or whines, especially from the passenger side

We can’t stress it enough that DSG problems with both Mk6 and Mk7 Golf Rs can be eye wateringly expensive to fix. If the DSG transmission hasn’t received regular services we would probably walk away from the car, but ultimately it is up to you whether the risk is worth it. If you are buying from a dealer we would recommend that you try and get a warranty that includes the DSG transmission as this can be a life saver if something goes wrong. For those buying privately you may still be able to get a warranty but this does depend on where you live in the world (you will have to check what is available in your local area).

The Mk7 Golf R DSG transmission options are said to be slightly more reliable than the Mk6 gearbox. However, some slight harshness when cold is a possibility, but this should soon go away as the transmission warms.

Clutch Pack Failure

Clunking, juddering and other transmission problems can also be a sign of a problem with the clutch packs for the DSG transmission. Clutch slip is one of the most common signs of problems with the DSG clutch packs, so check to see if the revs jump really quickly without a corresponding increase in speed. Replacing the clutch packs is extremely expensive on Mk6 and Mk7 Golf Rs. However they should easily last 200,000 km (124,000 miles) and more as long as the car is not running excessive power and torque.

If the Golf R is running stage 2 modifications and the DSG system hasn’t been tuned the clutch will probably slip due to the increased levels of power and torque. Not a massive problem, but the DSG system needs to be tuned as soon as possible (we would also question why a tune wasn’t done in the first place).

DSG Tune

DSG tunes are available through some specialists. This can often help reduce or stop lurching, hesitation or jerkiness when driving. However, we wouldn’t purchase a Mk6 or Mk7 Golf R with DSG problems on the hope that a tune will fix them.

It is often recommended to get the DSG transmission tuned if stage 2 or higher modifications have been installed. A tune will give the clutches more clamping power and the overall system will be more reliable.

Manual Transmission

There really aren’t any specific Golf R related issues to watch out for when it comes to both the Mk6 and Mk7 cars. However, the standard manual gearbox issues apply here so keep an eye out for the problems we talk about below.

Any grinding/notchiness from both upshifting and downshifting could be a sign of synchro wear, especially if the car has been owned by somebody who likes to give it a good thrashing. Alternatively, this can sometimes also be caused by something like low clutch fluid, faulty hydraulics and more. Third seems to be the biggest problem gear when it comes to binding/grinding, but some owners find first and second can cause problems as well. Some owners have found that a fluid change helps with curing a notchy transmission on these cars.

The transmission on both Mk6 and Mk7 cars will be a bit stiffer when cold, but should loosen up as the car warms. However, shifts should not be overly loose or sloppy as if they are the shifter bushings/linkage could be a bit worn.

We recommend that you try shifts at both low and high engine speeds to make sure everything is working as intended. Additionally, see if any of the gears pop out of gear during acceleration and/or cornering (particularly second and third). While this doesn’t seem to be a common problem, some owners have reported that it has happened to their Golf R. This could be caused by a range of different issues from user error (not properly getting into gear), a bent shift fork and more.

Volkswagen claims that it is a sealed for life unit, but most owners and specialists know that is rubbish and recommend that you check the transmission oil every second service (32,000 km / 20,000 miles). Manual transmission oil changes are often recommended every 65,000 km (40,000 miles) or every 4 years but not required.


The life of a clutch with largely depend on how much power the Golf R is running, how it has been driven, what clutch it is (standard, aftermarket, etc.) and more. For example, a Golf R that has been repeatedly thrashed and is running stage 3 modifications will more than likely need a new clutch before a car that has been driven relatively lightly (all things being equal). Here are some tests you can do to make sure the clutch is working correctly:

Clutch Engagement – The first step is to make sure the engagement is good. To do this put the Golf R Mk6 or Mk7 you are inspecting into gear on a level surface and let the clutch out slowly. It should engage around 7 to 10 cm (2.5 to 4 inches) from the floor. Engagement that is early or too late indicates a problem.

Clutch Slippage – The best way to test for this problem is to shift into a gear that is too high for the speed you are going. You should notice that the engine bogs down a bit (don’t do this on a regular basis). The next thing to do is to accelerate. If you notice that the tachometer goes up out of relation to the speedometer and/or you notice jerkiness it suggests that the clutch is slipping.

Clutch Drag – Get the Volkswagen Golf on a flat surface and press the clutch pedal to the floor (do this while you are stationary). Rev the car hard (once it is warm) and see If it moves. If the car does move, the clutch is not disengaging when you shift and parts will wear prematurely.

Clutch Shudder – This is usually noticeable when you accelerate from a stop. A small amount is perfectly normal, but an excessive amount is a sign that the release bearings need to be lubricated.

The clutch on Mk7 Golf Rs is known to be very weak when compared to the Mk6 and premature failure is a common problem. Replacing the clutch can be quite expensive, so keep this in mind if you are dead set on a Mk7.


Make sure that the Haldex system’s oil filter and oil have been changed at 65,000 km (40,000 miles) along with the DSG service. For those looking at a Mk7 Golf R, Volkswagen changed the Haldex service interval to every three years regardless of mileage.

The main things that can fail with the Haldex system are the pump and controller. You are not really going to be able to tell if there is a problem unless you take the car to Volkswagen or a specialist. However, if you do notice lots of wheelspin it indicates a problem, so watch out for that (if the seller lets you get any).

Body and Exterior

Body and paint issues can be very expensive to put right, so keep an eye out for the following problems.

Accident Damage

Here are some things that may indicate the VW Golf R Mk6 or Mk7 you are looking at has been in an accident at some point:

  • Misaligned panels or large panel gaps – Modern Volkswagen’s have very good panel gaps, so a problem here is a good sign of an accident. Have a good look around the bonnet/hood and make sure everything lines up correctly. Check the panel gaps around the doors, bumper and boot/trunk. If the panel gaps on one side look quite different to the other side, it could be a sign that the Golf R has been in an accident.
  • Doors that drop or don’t close properly – Check that all of the doors open and close properly, and that they don’t drop when opened. If you do find an issue here it could be a sign the VW Golf R has been in an accident.
  • Inconsistencies such as waving, rippling or different coloured panels – Indicates a respray which may have been conducted as a result of accident damage or rust. VW’s quality control when it comes to paint was exceptional for Mk6 cars so we wouldn’t expect this to be a factory issue. On the other hand, many Mk7 Golf Rs unfortunately came with paint defects from the factory. This led to many of them getting paint resprays and touch ups that can be confused with accident repairs.
  • If the bonnet/hood looks like it is popped when it is not – could be a sign of a bit of a front end crash.
  • Damage to the mounting supports for the headlights or surrounds of the taillights – This can be very difficult to fix on any car and is a good place to check for any accident damage.
  • Bent or broken parts underneath the car – Look at all the different suspension, steering, brake and wheel components for damage. If you find that the parts on one side of the Golf R are different/much newer than the other it could be a sign of an accident.
  • Rust in strange locations – Can be a sign of accident damage
  • Paint runs or overspray – Very unlikely to be a factory issue, so likely a result of a respray job.
  • Missing badges or trim – Could be due to repair work (body shop couldn’t find replacements) or a number of other things (stolen, etc.).

We would expect to find a higher percentage of Mk6 Golf Rs with accident damage and repairs as they are older. Still, do a thorough check over for the above on any Golf R you go to look at.

A lot of sellers will try and cover up the fact that their car has been in an accident or try to downplay the severity of the incident. In some cases, you may come across somebody who claims their car hasn’t been in an accident when it clearly has.

While accident damage and repairs are always something you should be concerned about, we wouldn’t necessarily walk away from a Golf R that has been in a bit of a crash. Light to moderate damage repaired by a skilled panel beater/body shop is usually fine, but remember to use it to get a discount.

If the owner can’t tell you much about the accident/damage it may have happened when a previous person owned the vehicle.


Credit: Volkswagen

Interestingly, why you would expect rust to be a bit of a non-issue on these cars, more than a few owners have reported corrosion problems in a few different areas. While the rust problems don’t seem too bad at the moment, we do expect more issues to pop up as these cars age (nothing like older cars however). Rust can occur pretty much anywhere on the body, however, we would pay particular attention to the following areas:

  • Wheel arches/wells and front wings – rear arches and wheel wells are always a place to check for rust on these cars as dirt can get behind the liners. The front wing/arches also succumb to this problem, with some owners reporting that the front is worse than the rear. It is often recommended that you periodically remove the liners and clean behind them to lower the chance of rust formation. Like the Mk5 Golf, the Mk6 and Mk7 cars have foam block behind the inner wing. Luckily, it is made from a more porous material that doesn’t seem to hold water like the one on the early car, so at there is no need to remove it to prevent rust.
  • Sills – pay particular attention to where the sills meet the wheel arches. Check the underside of the sills as well
  • Behind the door seals – definitely check here if you notice that the carpet is damp due to a leak
  • Bumper/crash bar (Mk7) – this is something that you probably won’t be able to check without getting the bumper off, but quite a few owners have found rust here. Some owners recommend applying some corrosion protection to the bar as the original coating is pretty poor.
  • Hatch/boot under the badge
  • Under the door handles (Mk6) – Can affect all doors

The Mk6 Golf came with a 10 year rust warranty while the Mk7 came with a 12 year one. We are not sure if Volkswagen offered this guarantee in all markets so it may be worth checking with your local dealer to see what sort of warranty protection the car came with (if it has not expired already).

If you do notice any rust it may be a good idea to take some photos and check with a competent body shop/panel beater or with Volkswagen to find out roughly how much the problem will cost to fix.

Factors That Can Make Rust More Likely on a VW Golf R

  • Mk6 or Mk7 Golf R has spent time in countries or areas with salted roads (UK, Parts of North America, etc.)
  • The Golf R has spent time in countries or areas with very harsh winters
  • Vehicle is often parked/stored by the sea for significant periods of time
  • Always kept outside (never garaged)
  • Accident damage (stone chips or more significant damage)
  • Rubbing body parts
  • Old or no underseal

Some people like to rust proof the underside of their Golf R, especially if they live in an area with salted roads/harsh winters. However, it is important to keep in mind that this can void the car’s warranty depending on what was done. Most VW dealers/service centres seem to offer a rust protection service which obviously doesn’t affect the warranty.

We also recommend that you ask the seller/owner if regular washes of the underbody have been carried out during winter if you live in a country with salted roads. This can go a long way to prevent rust formation and if they have done it, it shows that they probably care quite a bit about preventative maintenance.

Looking for Rust Repairs on a Golf R Mk6 or Mk7

It is not only important to look for present rust, but you should also keep an eye out for signs of past rust repair (mismatched paint, paint overspray etc.). Watch out for any areas that may have been resprayed or cut out and replaced. You should also check the service history and with the owner (however, don’t trust what the owner says completely as they may be trying to hide something from you).

Use a magnet on steel sections of the car (cover it with a cloth so you don’t damage the paintwork and keep in mind that some parts are aluminium) or a coating gauge thickness tool such as this one to find any areas that may have been repaired.

Check for Water/Condensation in the Lights (Mk7)

Have a good look for any water/condensation in the headlights and taillights on both Mk7 and facelifted Mk7.5 Golf R cars. This is fairly normal during cold, wet or humid weather and is largely down to the fact that the lights are not actually sealed. If you notice the problem when it is not cold, wet or humid it is more of an issue and we would be wondering why that is occurring.

Suspension and Steering

Credit: Volkswagen

There isn’t really anything specific to watch out for here on both the Mk6 and Mk7 Golf Rs, apart from the usual suspension and steering related wear/failure issues. If the car is getting up there in terms of mileage, we would expect to have to replace some of the suspension and steering components in the near future, unless they have already been changed. Here is a bit of a checklist of what to look for when checking the suspension and steering components:

  • Dipping and swerving when the brakes are applied
  • Excessive Rear-end squat during acceleration
  • Tipping/looseness when cornering
  • High speed instability
  • Excessive vibration coming through the steering wheel – could be the strut rod bushings, bad alignment or maybe even bad ball joints
  • Delayed or longer stopping distances
  • Uneven tyre wear
  • Excessive bounce after hitting a bump or when pushing down on the suspension
  • Leaking fluid on the exterior of the shock/strut
  • Sagging or uneven suspension
  • Knocking, clunking, rattling or creaking sounds during a test drive
  • Clicking sounds (especially at full lock) – CV joint, bad wheel bearing, etc.

Visually inspect as many of the suspension and steering components as possible. Watch out for any leaks, damage, or modifications. Make sure the suspension is the same on each side. For example, if the components on the right front side are much newer/different than the left front side it could indicate the Golf R has been in an accident.

Remember to Check the Wheel Alignment

Don’t forget to check the wheel alignment on a nice straight and flat section of road. If the wheel alignment is bad it can lead to excessive/uneven tyre wear (costing you more money) and can even lead to a less safe and enjoyable driving experience. Bad wheel alignment can also be a sign of a careless owner as they really should have got it sorted before putting their Golf R Mk6 or Mk7 on the market.

Most of the time a simple realignment is all that is needed, however, in some cases bad wheel alignment can be a sign of serious suspension/steering issues or even accident damage.

Wheels and Tyres

Check the wheels for any curb damage, scuffs, etc. A very small amount of curb damage is to be expected, especially as these cars age, but any more than that suggests the owner or a previous owner has been a bit of a careless driver. Repairing rim damage can be expensive and in really bad cases it may be better just to look for a new set of rims.

Volkswagen fitted both the Golf R Mk6 and Mk7 with 18-inch rims as standard, but 19-inch ones were also available. There is some discussion on whether or not the smaller or bigger rim size is better for handling, however, most will agree that the 19-inch wheels have a slightly harsher ride. The video below has a very good in-depth guide on the differences between 17, 18, and 19-inch rims, so we suggest you check it out.

The 19-inch wheels are pretty prone to buckling/damage when going over potholes or over rough roads. A lot of the damage can happen on the inside of the rim which is hard to see during an inspection. If you do purchase a Golf R it can be a good idea to remove the wheels and check for damage as soon as possible after purchase. The 18-inch rims are far less prone to damage but it can still occur.

Lots of owners have fitted aftermarket rims to their Golf Rs but it is a good idea to see if they still have the originals. Owning the original rims will only add value to the Mk6 or Mk7 Golf R if you decide to sell it in the future.

When it comes to the tyres check for the following:

  • Amount of tread – If there is minimal tread left try to get a discount as you will need to get the tyres replaced in the near future.
  • Uneven wear – Wear should be even between the right and left tyres on the VW Golf R. Additionally, make sure wear is even across the tyre itself.
  • Brand – They should be from a good or well-reviewed brand – if they are from a poorly reviewed brand it suggests that the owner has cheaped out on maintenance.
  • Same tyre – in terms of tyre make, type and tread pattern on each axle (preferably on all four wheels) – mismatched tyres can lead to poor handling performance and may even be dangerous.


Credit: Volkswagen

Like the suspension and steering components there are no ‘Golf R’ specific issues you really need to worry about. Some owners switching from a Mk5 Golf R32 to a Mk6 Golf R find that the brakes aren’t quite as sharp. This is thought to be due to the older car’s brakes being slightly over-servoed, rather than anything to do with raw stopping power.

Brake components can be expensive to replace on both Mk6 and Mk7 Golf Rs, so check the condition of the pads, discs and calipers. If anything looks like it needs to be replaced factor that into the overall price if you are still keen on purchasing the car.

During a test drive make sure the brakes do not feel weak or spongy. Additionally, make sure the car brakes straight and remember to test the brakes under both light and hard braking conditions. Do some repeated high to low-speed runs, and listen out for any rumbling, squealing or clunking sounds when the brakes are in use.

A shuddering or shaking feeling through the steering wheel and/or pedal when the brakes are in use is usually a sign of a warped disc. This often becomes first apparent under high speed braking. Golf Rs that are regularly tracked are more likely to experience this problem, but it can happen to any car.

Make sure the handbrake works as intended and see how it performs on a steep incline (if you can find one).

Seized calipers can occur, so watch out for the following:

  • Golf R pulls to one side (may even happen when the brakes are not in use)
  • Car feels low on power as if the parking/handbrake is on (could also be a sign of diff issues)
  • Brakes get extremely hot and produce a distinctive acrid smell and in some cases smoke
  • You find that the Mk6 or Mk7 Golf Rdoesn’t want to move at all
  • Loud thud-like noise when pulling away for the first time


Credit: Volkswagen

If you are looking at a Mk7 car, the MIB2 infotainment/head unit system was introduced from 22 May 2015 for 2016 model year Golf Rs. The advantage of MIB2 over MIB1 is that it could come with Android Auto or Apple CarPlay. If the buyer didn’t spec these options at launch, some MIB2 units can have them added retroactively. MIB1 units cannot have Android Auto or Apple CarPlay added at all. MIB1 to MIB2 conversions are available but aren’t for the feint hearted. If you do want to do a conversion you should definitely check out George Ab’s excellent guide here.

If you want to determine whether or not the Golf R you are looking at has an MIB2 unit or not there are a couple of things you can do:

  1. Look for a “Voice” button – However, not all MIB2 units have this button and instead came with a “Mute” button (MIB2 units with the mute button cannot be upgraded to work with CarPlay/Android Auto).
  2. Measure the diagonal distance of the screen – standard MIB1 units came with a 5.8-inch display whereas MIB2 units came with a 6.5-inch screen. Both Pro MIB1 and MIB2 units came with an 8-inch display, so you will have to use the “Voice” button to double check as MIB2 pro units came standard with CarPlay/Android Auto.
  3. Go into the menu and look for app connect – If Android Auto/CarPlay have been activated it should show.

On both Mk6 and Mk7 cars have a good play around with the infotainment system as a problem here could be expensive to fix. Make sure the climate control/air con works and if it doesn’t don’t let the seller convince you it just needs a re-gas as it could be a more serious problem such as a compressor issue.

The auto function for the front windows (both passenger and driver) can play up on Mk7 Golf Rs, usually resulting in about 1cm of window sticking up above the door when it should be all the way down. A reset of the system should fix the issue, but there is no guarantee it will.

To reset the windows, you can try and hold the up switch with the windows up for a second or two. Once you have done this then wind down the windows and hold the down position for a second or two. This should let the system relearn the stop positions. There are some other reset methods as well such as opening the windows separately and then pressing and holding the lock button on the keyring until the windows close.

Another, more serious window fault with the Mk7 is where the windows open by themselves after you try to close them or just randomly open all together. This can then lead to the one touch window system not working at all. A reset may fix this issue, but it is more likely due to some sort of faulty sensor or possibly even a door lock issue and a trip to a service centre or dealer may be necessary.

Don’t forget to check the warning lights on the dash both during engine start-up and while the car is running. If no lights appear during start-up the seller may have disconnected them to hide an issue. Lastly, take along an OBDII scanner or take the car to a Volkswagen specialist or dealer to have the codes read as there may be a hidden issue. Watch out for sellers who have cleared codes without fixing or investigating the cause.

Apart from all that check that all of the other electronics and other parts work as intended. Check that the switches, knobs, etc. work as intended. Try all the doors and the locks and see if the gauges on the dials operate correctly. Some owners have reported that the horns on their cars have failed (particularly on Mk7 cars). The Mk7’s horn features a lower and a higher tone module and both are known to fail, leaving the owner with a rather expensive repair bill (not sure if the Mk6 is setup the same, but leave a comment down below if you know).

Heated Seats (Mk7)

If you want heated seats you may be better off looking for a facelifted Mk7.5 model (mid-2016 onwards) as they came as standard. Early Mk7s did not come with heated seats as standard and they are difficult and expensive to install if you want to upgrade to them. You can confirm the car has heated seats by looking for the button just under the head unit display.


Credit: Volkswagen

You shouldn’t find too many issues here, but many owners feel that the materials used in the Mk7 Golf R’s interior are slightly worse quality and less durable than those of the Mk6. Still, it really shouldn’t be much of a problem and this is more nit-picking than a serious issue.

Do a general check-over on all of the interior components for any rips, stains, tears or general damage. Leather can sag and crack with age and mileage, so make sure the material on the Golf R you are inspecting is in good condition. If the cracking isn’t too bad you may be able to get the leather material back to looking good with some repair compound. Pay particular attention to the seat bolsters for wear and make sure the seats have not collapsed. If the seats move during acceleration or braking it is incredibly dangerous and will be an MOT/WOF failure.

If you notice excessive amounts of wear on the seats, steering wheel, carpets, shifter and pedals for the mileage it may be a sign that the Mk6 or Mk7 Golf R has had a particularly hard life.

Make sure you check the cabin and boot/trunk for any leaks or dampness. Water can play havoc with the electronics if it gets in the wrong place, lead to rust formation and can cause nasty smells as well. Feel around the carpets and turn over the floor mats. If you see water residue on the bottom of the floor mats it could be a sign of a past of present leak.

Remember to have a look at the headlining above the driver’s seat. If it is a slightly different colour it may be a sign that the Golf R Mk6 or Mk7 you are inspecting has been owned by a smoker. A smell test will also help you determine whether or not this is the case as well.

General Car Buying Advice for a Mk6 or Mk7 Golf R

Credit: Volkswagen

How to Get the Best Deal on a VW Golf R

This information applies to both dealers and private sealers. Knowledge is power and it can save you a lot of money when purchasing a vehicle.

  1. Research heavily – Prior to starting your search for a Golf R, figure out what specs and condition you are happy with. Do you want a low mileage Mk7.5 or do you not mind an older Mk6 Golf R that has travelled a bit further.
  2. Shop around – It is always best to shop around a bit before you make a purchase. Volkswagen manufactured plenty Mk6 and Mk7 Golf Rs (more so of the latter), so don’t limit yourself to one seller, dealer, area or auction platform if possible.
  3. Go look at and test drive multiple Golf Rs if possible – It is a good idea to test drive as many cars as possible. This will help you determine what makes a good and what makes a bad Mk6 or Mk7 Golf R.
  4. Adjust your attitude – Never rush into a purchase. If you are desperate to buy a car you are more likely to get ripped off. Take your time when looking for a VW Golf R for sale and only go for promising looking cars (unless you are looking for a project vehicle).
  5. Use any issues with the car to your advantage – Take a mental note of any issues you find with the vehicle. When it comes to discussing the price, use these problems to try and drive down the price. For example, if the car needs new tyres or brake pads make a point of it and try to get the seller to reduce the price.
  6. Don’t trust the owner completely – While some owners/sellers are honest about their cars, many will lie to get a quick sale. Take in what the owner has to say but back it up with a thorough inspection.
  7. Go between sellers/dealers – If you are looking at multiple Golf Rs, let the owner/seller know. This way they will know that you have other options and they may try to undercut the price.
  8. Be prepared to walk away – If you are not happy with the deal, simply walk away. You may miss out on the car or the seller may get back to you with a better offer.

Mileage vs Condition 

Mileage vs condition is always a hot topic for debate, but we feel that it is always better to buy on condition and then on mileage. Lots of owners make the mistake of believing that they are preserving their car by not driving it. In reality, this is completely false and not driving a vehicle can actually do more damage than good.

Short distance trips do not allow the engine to warm up properly, which can lead to increased component wear and reduced engine life.

Rubber seals and plastic parts will fail regardless of mileage and can even deteriorate quicker on cars that don’t get used often. Letting a car sit will not prevent rust or stop the electronics from failing.

Service History and Other Documentation

It is incredibly important to check any vehicle’s service history and any additional paperwork that goes along with it. While the servicing doesn’t need to be done at a dealer, it should be carried out by a competent Volkswagen specialist or mechanic (especially for major repair work). Home mechanic work is okay, but it is much harder to gauge the competence of a home mechanic than checking reviews for established businesses.

The service history will give you a good idea of how the Mk6 or Mk7 Golf R you are inspecting has been maintained. In addition to this, receipts and paperwork for modifications (if the car has any) can help you determine whether they have been done by an experienced tuner or a bad one.

If the owner can’t or won’t let you see the service history, you should probably pass on the vehicle. A complete service history will only add value to any vehicle your purchase and will make it easier to sell the car in the future.

Additionally, you can check websites such as CarFax (USA) and CarJam (NZ) for more information about the car you are thinking of purchasing. These sort of websites can be incredibly useful, but there is usually a cost associated with them.

Questions That You Should Ask the Seller/Owner 

  • How often do you drive the car?
  • When was the last service and who was it serviced by?
  • How much oil does it use?
  • What oil do you use in the car?
  • What parts have been replaced?
  • When was the timing belt (Mk6) and water pump last replaced?
  • When was the Haldex and DSG last serviced?
  • When were the coils, spark plugs, leads changed?
  • What’s the compression like?
  • What modifications have been made to the vehicle?
  • Has the vehicle overheated at any point or has the head gasket failed?
  • Have the turbos been replaced and/or upgraded
  • Has the car been in any major or minor accidents? Is so, what repairs were made?
  • Is there any money owing on the car?
  • Have you got any information on the previous owners and how they treated the vehicle?
  • How are the speakers
  • Is there any rust?
  • Has rust been removed at any point?
  • When were the brake pads replaced and have the calipers seized at any point in time?
  • Where do you store/park the car usually?

There are loads more questions you can ask the seller, but we feel these are some of the most important.

Things That Would Make Us Walk Away from a Golf R

Credit: Volkswagen

Here are some things that would make as walk away from one of these cars. While you may be happy with a vehicle with these problems, we are not.

  • Overheating problems or blown head gasket
  • Significant Crash Damage or poorly repaired roof
  • Money owing on the car
  • Stanced
  • Modifications with no paperwork or carried out by a poorly reviewed tuner
  • Excessive amounts of power – If you want a more powerful Golf R we suggest that you purchase a stock version and then get the modifications done yourself. This way you know exactly what has been done.
  • Bad compression
  • Bad resprays
  • Significant rust problems
  • Engine swaps with non-standard engines
  • Significant track use
  • Major engine, transmission or Haldex issues
  • Owner who is not forthcoming with information (could be trying to hide something)

Notes on the Owner 

The owner is one of the most important things to think about when viewing any vehicle. You need to ask them plenty of questions when inspecting their Mk6 or Mk7 Golf R (however, don’t trust their answers completely). Remember, it is your problem if you wind up buying an absolute lemon. Here are some things to watch out for.

  • How long have they owned the vehicle? If it is less than 6 months it tends to suggest that the car needs major work done to it that they can’t afford. It also could be a sign that they deal cars as well.
  • Do they thrash the car when it is cold or continually launch the vehicle? If so, you are better to walk away.
  • Why are they selling the vehicle? Could be a genuine reason or they may be trying to offload their problem onto an unsuspecting buyer.
  • What sort of area do they live in? Is it a good area or a complete dump?
  • How do they respond when you ask them simple questions?
  • Do they know anything about the Volkswagen Golf R and the model they are selling (Mk7 vs 7.5, etc.)
  • What can they tell you about previous owners?
  • Do they have lots of cars on their drive? If they do it may mean they are a dealer.
  • What is their reaction when you ask them about money owing on the car? Tell them you are going to do a check and see how they respond.
  • What is their reaction to you asking for details for HPi check?
  • How do they react if you ask to do a compression test on the vehicle?
  • How do they respond when you ask them to show you the service history and paperwork for the car?

If you get a bad feeling about the owner, you are better off moving onto another Mk6 or Mk7 Volkswagen Golf R.


Volkswagen Group (27/01/2010) – Golf R Press Release – Golf R Press Release – VW Golf R MK6 Chat – VWROC – VW R Owners Club

Volkswagen Group (21/01/2013) – Golf R Mk7 Official Press Release – GOLF R MK7 OFFICIAL PRESS RELEASE AND FULL SPECIFICATION – VW Golf R MK7 Chat – VWROC – VW R Owners Club

BrianWithGolf/Volkswagen (28/04/2012) – VW Maintenance Schedule – VW Maintenance Schedule (As Requested) | VW GTI MKVI Forum / VW Golf R Forum / VW Golf MKVI Forum / VW GTI Forum –

Sarah (17/08/2020) – VW Golf Silica Bag – VW Golf Silica Bag – Volkscentre

Rick@UnicornMotorDev (01/04/2017) – Golf R Turbo Failures – Golf R Turbo Failures – Modifying your Golf R MK7 – VWROC – VW R Owners Club

George Ab (24/05/2017) – DIY MIB1 to MIB2 Infotainment Conversion (Part 1)DIY MIB1 to MIB2 Infotainment Conversion (Part 1) | GOLFMK7 – VW GTI MKVII Forum / VW Golf R Forum / VW Golf MKVII Forum

Ultimate R Hero (22/02/2018) – Used Mk7 R Buying Guide Used MK7 R buying guide – VW Golf R MK7 Chat – VWROC – VW R Owners Club


  • Ben

    From his early days playing the original Gran Turismo and with his Hot Wheels car set, Ben has had a long interest in all things automotive. His first foray into the world of automotive journalism was way back in 2009 and since then he has only grown more interested in the industry. Ben also runs and heads up the video production side of Garage Dreams, focusing on small informative documentaries about some of the world's most legendary cars.

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