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Click for pictures“Driver’s machine
  or luxury express?
  The Golf V6 is both!”

'S GOLF had lost its capability to thrill should
get behind the wheel of the latest V6 4Motion. And they won
't need the well-honed expertise of a professional motoring road tester to tell them why this Golf
is the best yet.

Drivers get the refinement of a 3 Series combined with the zip ’n’ grip of an Audi TT, all cleverly packaged in an understated body that lets you go about your business without a second glance from most other road users. That is, until you give the V6 engine its head and liberate that muscular V6 howl!

High-performance enthusiasts appreciate that the most enjoyable driving machines are often “small” cars powered by “big” engines.
In creating the V6 4Motion, Volkswagen’s engineers have slotted an eager to rev 204bhp 2.8-litre engine under the Golf’s bonnet. And although rear-wheel drive has always been the first choice for
press-on drivers, the 4Motion’s permanent four-wheel drive provides superb grip and composure.

Bringing the two together perfectly is a polished six-speed manual gearbox. Ratios are particularly well chosen to make best use of the naturally aspirated V6’s eagerness to perform — and believe me, it is very eager. The change action is positive, slipping through the gears with just enough feel to leave you in no doubt what gear you’re selecting.

Volkswagen’s fastest Golf shares its chassis with Audi’s A3 and TT. Drive is through a Haldex clutch able to redirect up to 100 percent of torque to the front or rear wheels — ensuring power is always transferred to the wheels with the maximum possible traction.

Open a door and the first thing you’ll appreciate are the supportive and particularly comfortable sports seats. Everywhere you look you’ll find quality — such as the restful backlit blue instrumentation, damped-action grab handles and four chromed lashing points in the fully carpeted boot. The centre console is angled towards the driver and houses the factory-fit hi-fi unit and A/C controls.

Various cubby-holes around the car are lined with rubber mats to prevent rattling, while the fold up centre armrest between the front seats incorporates a useful storage compartment that’s ideal for a mobile. A low-noise 4-speed blower keeps the air moving efficiently without too much background noise.

Externally, only chromed twin tailpipes and subtle V6 4Motion badges distinguish it from its less fire-breathing brethren. Pronounced wheelarches — a family trait in new Volkswagens such as the Beetle and Passat — and exceptionally tight panel gaps add to the Golf’s stylish yet classless demeanour and the short “bee-sting” aerial is a tradition started by the very first GTI 16V Golf. Flanking the body-coloured grille, a neatly distinctive arrangement incorporates all the front lighting functions, including fog lights, under single transparent covers.

The driver benefits from a left foot rest and achieving a comfortable driving position is easy thanks to a fully adjustable steering column that adjusts for both reach and height. Both front seats have 50mm of height adjustment, easily altered by a convenient pump action lever. And a clever parallelogram folding front seat frame ensures getting in and out of the rear is a piece of cake in three-door models.

Driving the V6 4Motion is addictive. Being naturally aspirated there’s no irksome lag — just flex your right foot and you’ve got power. Nice to know you can stop, too! Reassuringly short braking distances are achieved with the aid of ABS and the integrated electronic brake-pressure distribution (EBD) that prevents over-braking of the
rear wheels to reduce the risk of the car spinning during emergency braking. Also standard on the V6 4Motion is ESP, the Electronic Stability Programme that constantly monitors the dynamic state of the vehicle. Should it begin to skid, ESP brakes one, two, three or all four wheels and automatically adjusts the engine’s output to minimise the risk of the skid.

The 204bhp, 2.8-litre 24V V6 unit produces its peak torque of 199lb ft at 3,200rpm, throttle response is excellent and acceleration is smooth and powerful right across the rev range. Plant your right foot into the carpet and the 4Motion really leaps off the line without so much as a hint of wheelspin.

And, of course, the steering is power-assisted — but it’s almost perfect and you lose none of the fun of driving. Even more satisfying is the quality of the V6’s ride. Even loping along at three-figure speeds on the autobahn it feels unbelievably stable.

Refined progress is enhanced by an almost Porsche-ish sound track from the V6 that keeps on getting better the faster you travel. And the 2.8-litre V6 is potent enough to give the driver the pleasurable impression that something even bigger and more powerful is under the bonnet. So it comes as no surprise to find that the 4Motion will run to within a whisker of 150mph. All of which reveals the 4Motion’s forte: luxury express or sporting driver’s tool. Whichever mode you want, this Golf will deliver.

Cars this quick are often thirsty, but long motorway journeys regularly saw 32mpg showing on the trip computer, dropping to 26mpg around town if you didn’t succumb too much to the power on tap. And while the 4Motion is more than game for some hard point-to-point B-road driving, you’ll pay for it at the pumps.

Equipment levels are high, and being the top of the range the V6 has the lot, including electric windows, heated adjustable electric door mirrors, electric glass sunroof, cup holders and a multifunction computer. Fully electronic ‘Climatronic’ air-conditioning, automatic rain sensing windscreen wipers, automatically dimming rearview mirror and a boot-mounted 6-disc CD autochanger, plus some rather good 6˝J x 16 ‘Brands Hatch’ alloys, are also all standard fit goodies.

Safety is well covered too, with front seatbelt pretensioners, twin airbags, twin seat-mounted side airbags and anti-lock brakes
with Electronic Brake-force Distribution all standard. A third, three-point rear seatbelt with full-size headrest is optional. Another worthwhile consideration is the gas-discharge Xenon headlamps, which provide a well-focused, blue-white light approximately 2˝ times more powerful than standard lights.

So there you have it. Volkswagen’s V6 4Motion is a fast, comfortable driving machine that’s as secure as you could wish for, with top-drawer refinement making it an ideal companion in which to tackle the longest journeys. It comes with a fully galvanised body, a 12-year body protection warranty and a three-year/60,000 miles warranty.

Which is very good news indeed, because you and your Golf will probably be together for a very long time…

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Volkswagen Golf  V6 4Motion
| £19,540
Maximum speed: 146mph | 0-62mph: 7.1 seconds
Overall MPG: 26mpg | Power: 204bhp | Torque: 199lb ft
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------------------------------------------------ Volkswagen Golf V6 4Motion