With all-wheel-drive and a new 292-horsepower, turbocharged, 2.0-liter engine, the seventh-generation Golf R has filled the performance vacuum left open by the Mitsubishi Evo’s demise. Traditionally the fastest of the hot-hatches, the Golf R’s newfound firepower means it has graduated to the rally-car-for-the-road club — a club of which the Subaru WRX STI is a founding member.
So, the guys Everyday Driver pitted the two against each other on the twisting canyon roads of Southern California. Despite the STI’s similar price point and performance numbers (305 horsepower from its 2.5-liter, turbocharged engine), it’s definitely the more uninhibited of the two. We found the same to be true when we drove it in late 2014. It’s differential wizardry and lively chassis give it unmatched agility and there’s still plenty of space for four adults.
As you might expect, the Golf R is the more grown-up (Germanic) of the two. It needs to be worked a bit harder to access its full potential, but thanks to its DCT transmission and vastly superior interior, it’s the one you would want to take on longer journeys. Check out the full video to get Everyday Driver’s verdict.
Also, it you’re thinking about buying either of these cars, maybe wait a few months. This segment is due for a serious shakeup in the form of the 2016 Ford Focus RS.