When many car enthusiasts hear “R32”, the Volkswagen MK4 R32 probably isn’t the first thing that comes to mind. However, if you happen to be a Volkswagen enthusiast, then you know all about the iconic VW MK4 R32. However, if you are not an enthusiast and are looking at why the MK4 R32 has so much hype, you’ve come to the right place. In this article, we’ll be going over why the R32 is holding its value while being out of production for almost two decades. We’ll be going over the specs, prices, background, common problems and more to inform anyone wondering about the infamous VW MK4 R32.
Volkswagen MK4 R32 Background
In 2002, the Golf R32 was introduced. At the time, it was the world’s first production car with Volkswagen’s well-known DSG transmission. It was originally built to be the “big brother” of the well-selling GTI, and vastly surpassed Volkswagen’s selling expectations. There were 5,000 MK4 R32’s produced for the US, all of which were sold in a matter of 13 months. It was produced to rival competitive makes such as Mitsubishi’s iconic Evo and Subaru’s WRX.
There were four different color waves for the United States: Deep blue pearl (Our personal favorite), Reflex silver, Black magic pearl, and Tornado Red. While in Australia, Volkswagen produced two hundred “Edition 200” R34’s in Black Magic Pearl, Deep Blue Pearl, and Reflex Silver. Talk about rare.
Volkswagen MK4 R32 Specs
The VW MK4 R32 had many differences from its GTI brother. First, we’ll start off with the interior and exterior differences. The R32 came with a specific front and rear bumper, side skirts, hatch spoiler, 18″ OZ Aristo wheels specific to the R32, a lower ride height than the GTI, dual-tip exhaust, and larger brakes. The interior came equipped with automatic climate control, Konig sport seats, a sunroof (US), and Xenon headlamps (Europe).
Now onto the fun part, the engine. The MK4 R32 shared many parts of its 3.2L VR6 engine with the Audi TT MK1. The 3.2L VR6 NA engine came with an on-demand FWD system, six-speed manual transmission, and upgraded suspension to really give the R its edge. It put down 238hp and 236lb-ft of torque, which doesn’t seem too quick based on the numbers. However, it posts an impressive 0-60 time of 6.6 seconds and runs a 14.1-second quarter mile at 99.2mph.
Now, what is the potential of this 3.2L VR6 engine? From what we have seen, with the same engine, the folks at Bluewater Performance have dropped in a Precision PT6865 turbo and have turned a stock 238hp R32 into a 945hp machine. Is this realistic for everyday people like us, probably not. However, we wanted to simply point out the potential of the 3.2L VR6 engine in the VW MK4 R32.
VW MK4 R32 Price
When it first retailed, the MK4 R32 went for $29,100 back in 2003, which translates to $40,000 nowadays. Since they are in high demand, they have been able to retain their value rather well for an 18 year-old vehicle. According to KBB, one with 150,000 miles and in good condition should go for around $6,500. Not too shabby, but if you are like us, you would want one with far less mileage. It may be more difficult to find, but would be worth it in the long run. After searching for a little bit, we’ve found one priced at $20,000 with 120,000 miles. Still a little bit on the high side for mileage, but this gives you an idea of the value these cars are holding.
VW MK4 R32 Common Problems & Reliability
If you happen to be in the market for one of these VW’s, we want to be sure to include a buyer’s guide for what to look for. It may seem like a long list, but you have to remember that this is an 18 year-old car, so there are quite a few interior and exterior things to look for. Luckily since the R32 is that old, replacement parts do come pretty cheap. Inspect the strut mounts, bearings, radiator fans, thermostat housing, the clutch, timing chain and the associated tensioners, MAF sensor, Haldex system refresh, front and rear brakes, and the basic maintenance items such as spark plugs, ignition coils, oil filter and oil, and more.
Are the VW Mk4 R32’s reliable? The short answer is yes. If it is well taken care of, this vehicle could be a great daily driver that can last up to 150,000 miles. Now, this all depends on how well it is maintained, just like any other car. The VR6 engine is a rather bulletproof engine, besides the timing chain and tensioners. That would be the one component we would advise to keep your eyes on.
Volkswagen MK4 R32 Conclusion
Many ask if the VW MK4 R32 is worth the money nowadays. To answer that question, it depends. To us, absolutely, because we view it as an iconic car in VW history. Also, if you happen to see a slammed tuned up R32, like the one pictured above, you would probably agree with us. All in all, we hope this article has given you a little insight as to why the VW MK4 R32 is so sought after. If you happen to own one, please let us know in the comments! We would love to hear about your experience with this legendary VW hot hatch.
Also, if you want to read more Volkswagen content, here is an article on “What is a Volkswagen MK3, MK4, MK5?“