I recently had the chance to do some laps of Eastern Creek International Raceway in a brand new (2011) Volkswagen Golf R and Golf GTI.
I have to say that the Golf R (it’s 4WD) exhibited outstanding handling, particularly under heavy brakes while turning. An exercise in obstacle avoidance showed that you could easily steer while either letting the ABS do its job, or cadence braking.
The day was unbelievably wet, and the track had pools of water as well as a VERY slippery section. The stability coming over the hill just before the straight inspired confidence, and despite the downpour it was very comfortable at 180 km/h down the straight.
The Golf GTI was similar, and a great drive. It tended to lift at the back a little, but like the R, once you learned to trust it it looked after you in the wet.
Both cars had excellent ABS, but some braking exercises showed that good cadence braking could beat the ABS.
I’ve got a Polo GTI on order at the moment, but that Golf R really inspired me.
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