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2008 Volkswagen R32 Hatchback - Overview

Research another R32:

$32,990 – $32,990 MSRP

$31,283 – $31,283 Invoice

18 / 23 MPG City/Hwy

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2008 Volkswagen R32 Hatchback

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Overview

What Changed for 2008:

  • R32 returns to the lineup after a three-year absence

  • Based on the Golf/Rabbit

  • 3.2-liter, 250-hp V-6 engine

  • 6-speed Direct Shift Gearbox transmission

  • 4Motion all-wheel drive
Overview
Though available in Europe for the past several years, the R32 made just one brief appearance in the U.S., in 2004. Slotting in above the GTI, the R32-which, like the GTI, was based on the Golf-featured a V-6 engine and all-wheel drive (AWD). The new R32 is based on the fifth-generation Golf (now known here as the Rabbit). It employs the same basic formula as the 2004 R32 (6-cylinder engine and AWD) with one major change: The sole transmission offering is Volkswagen's Direct Shift Gearbox (DSG), a fully automated manual transmission with a computer-operated clutch. The DSG's design allows it to change gears in a fraction of the time required by other automated (sequential) manuals, not to mention human-operated manual transmissions, cutting 0-60 mph times by about half a second compared to a manual transmission, according to Volkswagen.

Model Lineup
The 2008 Volkswagen R32 will be available as a single trim level. Standard equipment includes power windows, locks and mirrors; remote keyless entry; heated front sport seats; 10-speaker stereo with 6-disc CD/MP3 changer; rain-sensing wipers; six air bags; anti-lock brakes (ABS); and electronic stability control. Options are limited to a navigation system (bundled with a fully-functional iPod adapter) and all-season tires (high-performance "summer" tires are standard).

Powertrain
The 2008 Volkswagen R32 is powered by a 3.2-liter narrow-angle VR6 engine that puts out 250 hp at 6300 rpm and 236 lb.-ft. of torque at 2500 to 3000 rpm. A 6-speed DSG delivers power to all four wheels via a Haldex AWD system. EPA fuel economy figures are 18 mpg city/23 mpg highway.

Safety
The 2008 Volkswagen R32 comes standard with front air bags; front-seat-mounted side air bags; two-row side curtain air bags; ABS; and electronic stability control. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has not crash tested an R32 but has tested the 4-door version of the 2007 Volkswagen Rabbit/GTI. (The R32 is only available as a 2-door.) The Rabbit/GTI scored 4 stars (out of 5) for frontal impact, 5 stars for side impact, and 4 stars for the rollover test.

Technology
The 2008 Volkswagen R32 is featured exclusively withVolkswagen's DSG, which builds on the concept of the sequential manual transmission (SMT). It's essentially a fully-automated manual transmission with a computer-controlled clutch (as opposed to a traditional automatic transmission, which uses a fluid-filled torque converter in place of the clutch and a planetary gearset). The 6-speed DSG is essentially a pair of 3-speed manual transmissions linked by a pair of clutches. Rather then disengaging the clutch and selecting the next gear, DSG pre-selects the next gear on the transmission that is not engaged. When it's time to shift, DSG uses the dual-clutch system to swap transmissions. This allows near-instant gear changes, up or down, Volkswagen reports.

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