At $36,000, Is This 2016 VW Golf R Hot Hatch Heaven?

The VW GTI wasn’t the world’s first hot hatch, but for a long time, it has set the benchmark for the category. Today’s Nice Price or No Dice R is a GTI on steroids. Let’s see if its price is equally over the top.

The first line of the Mary Howitt poem, The Spider and the Fly, is one of the most oft-quoted — and often misquoted — lines in English verse. In the original 1829 poem, it goes “Will you walk into my parlour? said a spider to a fly” and establishes the archetype of the congenial villain. We’ve since seen that trope from many an author, including Ian Fleming who used it to bring greater depth and gravitas to his James Bond villains.

The 1998 Mitsubishi Eclipse GS-T Spyder that sauntered into our parlour last Friday didn’t seem villainous in the least, and its seller came across as convivial in the ad, even using happy face emojis — 🙂 — to bring some whimsy to the deal. That seemed to work as not only was the ad pulled around the time we started dissecting it, indicating a sale, but the $7,900 asking price also found favor in our voting, earning the Spyder a solid 70 percent Nice Price win.

Cars like last Friday’s Eclipse filled a category — small sporty cars — that have fallen out of favor of late. Once common, there is now only a small handful on the market. Many a chin-stroking opinion haver has opined that it was the “Hot Hatch” that killed off the traditional small sports car and played a role in the demise of many small sporty coupes as well. I’d offer that it wasn’t the cars that changed public demand, it was the public’s demand that changed the cars.

Today, Hot Hatches aren’t all that common anymore either, everything having been subsumed into the tall wagon category. Of the very few that are left, the Golf R is among the best.

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This 2016 Golf R is claimed by the seller to have been their white whale, as it has the six-speed stick instead of the more common DSG and both DCC (Dynamic Chassis Control) and ACC (Automatic Cruise Control) which the present owner claims to be must-have options. That is, of course, until they didn’t want the car at all anymore.

Stock, the R gets its marching orders from a third-generation EA888 2.0-liter turbo four which gets the party started with 292 horsepower and 280 lb-ft of torque. That’s fed through the aforementioned six-speed and onward to the Haldex-developed AWD system with a torque vectoring diff in the rear. Eighteen-inch alloys wrapped in 40-series rubber put that all to work.

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This one is claimed to have a bunch of tuning bits added, including a cold air intake, a fatter downpipe, and a bigger intercooler. Along with a Stage 2 ECU tune, the car is said to be good for 397 horses.

There’s more, including a short-shift kit, LED tail lamps, and a boy racer spoiler on the hatch, but it all looks reasonably stock so the changes aren’t in your face.

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The car looks good too. The Lapiz Blue paint is about the best color you can get on an R and presents well in the ad. The seller notes some dings in the back door, and some curb rash on the wheels, but that’s about it for the demerits. The interior appears as-new and comes with navigation, automatic climate control, and shiny pedals for your feet.

There are only 34,000 miles on the clock and the car comes with a clean title and a bunch of extra parts including a set of Audi A3 wheels mounted with winter tires. On the downside, it only comes with a single key. That’s a $600 replacement if it ever gets lost so best to Airtag that bad boy.

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According to the ad, the seller’s reason for wanting to let the car go is a need for something with a bit more room. They are contemplating a Kia Stinger and would be interested in engaging in a trade for such a model if the opportunity arises. In lieu of that, they are asking for $36,000 cash. Do you think they get it?

Is this seemingly sensibly modded Golf R worth that $36,000 asking as it sits? Or, is that too much to hatch a deal?

You decide!

Seattle, Washington, Craigslist, or go here if the ad disappears.

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