MK4 R32 Buyers Guide

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This is a general buyers guide for the Golf MK4 R32.If you are reading this then you either own or are considering buying a Volkswagen Golf MK4 R32. I probably don’t have to tell you that these cars are a future classic in the making and never fail to turn heads.

Standard Features

All MK4 R32s come with Climate Control, 6-speed gearbox, electric windows & mirrors, Gamma stereo with 6-disc CD changer, Xenon headlamps, headlamp washers & half leather half cloth heated seats. The interior is standard MK4 stuff, apart from the Konig seats, fatter steering wheel and a few bits of aluminium trim dotted about the place.

Options

  • Half leather, Half suede heated seats
  • Full leather heated seats
  • Sunroof (electrically operated)
  • VW MFD Sat Nav (with boot-mounted 6 disc CD changer)
  • Cruise control
  • Space-saver spare wheel (otherwise you get a 12v pump and a can of tyre repair foam)

Colours

The MK4 R32 is available in both three and five door varieties with the following colour options:

  • Deep Blue Pearlescent
  • Diamond Black Pearlescent
  • Reflex Silver Metallic
  • Moonlight Blue Pearlescent
  • Tornado Red
  • Grey Anthracite Pearlescent

Deep Blue Pearlescent, Diamond Black Pearlescent & Reflex Silver are the most common colours available. Moonlight Blue Pearlescent and Tornado Red are much rarer with the Grey Anthracite rarer still.

Engine

The clue is in the name. The standard R32, with a 3.2 litre VR6 engine puts out 241BHP at 6250RPM and 236lb-ft at 2800RPM.

Price

These cars are holding their value pretty well and prices are only likely to head in an upwards direction as good examples become harder to find. Used prices range from around £4,000 for an abused / high mileage example; others can range from £5500 to £11000 for an average to good MK4 with some owners asking for up to £24,000 for mint garaged .:R with under 10K on the clock. Sellers asking for £8,000+ are likely to be enthusiasts who have invested in the car and are probably reluctant to sell. Watch out for the cheaper ones, there are plenty out there that have been trashed and crashed or stolen and recovered so make sure you run the normal checks to ensure you are not left out of pocket on a CAT D. A HPI check is a must to ensure there is also no outstanding finance on the car.

Based on pricing August 2016

Running Costs

Fuel Economy – If you are serious about buying the R32 and have concerns about fuel consumption then you either need to make peace with the fact you will be spending money on fuel or find something more economical. The stats say the average MPG is 24 but the reality is dependant on how often and far you drive. As an example I probably cover 180 miles a week on journeys that include stop/start traffic as well as fast roads. Finger in the air I’d say I get about 22MPG on my commute dropping to 18MPG if I’m feeling spirited. Motorway runs should achieve 28MPG+. Another fuel factor is the type you choose; enthusiasts tend to stick with Shell V-Power.

Servicing – Find a car that has full service history. I’d suggest annual servicing or ever 10,000 miles; whichever is sooner. It’s important that the Haldex system has also been maintained.

Tyres – Michelin Pilot Sport 3s are a good allrounder.

Tax – Tax on the MK4 due to it’s age is about £305.

Insurance – Will vary depending on age, driving experience, if the car has modifications and your location.

Common Faults

Coil Pack Recall – There was a recall for these; symptoms include loss of power and car is likely to judder.

Flat Spot / Hesitation – Many UK R32s suffered from a flat spot / hesitation between 2000 & 3000RPM. This was a VW recall item and the fix was to apply the VW 6463 update to the ECU. Some dealers will do this update free of charge, even on out-of-warranty cars.

Seats – With the age of the cars now bolster wear is fairly common. It’s worth mentioning the half leather seats are very hard-wearing but the full leather ones can suffer quite badly with sagging on the seat base.

Haters – Vandal damage is a problem with the R32. Look for key scratches and badly repaired panel damage.

Rust – Tailgates are known to rust, particularly around the rear hatch handle. The front arches are another place to check.

Modifications

Milltek sports exhausts are a common modification. They further enhance the sound and offer slightly large tailpipes. I’d recommend a Milltek as this can work out cheaper than buying a replacement OEM exhaust as the original deteriorates with age. There are two versions of Milltek; one has a resonated centre section and the other is straight-through. The straight-through Milltek is louder but there are plenty of YouTube clips showing the difference although it’s not quite the same as the real thing.

Summary

The R32 is a brilliant car but good examples are becoming harder to find. It’s a great all rounder, the best V6 soundtrack you’ll get, safe in all weather with all wheel drive and a real head turner.