2008 Volkswagen R32

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18 CITY / 23 HWY
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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
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).

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.

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.

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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