The scorching heat of a day like today can be exhausting. Especially if you have to wait half an hour for your companions to arrive while the sun cooks your neck on the grill. But that doesn’t matter much, if what is going to take place during the next few days is a Summer Meet …
¿ Summer Meet ? Yes, you read it right. While the workers of many companies are looking forward to summer to disappear and disconnect from their co-workers for a few days, at Supercars Search Engine we do the opposite. We take a few cars, look for a road, put a couple of swimsuits in the suitcase and leave the company’s VISA shivering by spending it on liters and liters of gasoline. They are the disadvantages of working in Supercars Search Engine …
This year we have gone to Granada. You already know that the Sierra Nevada road is one of our favorites. And is that in the absence of money to be a member of Ascari, this would perfectly be my private vacation resort. Probably one of the best roads to test cars in our country. Curves of all kinds, asphalt in good condition and little traffic at this time of year.
For this we have joined two hot hatches and a super sports car that will make the afternoons of the coming weekends more enjoyable. The fighters are the 300 hp Volkswagen Golf R, the 360 hp Mercedes A45 AMG and the 550 hp Jaguar F-Type R Coupé. Obviously, you will be thinking that they are three vehicles with such different characteristics that we will not be able to make a comparison “to use”. It is true, but the Mercedes and the Volkswagen represent the most extreme among the compact and are capable of causing an excessive level of excitement on who drives them. Can compacts put an intimidating supercar with twice the cylinders in check? This is a full-blown road trip!
One by one they make an appearance at our meeting point. The caravan is led by Óscar and a convalescent Dani who has just arrived from a music concert of somewhat dubious taste. The trip from Madrid was done in a more than discreet red Volkswagen Golf R, whose power has grown from 270 to 300 hp in its seventh generation. We say that its appearance is rather discreet, because it could well be a Golf GTD with 21-inch wheels. It is a pity that it hardly has any distinguishing features. Its most distinctive attribute, the two large central exhaust outlets – inherited from the legendary R32 V6 and used by the MKVIs – have disappeared, to give way to four outlets, located two by two, on the sides.
Wolfsburg, priced at € 40,260, is the most affordable of the trio. The second fighter to appear is the Mercedes A45 AMG , matte silver and my partner Mario on board. Both arouse the attention of all passersby in the area. The Mercedes A45 AMG has a special charm. It is an expensive sports car, very expensive. Its price starts from € 55,750, but it can boast of being the most sporty compact in the market and treasure the most powerful 4-cylinder series engine in the world … at least, until Volkswagen makes official its alleged Golf R400 with an impressive 400 horses. It is rumored that this supposed giant killer would be able to do a 0-100 km / h in 3.9 seconds.
The menacing appearance of the AMG , accompanied by the harsh sound of exhausts at idle, draws all our attention. Black wheels are the perfect addition. Whether or not the R400 arrives , the truth is that A45 AMG and Golf R present, on paper, certain similarities. Despite the price difference and the 60 hp that are between them, the acceleration capacity is almost identical and both have all-wheel drive. However, while the A45 AMG’s all-wheel-drive system can only distribute 50% of the power to each axle, the fifth generation of the Golf R’s Haldex system can send everything back. We will have to analyze it carefully …
The moment of glory of the two compacts does not last long, specifically until Victor appears driving the more than striking red Jaguar F-Type R Coupé and its noisy exhausts. Unlike the F-Type V8 S Convertible that we tested a few months ago in Malaga, the “R” version gains an additional 25 hp, to reach a respectable 550 hp, and now includes an electronic limited-slip differential. All for € 122,470, the price of three Golf R. The drop of the roof of the Coupé version gives it an extremely sexy new profile. The design remains intact and, consequently, the details such as the long hood or the rearward passenger compartment. The F-Type combines privileged glamor and extremely sporty sensations.
The F-Type R Coupé is from another world, it has twice as many cylinders as its adversaries and rear-wheel drive. But it is the perfect example of “much ado about nothing.” And beware, I tell you with all my love. With 550 hp we could be talking about a supercar more than the size of an Audi R8 V10 Plus or a Ferrari 458 Italia, capable of breaking the clock on any circuit and accelerating from 0-100 km / h in 3.5 seconds. But the Jaguar concept has been geared “only” to a high-flying Gran Turismo. In fact, it stops the clock at 100 km / h in 4.2 seconds, just four tenths faster than the Mercedes A45 AMG .
With the required introductions done, it’s time to make our first climb to Sierra Nevada.
Volkswagen Golf R, with R for king
- Engine 4 – cylinder 2.0 TSI
- Power 300 hp @ 5500-6200 rpm
- Maximum torque 380 Nm @ 1800-5500 rpm
- 0-100kmh 5.1 sec
- Maximum speed 250 km / h
- Weight 1,475 kg
To whet my appetite, I decide to open the ban with the one with the lowest power, the Volkswagen Golf R. I go in, fasten my seatbelt, start the engine and disconnect the traction control. The unit that we have brought here has the manual change, something that is appreciated. Optionally, you can choose the DSG gearbox with double clutch, paddles on the steering wheel and 6 speeds, with an extra cost of € 2,180.
The interior is very sober, but it has two unforgivable details: the small screen of the navigator looks like something out of a SEAT from ten years ago and the dashboard in “piano black” is particularly dirty against dust and fingerprints. Saving these details, otherwise it is one more Golf. And that’s good: the build quality is excellent, the soundproofing is superb, and everything seems to be working like a charm.
I fondly remember the last Golf R I drove now… um… 4 years ago. Seems like yesterday! That Golf R MKVI was a very fast car, excellent on an acceleration straight, but things changed when corners came. It wasn’t as fun as its little brother, the Scirocco R, which featured the same engine, but it was more agile and rewarding because of its front-wheel drive condition.
Volkswagen announces that it accelerates from 0-100 km / h in 5.1 seconds, but the 300 hp extracted from the 2.0 TSI of the Golf R always goes unnoticed until you decide to roll to the limit and go on the attack. The first few kilometers aboard the Golf can be summed up in one word: “smooth”. The pedals are soft to the touch, the steering is highly assisted, even the shift of the gear lever is silky …
In fact, the Golf R does not immediately provoke sports impressions. Of course, just step on the gas and attack decisively a couple of turns to see that it is also fun and, above all, fast. 300 CV are not few and the dynamics is really well achieved. Its ability to change trajectory at the speed of light is astonishing. But best of all, he does it without question, without the least bit of opposition. Without a doubt, it feels much more agile than the previous generation.
In the mirrors I can see the Jaguar come out of a sharp turn across the road. It seems interesting to me if I can open a gap with him. I pull hard, taking advantage of traction to open throttle prematurely at the exit of turns. The manual transmission has a precise and smooth guidance that allows you to change gear quickly.
I begin to link the successive curves, managing to separate myself from the F-Type in the tightest turns. But the Englishman, with 550 hp, almost double, never loses track of me. So I move to the right and decide to let him pass. The F-Type exhausts roaring a few meters away in a ferocious way indicate that Mario is squeezing himself thoroughly … nothing to do with the restrained noise of the Golf. However, the Volkswagen is very capable. He is ready at all times to harass the Jaguar at will, on his heels without fear.
After repeating the process downhill, we decided to stop at an extension and comment on the play. David Clavero shares his conclusions: “The Golf R is the Hot-Hatch for every day. Very effective and discreet. Balanced in its dynamics, especially in the grip it offers under all circumstances … ”. However, we unanimously put a criticism on it: the scarce aesthetic differentiation, both exterior and interior with respect to a GTI or a GTD . “Besides being it, you must look like it,” says Oscar.
Mercedes A45 AMG , pure claw
- Motor 4 cylinder, 2 liters turbocharger
- Power 360 hp @ 6000 rpm
- Maximum torque 450 Nm @ 2250-5000 rpm
- 0-100kmh 4.6 sec
- Maximum speed 250 km / h
- Weight 1,550 kg
I decide to get the keys to the Mercedes A45 AMG to make the second climb to the station. The truth is that it is a vehicle that I really wanted to know in depth. In the cockpit it has all the sportiness that the Volkswagen Golf R lacked. We love its driving position, its buckets, its alcantara-lined steering wheel, the details in red -such as the belt that also only tightens- or the exits. aircraft-style air conditioning unit… It has a multitude of adorable elements. But the one we like the most is its captivating tachometer, which marks 120 km / h at the bottom of it. Quite a declaration of intent, which makes you smile just by looking at it.
The first kilometers with the Affalterbach are quite enlightening. Not only is it more powerful, the dynamics is much faster and the lower center of gravity is perceived. Looking closely, it is surprising to see how the suspension is as hard as a board, the snore more thunderous, intense and clear than that of the Golf R … it even disturbs!
From kilometer 16, the A395 becomes more tortuous. Fifty middle curves begin to follow one another, accompanied by a ravine on the left and an immense rock wall on the right. This moment is epic with the roar of 1,210 hp. The A45 is capable of devouring every turn in a more rewarding way than the Golf R had before. It’s more radical than its adversary and feels more special.
The steering is more direct and, thanks to the paddles, you can concentrate only on going fast since it is not necessary to release the steering wheel. These are details that involve you more in driving. That they are able to excite you and make you change not only the way you drive, but also your mood.
Here it is possible to distinguish two things compared to the Golf: it has 60 more hp and costs an extra 15,000 euros. Ok, it is not much faster, but it does have a multitude of details that make it a sports car as attractive as a red bauble on a nursery door.
We have just made a stopover at Hoya de la Mora. Here ends what is the highest road in Europe. Over a coffee we asked ourselves about the impressions of the AMG . Not everything about him could be perfect. The problem with the A45 AMG is that Mercedes has sold the AMG pack to many who have made the classic A-Class with a diesel engine. Yes, it looks really successful, but it loses all its exclusivity when you constantly come across other much cheaper models spiced up with an almost identical sports kit.
The most powerful 4-cylinder series on the market well deserves our admiration. Also, it comes with a plate with the signature of the technician who assembled the engine by hand, like all AMGs .
After twenty minutes we are overwhelmed when we see our Golf R move ghostly and collide at low speed – luckily! – with a Mercedes prototype with camouflage and padded bumpers. Ufff, the car is intact … The electric parking brake has failed? Has someone put it on with very hot brakes and they have contracted on cooling? Should I pay for gas tomorrow? Would it be worth using the editor whip? What a scare!
It’s a little past 8 p.m. and the gas tanks are drier than a well in Arizona. Some of the team have been up since 6 in the morning and are exhausted. It has been an epic journey, from which we have drawn a few conclusions. But it’s time to say enough for today. Now it’s time to rest, have a good dinner and a relaxing time. Tomorrow we will have to get up early again with the second day of this magnificent road-test.
Ahead we will have 12 hours and 1210 CV. In addition, we will have to know in depth the Jaguar F-Type R Coupé. We are waiting for you next weekend at High Performance.