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The Volkswagen Golf R is widely known for its performance as a hot hatch. That said, these days it comes at quite a hefty price. Models like the Genesis G70 and Mercedes-Benz C-Class sit in similar price ranges, but both of those cars come with premium luxury to go with turbocharged performance. Which begs the question; is the Volkswagen Golf R a luxury car?

The VW Golf R is a hot hatch outside, luxury car inside.
20th Anniversary Golf R | VW Group

Golf R luxury features

Immediately, settling into the bolstered seats of the 2023 Volkswagen Golf R gives it an immediate sense of luxury. Those seats are contoured and comfortable, and they certainly look like they belong in a luxury sports car. Of course, Nappa leather upholstery doesn’t hurt either.

Pushing its luxury credentials a step further, 12-way power-adjustable seats with three memory slots begin to tip the Golf R into legitimate high-end territory. A heated and leather-wrapped steering wheel doesn’t hurt either. It’s at this point that the all-wheel drive hot hatch starts to show its premium chops.

Those stunning, leather-wrapped front seats have another party piece that cements the Golf R’s premium status. In-seat heat and ventilation are expected at this price point, and the R delivers. Even the outboard rear seats include heat, proving that this hot hatch belongs in luxury car territory.

The interior ambient lighting comes in 30 colors, presenting a stunning, customizable cabin backdrop for nighttime hoons on satisfying back roads. During the day, a power-sliding panoramic moonroof lets a wash of natural light and fresh air into the cabin.

Tech pushes the all-wheel drive hatchback ahead

The luxury interior of the Golf R
The Nappa leather seats of the 2023 Golf R | VW Group

By now, it’s common knowledge that the haptic buttons in the Golf lineup are an infuriating update. As Hagerty reports, the steering wheel interface has now switched back to physical buttons, but the haptic climate controls remain. All that aside, the rest of the tech in the new Golf R is both attractive and functional.

The digital instrument cluster, for example, offers several custom views tailored to unique driving styles. A full-screen map is great for finding the best driving roads, and the performance pane will show boost pressure, G-force, and oil temperature when pelting it through the canyons.

The central display is crisp and the interface responsive, though voice commands still need a bit of refining. Overall though, the tech in the Golf R is competitive with other models in its class.

Golf R performance has never been in question

The digital dash and leather seats of the Golf R luxury car
The Golf R is packed with tech | VW Group
Related How Much Does a Fully Loaded 2023 Volkswagen Golf R Cost?

How Much Does a Fully Loaded 2023 Volkswagen Golf R Cost?

With 315 horsepower from the 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine, the VW Golf R has no trouble getting things moving, even when compared to other luxury cars. The 4Motion all-wheel drive system now includes a drift mode for when you want to get a bit less sophisticated, but the smooth-shifting dual-clutch transmission is great for more calm rides as well.

The Golf R is a luxury car that isn’t shy on fun

With all of the premium cabin touches and the unquestionable performance of the Golf R, it’s not hard to say it is a luxury car inside and a hot hatch outside. While previous models of VW’s all-wheel drive five-door may lack refinement, the newest version has it in spades.