If you don't own an R32, here's what you're missing: VW's only 4Motion all-wheel drive Golf sold in the US. Made available in the Mk4 chassis in '04 and Mk5 in '08, the hatchback features a 3.2 liter VR6 24v engine, big brakes, 18" wheels and sportier suspension. The Mk4 is slightly more attractive with its six-speed manual compared to the Mk5's DSG. Power is comparable, with the Mk4 enjoying 240hp while the Mk5 is tuned to 250hp. Both unquestionably exceed the standard GTI's performance and the limited production means it's a rare piece of VW history!
Since the R32 is so exclusive, a group of Southern California owners (led by Eugene Lee) has put together the largest R32 GTG and track day in the world, where even VWoA has lent its support.
Whether forced induction or naturally aspirated, Mk4 or Mk5; virtually every possible iteration of the R32 showed up. Unfortunately, the outing didn't beat the '07 record of 140 R32s but 139 is still respectable.
The event has become so legendary that drivers from AZ, OR, WA, CO and NorCal make the trek each year. Some even flew in from the East Coast and one enthusiast traveled from Japan!
R owners were treated to a Saturday GTG at a karting park in City of Industry, CA where $24000 in giveaway prizes was awarded. HPA Motorsports was showing off its new widebody Mk4 turbo, while VF-Engineering surprised us with a prototype Mk4 R32 turbo kit they hope will be available soon.
The first 100 R32 owners to register took to California Speedway the next day to test their skills on the road course. Even new drivers were given the opportunity to learn from professional instructors - not a bad deal considering each R32 owner only paid $32 for the entire day!