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VW Golf III VR6 (1991): Golf number 3 with 6 cylinders in the test

Hans Peter Seufert
VW Golf III VR6 (1991) in the old test
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D he idea has something . A beautiful, relatively large-volume six-cylinder in a beautifully compact sedan of the lower middle class - material for a market niche that is as attractive as it is thinly occupied. Actually, it has even been orphaned, at the latest since BMW, specialist in compact six-cylinder engines, has drifted into higher realms with the new three-series in both format and price. And that it is for once not the Japanese who fill the vacancy that has arisen gives hope.

Is the VR6 the new dream Golf?

So the best conditions for the new VW Golf VR6 , the most accurate Wolfsburg niche idea since the original GTI 15 years ago. The fact is that the transplantation of the six-cylinder already known from the Passat VR6 into the new edition of the bestseller not only automatically creates the future dream Golf. At the same time, it opens up a completely new market segment, the only representative of which will be the Golf VR6 for the time being.

It is not difficult to imagine the effect of this new mixture. The more critical the first, more intensive encounter with the supposed Wolfsburg miracle. Euphoria or once again the disillusionment that often sets in with celebrated newcomers?

Six-cylinder with 15 degrees cylinder angle

Hans Peter Seufert
The engine has an unusually narrow cylinder angle of 15 degrees.

For once the conclusion: neither nor. The Golf VR 6 is exactly as you imagine it to be - neither particularly exciting nor disappointing, just good, pleasantly good. The tester does not have to search long for the reasons for this feeling of wellbeing. For the most part they are obvious. In the first place, of course, the numberthe cylinder: The six V-shaped displacements, grouped at an unusually narrow angle of 15 degrees, ensure a degree of silkiness that is not known in the Golf class.

174 hp at 1213 kilograms

The cultivated tone of voice is accompanied by a subtle, well-tempered rumble, which always comes to the fore a little more when speeds of more than 5000 rpm are sought. There is seldom any reason to do so, however, and that seamlessly leads to another amenity of this golf variant. Power is everywhere and in abundance, which with 174 HP (128 kW) and 1213 kilograms is no wonder, but is by no means a given. Because less the ratio of power to weight determines the driving impression than the weight-specific equipment with displacement. At 2.8 liters, it is extremely generous in this case. Translated into practice this means: You don't have to laboriously squeeze out the impressive power reserves of this six-cylinder; the VR6 easily shakes it out of its sleeve.

This also distinguishes it advantageously from the prestigious species of four-valve engines, all too often paper tigers, whose dizzying power output is linked to no less dizzying speeds. The VW six-cylinder is a two-valve, and it proves that this modesty has its good. An undeniable advantage of this casual, low-speed power delivery is its comfort character. The Golf VR6 is not one that drives its driver to hectic, thus also not a typical GTI, which is why its producers have wisely spared it these three letters.

7.6 seconds from 0-100 km /h

Hans Peter Seufert
Airbags were not yet standard in the Golf in 1991.

Promises the highest level of enjoyment the six-cylinder with a lazy, comfort-oriented driving style without, however, exhausting its repertoire. What this luxuriously motorized Golf achieves when using all its possibilities is clearly documented by the relevant values: Acceleration from zero to 100 km /h in 7.6 seconds, to 160 km /h in 18.7 seconds; Acceleration in fourth gear from 60 to 100 km /h in 8.7 seconds, in fifth from 80 to 120 km /h in 12.5 secondsSeconds.

That should be enough. Finally, it should be noted that even the best horse in the BMW three-row stable, the 325i, cannot do better, in terms of elasticity it is even clearly worse. The gradation of the five-speed gearbox seems to be perfectly appropriate to the ever willing power delivery of the VR6.

225 km /h at 6000 rpm

Hans Peter Seufert
Discreet hint at the rear.

The top speed of 225 km /h is just under in the fifth 6000 /min reached, which means that civilian speeds are noted at normal motorway speed. This also benefits the economy, with the Golf VR 6 proving once again that large cubic capacities do not have to be alarming. The speed level and driving resistance are more decisive, the latter depending on air resistance and weight.

All in all, the calculation for a 2.8-liter Golf is not much worse than for the basic version with just half the displacement. The test showed an average of 11.1 liters per 100 kilometers, but if you drive cautiously you can easily get less than ten liters.

The Golf VR 6 would not be a real Golf if the motor skills weren't there consistent with the rest of the car. They do it. In any case, there is no question of overpowering this front-wheel drive vehicle, nor of excessive sportiness. Instead, the impression of harmony between drive and chassis dominates.

There are certain technical precautions behind this. The VR6 chassis differs from conventional Golf types not only in the usual tightening and lowering. In addition, there is the geometry of the so-called plus front axle, which is less sensitive to drive influences, and the standard equipment with the electronic differential lock called EDS.

The result is a high level of driving safety, combined with pronounced agility, which gives the light-footed character of this Golf variant excellently underlines. The slightly understeering cornering behavior cannot be disturbed even by sudden load changes, just as little as by the traction problems feared with strong front-wheel drives.

The soft but effective EDS proves to be an adequate solution here.Sensitive, but not nervous, steering and stable, easily controllable brakes with ABS do the rest, so that even the chronically dissatisfied tester finds it difficult to put the stamp of the imperfect on this Golf. Because it has to be, finally the list of unanswered wishes: The suspension could be more comfortable when driving slowly, the chassis noise could be better dampened; the interior trim looks cheap in places, the dashboard unnecessarily bulky.

Weaknesses: unsteady cable circuit

What remains is the cable circuit that is now notorious at VW, which once again proves the current one in the VR6 test car Stage of development cannot yet be the optimum. A scratchy first gear and hooks when shifting quickly indicate this.

There is nothing to complain about about the price. The Golf VR 6 costs 37,995 marks with two doors and largely fully equipped. Therefore: It has never been as valuable as it is today.


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