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2008 Volkswagen Passat R36 Review
by Matt Brogan

2008 Volkswagen Passat R36 Review & Road Test

This is no passé Passat. This is the family sports car.

Model Tested:

  • 2008 Volkswagen Passat R36 wagon 3.6-litre V6 DSG 4MOTION – $66,990 (RRP)


  • Electric Glass Tilt/Slide Sunroof $1990 (Fitted), RNS510 Satellite Navigation with RVC Plus $2990 (Fitted), DynAudio 600W Premium Audio System $1990, Automatic Tailgate Operation $750

Stylish, Fast, Settled Cornering, Well Kitted
DSG Self Up-Shifts, Premium Fuel, Firm Ride

CarAdvice Rating:

– by Matt Brogan

2008 Volkswagen Passat R36 Review
2008 Volkswagen Passat R36 Review
2008 Volkswagen Passat R36 Review
2008 Volkswagen Passat R36 Review

When last I reviewed the Passat I was quite impressed. Then I test drove the Touareg R50 and was blown away. When I borrowed the Golf R32, I didn’t return home for a week. Can you imagine then my joy at being slung in to the cockpit of Volkswagen’s latest R offering?

The R36 is a Passat based sport wagon (sedan available – $64,990) with a bigger direct injection V6 engine, commanding all-wheel drive grip and lower, stiffer suspension. It’s a pretty standard formula in gaining additional performance from a pre-existing platform, but as with any enhanced vehicle the devil is in the detail – and being German, detail is what Volkswagen does best.

Fade to Black – R36 shown in Deep Black Pearl

At a glance you could well be forgiven for assuming this is just another Passat, and perhaps that’s a very good thing. There’s no monster front air dam, no gaudy bonnet scoop, no dumb decals or stripes plastered from one end to the other and no ‘fully sick zhorst’ to attract unwanted attention, bro.

Instead the R36 is endowed with a subtle set of side skirts, lightly flared guards, chrome roof rails, a brief flick at the top of the tailgate and a set of dual pipes to hint at what lies beneath – this is the family sports car.

If you’re in the know, the 25mm reduction in ride height, absence of front fog lamps, curious soft burble under throttle and larger ten spoke Omanyt 18-inch alloy wheels might give the game away or, if you’re lucky enough to catch one standing still, the small R badge at each end could let you know this is no ordinary five-seat wagon.

2008 Volkswagen Passat R36 Review
2008 Volkswagen Passat R36 Review
2008 Volkswagen Passat R36 Review

The R36 also picks up dusk-sensing, self-leveling and cornering bi-xenon headlights with heated washers, automatic windscreen wipers, darkened tailight lenses, integrated rear fog lamp, metallic paint and chrome bright work around the glass. But from a distance, or to the casual observer, it remains every bit a Passat, true sleeper style.

Inside all the goodies we’ve come to expect from a top shelf VW are included. There’s dual-zone, climate control, air-conditioning with auto re-circulate function, cruise control, an alarm system, a ten speaker 250W six-CD audio system with console mounted iPod jack, full function trip computer, self-dimming rear-view mirror, front and rear acoustic parking sensors, reversing camera with guidance assist, one touch power windows and self-folding and heated power wing mirrors (the left one of which dips when reverse is selected).

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2008 Volkswagen Passat R36 Review
2008 Volkswagen Passat R36 Review
2008 Volkswagen Passat R36 Review
2008 Volkswagen Passat R36 Review

There’s also a sumptuous set of 12-way electronically adjustable heated San Remo suede and Vienna leather sports seats with memory settings and electro-pneumatically adjustable bolsters which are exclusive to the R36 (rear outboard seats are also heated). A fat leather wrapped steering wheel and gear knob, and polished stainless steel pedals, all with R Flag livery, compliment the alloy dash fascia and console to give the whole interior a feel more opulent than sporty.

But while that’s all well and good, all these niceties are just a bonus when you consider that an R badge is so much more than just pampering and good looks. The R badge is also very much about the drive – and what a drive it is.

Propelling Passat is a potent 3.6-litre, DOHC, direct-injection V6 engine developing a very tidy 220kW at 6600 revs and muscular 350Nm of torque, which is available across the majority of the rev-range (from 2400 all the way to 5300 rpm) for very linear acceleration and staggering mid-gear pull.

VW’s illustrious dual-clutch, DSG six-speed transmission (with steering wheel mounted shift buttons) takes care of the cog swapping brilliantly and is well calibrated to throttle input, except perhaps on initiation where a little additional pressure on the accelerator is required to engage drive.

2008 Volkswagen Passat R36 Review
2008 Volkswagen Passat R36 Review
2008 Volkswagen Passat R36 Review
2008 Volkswagen Passat R36 Review

It’s a well sorted gearbox though, swift of action and decisive in function, one of the best. My only gripe would be that in manual mode it will up shift of its own accord, which is frustrating if you’re trying to hold revs between corners.

The 4MOTION viscous coupling all-wheel drive system transfers power to the driven wheels as required for maximum traction and can even direct torque frontward or rearward depending on slip feedback felt by the electronic Haldex clutch system. While it’s not as technologically clever as some systems out there (think Mitsubishi’s Evolution), it still manages to provide maximum adhesion for minimum fuss, even in the wet.

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Handling is superb. In fact for a larger car you almost wonder how it’s possible to have this amount of cling. The lowered and re-tuned strut front, multi-link rear suspension means cornering is flat, settled and sublime with the amount of drive on offer only enhancing those characteristics even further.

Point and shoot input sensitive speed proportional electro-hydraulic power steering is rightfully weighty, communicative and involving with slight corrections in course accurately and instantaneously translated to the road. Rapid direction changes are met with servile compliance from the chassis without so much of a hint in traction loss.

2008 Volkswagen Passat R36 Review
2008 Volkswagen Passat R36 Review
2008 Volkswagen Passat R36 Review
2008 Volkswagen Passat R36 Review

Pulling away from bends is simply phenomenal with plenteous traction, a sweet melodious exhaust warble and curious yet subtle inlet whine as the valve timing changes on the hard spin to the 7000rpm cut out. Perhaps curiously it doesn’t feel fast. A quick glance at the speedo will assure you that it most certainly is, but the R36 is just so settled and planted on the road that the feeling of speed takes some reference to drive home how fast it truly is. Quite deceptive given our archaic speed limits.


The brakes with blue painted calipers (exclusive to R models) are powerfully assertive and make for purposefully hard deceleration with sure footed poise. Best of all is the tangibility in feedback and maximum manageability from a firm yet progressive pedal offering positive, quantitive feel and precise ABS calibration, as well as perfectly balanced distribution.

 A few people have made mention about the ride being too stiff in this car, and to an extent I agree. But when you consider the intent of the R package, the cornering grip on offer and the fact that the adrenalin produced will most likely dull your pain receptors for a few days after a spirited drive, this one negative is but a minute compromise.

For safety’s sake the R36 comes standard with ABS, EBA, EBD, ESP, ASR (Traction Control), Tyre Pressure Monitoring, Brake Hold (part of VW’s electro-mechanical park brake system) and ISOFIX preparation for the kid’s seats as well as dual front, side (front and rear) and curtain airbags. The five-star EuroNCAP rating comes as no surprise and it’s comforting to know the level of safety is on par with Passat’s performance.

2008 Volkswagen Passat R36 Review
2008 Volkswagen Passat R36 Review
2008 Volkswagen Passat R36 Review

With little in the way of direct competition, the R36 is an exclusive ride packing a lot of punch, a flock of features and a seductive individuality almost hidden under the stylish vista that is Passat – the only issue I have now is handing it back.

CarAdvice Overall Rating:
How does it Drive:
How does it Look:
How does it Go:


Engine: 3597cc DOHC V6 (24 valve)
Power: 220kW @ 6600rpm
Torque: 350Nm @ 2400 – 5300rpm
Transmission: Six-speed, dual-clutch DSG
Brakes: four-wheel disc with ABS, EBA & EBD
Driven Wheels: All
0-100km/h: 5.6 seconds
Top Speed: 250km/h (electronically limited)
Fuel Type: 98RON Unleaded
Fuel Tank Capacity: 70 litres
Fuel Consumption: 10.7 litres per 100km (Combined)
CO2 Emissions: 254 grams per 100km
EuroNCAP Rating: Five Star
Safety: ESP with TCS, front, side & curtain airbags
Service Interval: 12 month/15,000kms
Spare Wheel: Full size alloy
Turning Circle: 11.4 metres
Towing Capacity: 2200kg (Braked)
Warranty: 3 years/100,000kms


  • zahmad

    Definitely a sleeper :D!

  • KC

    I really thought this thing was overpriced until i saw the features, power & brakes. If I had the money that WOULD be the car I’d choose.

  • Fenno

    3 platforms and 42,000 different variants later i still cant figure out why people buy anything other than a Golf GTI. Bring back the air-cooled…

  • Realcars

    very nice

  • http://www.caradvice.com.au Karl Peskett

    Frugal, keep your comments to the cars themselves, please.

  • Reckless1

    FO spews shit yet again, will he ever pass go?

    I love the narrow angle V6 design – just check the plug wires, it’s almost a straight 6.

    If I needed a wagon, with a bit more pizazz than the Skoda, this car would definately be it. Not too much of a sleeper in the very extroverted blue colour, but the other colours just let it blend into the background beautifully.

    How about a turbo version, Mr VW ????????? That would be something to lust after :)

  • Brett

    I bought one of these for my wife (one of the first to be delivered in Sydney); we have had it since July and just love it. On the open road twisties it is just phenomenal.

  • TonyB

    I must admit, this wasn’t even on my radar. I has just got to the point where the Volvo V70 T6 was my top pick for consideration in the next 6 months or so. Haven read this review, plus a couple from other sites, I’m going to at least have to give it a test drive.

  • GTRmon

    I’d don’t doubt it’s an extremely talented car, but it’s still bland as hell. The family man’s ride indeed.
    I respect VW for making superbly engineered cars, but they just have no character, no passion. It’s all boring.
    Also, the concept of a family sports car is an oxymoron.

    The boringness extends to the Golf GTi; excellent car, but just too boring.

  • Tom

    Nice premium wagon, shame the R32 didn’t get this engine.

  • Brett


    What exactly is wrong with being a ‘family man'; you make it sound like a disease.

    Having a wife and children isn’t the end of your existence, and that fact alone doesn’t make you bland.

  • technofreak

    The fact its got Dynaudio sound makes me wet…same brand I use in my studio…sweeeet as!!

  • GTRmon

    Nothing wrong with being a family man. Just the whole “I can be exciting and compromise for my family’s best interests” doesn’t make sense to me. Family man should go out of his way to give his family the best, pretending you’re driving a sports car is just a bit sad. That’s what the weekend car is for.

  • http://deleted Alex

    GTRmon, tell me if I’m wrong but I’m gonna go ahead and guess that your name comes from the Nissan GTR? No? Well I have read many many reviews for the Nissan GTR as I was thinking of buying one for a while and the thing that put me off was that review after review I kept reading that it was bloody fantastic but it was too fantastic. No character and NO passion. Too perfect and Japanese. This car is the same really. Fantastic and almost top of the class for what it is but I bit soulless.

    PS – Disregard this comment if I was wrong about your name :)

  • GTRmon

    Yeah, no, the name comes from my R32 GT-R. Which has character. Might not have German quality engineering but when a turbo explodes at 8,000 RPM it has character (and laughter and tears).

  • Simon

    GTRmon, you don’t like it? Fine, but bland? I’m guessing you haven’t driven one.
    Equally, I haven’t driven a GTR, but find that skylines look common – like rexes, they are impressive in performance but are common. They have a sense of “I can go fast” but there is no real quality behind them.
    Try a german performance car and A. you’ll buy one B. you’ll wish you could afford one, and/or C. you’ll start to view skylines, wrxs, V8 “falcodores” as common.
    This is seriously one amazing car, and to think this is standard, just wait until people start getting them chipped!
    I saw one of these cars today, and as I have a passat I just nodded and smiled at the driver. He did the same. Think toyota ad “enough said”.

  • GTRmon

    I like it, it’s well built, goes fast and has a lot of features. But it’s bland, and you’re kidding yourself if you think it’s not.
    It’s got nothing to do with being common or not.
    Put it this way: it’s a sensible choice. The Passat is an excellent car. But it’s bland. It’s a car that won’t offend anyone, won’t break down, will always have ample room for kids and golf clubs. But that’s boring. It might be unusual but that doesn’t make it cool.

    Or take a different angle: it’s not a sports car. It will get trounced by a sports car of the same money. So what’s the power for? Overtaking? You don’t need that much power to overtake. It exists so middle class yuppies can show off their latest acquisition “Well mine has a V6 and AWD and bluetooth”; so they can overtake WRXs while driving through the ‘burbs with the kids. It gives people like that a warm feeling deep inside. Ultimately though, these are very boring people.

    The interesting (if they’re a car guy) family man owns something like a Mazda 6 (or whatever, something less bland) and has a project car in the garage, or a track car, or a weekend car.

    So I hold my statement, excellent car but bland. I have nothing against people who buy one, but I just find those kind of people boring.

  • mick

    gtrmoron , they just dont get it , understated class not ginza glitz arse .try driving refined a euro , instead of over styled 8000rpm exploding can of jap crap

  • Golfschwein

    My Golf TDi has character, believe it or not. In spades. Character extends beyond the body style, colour chart and red-line. Trust me, I’ve had cars with none.

  • Doggone

    Isnt the R32 GTR a souped up family car – the skyline? Not a real sports car either. If I have to drive the kiddies and the dog, then dammit, it has to be in something I can stand. Exciting wagons are rare, the Subaru Liberty variants 2.5T GTB and 3.0RB, and the uber expensive Audi RS4 (or S4 when it was around and reappears) are the only alternatives. No one is going to pretend its a true sports car. Yep, its a compromise, and a brilliant one. I believe VW have filled a niche.

  • GTRmon

    Seriously? Renaming someone. Clever. Also, bringing out your fundamental racism/insecurities by calling a car a “can of jap crap” is detrimental to only yourself.

    I don’t fully understand what you were saying (if I was going off grammar alone, I’d say you can’t afford a European car, any European car), but I think you were trying to say my GT-R is glitzy? I assure you, it’s not. It has tyre wall damage, cracks and the paint is faded. If that’s a line of attack, a car like the Passat has a lot more chrome and is glitzier than my car. I think perhaps you don’t get it Mick.

    I agree that a car’s character extends beyond physical or performance aspects, but to my tastes, I find pretty much the whole VW line up boring. My little Mirage (second car, daily driver) has a lot of character, without being exciting to drive. I love the little thing.

    As far as VW goes, I’d take the Skodas or SEATs. Same underpinnings, just more interesting.

  • GTRmon

    I’d disagree in the sense that the GT-R isn’t really a compromise to anything. The Passat has to be a family car, which is the whole point.

    As far as wagons go:
    Mitsubishi Legnum, 2.5 V6 twin turbo AWD (1996-2002)
    Nissan Stagea 2.5 |6 turbo AWD (1996 or so onwards as two different models)
    Subaru Liberty GTB flat 4 twin turbo
    are some previous contenders in the same market (well, not in the luxury market, but AWD super-wagons).

  • Iamthestig


    You say VW’s are boring and then admit to driving a POS Mirage. Enough said. I wouldn’t be seen in something like that as it is my definition of Boring with a capital B.

    Just how old are you ?

  • mick

    gtrmoron like a cracked record stuck on japanesee , hahahaa a mirage, well now where talkin real junk.
    yes i drive euro , had subaru , had honda , good cars , nissan nah . get over it man .

  • riceboy

    Would make an evil looking hearse… I wouldn’t been seen dead in a Falcodore one… 😉

  • GTRmon

    I’m 21 Iamthestig. The Mirage was my first car. I bought the GT-R and kept the Mirage so that it wouldn’t cost me a fortune in fuel every week. I don’t know about you, maybe daddy bought you your first car, but the Mirage is great. Easy to park, good vision out of it, excellent on fuel, cheap insurance and I can fit into it (I’m 6’3″).

    No it’s not ‘good’ car, but it’s cheap thrills. Still puts a smile on my face driving it. I don’t really care that you think it’s a POS, I love it. I’ll probably keep it when I move on from the GT-R. The Mirage has character.


    This car is at the top of my wish list. Dont know if id go for wagon or sedan, but weither way, I want one. Most likely in The Blue!

    On VW being boring, I drove a mates ’05 Golf GTi yesterday. Sure this thing has been chipped/tuned/remapped, whatever you want to call it, but it goes like stink and is a helluva lot of fun.

  • Iamthestig


    I am old enough to be your father and started work at 15 and had enough money to buy my first car at 17 for cash unlike you.

    If a Mirage gives you a smile when you drive it, you need to get out more. A Mirage has character ? – I don’t think so… Something like a Mini is a true car with character…

    One day you will learn…

  • milobob

    that slanting speedo design IMO might attract some dust thanks to its angle. Not good in direct sunlight. Other than that looks like a great car!

  • Joober

    Its an exciting car as how you make it to be, some people like the rush of a turbo at high rpms other don’t, some people like low rpm torque of a v8 as excitement, and some people get a thrill over comfort and a schmick interior, and theres some judging highly on just looks.

    The only thing that puts me away from a vw especially the golf range, is that in Melb is very synonymous with ‘latte’ crowd, who reckon they are too cool for school because theyve got a european car and think they are the ‘in’ type of people. I see many of them in the city during my lunch break, and usually the person coming out of them are the metro looking guys in their tight suites and nose up.

  • John of Perth

    Can anyone confirm reports that VW’s V6 engine development is coming or has come to an end, due to emissions requirements etc.

    I have the smaller capacity in my humble V6 Bora and think it is one of the sweetest donks around – tractability and aural.

  • Neo Utopia

    I think I need to step in here to be the mediator to increase diplomacy in this forum :-)

    To ‘GTRmon': If you think all modern Volkswagens are boring then that is understandable, as you are probably outgoing extrovert who like driving statement cars like GTRs and the like. That is why different manufactures make different types of cars for different types of personalities/individuals. So your comments are plausible.

    For people who are more balanced being half extrovert and half introvert this car seems to provide that right mixture of SUBTLE sporty looks, good quality and design, practicality and most of all INDIVIDUALITY. As the well known phrase goes “different strokes for different folks”.

    For me this car seems brilliant, and for the price its very reasonable indeed compared to a comparable Audi, BMW or Mercedes. Another great RRRRRRRRRRRR!

  • http://caradvice.com.au OSU811

    As an owner of a current liberty wagon and a fan of sporty station wagons (not suv’s) I love the look of this car, If i was in the market to trade up I would definately look at one of these, only concern would be fuel economy of such a heavy v6 car..

  • http://faster DanMan

    just reading the above comments..
    I love this website, average’s about 5 comments in then turns into an argument… Lol. As i said elsewhere, My imaginary friend is better than yours is the basis for most arguments on this site. Lol.
    ‘you pays your money, you makes your choices’ would level most arguments.
    BTW the r32 (which i have had as a demo car) has to make the best exhaust noise of any car under 55k. OMG sounded like a Lambo (another VW ‘brand’) hope this car has the same.. (my 2 cents)

  • weirluo

    I test drove R36 four weeks ago before driving a X5 E53 3.0D home. R36, woe…, that’s what I thought initially, but then… why would I want it?

  • riceboy

    neo utopia, totally agree… people need to take a chill pill… every one has a right to their opinions, and I can see valid points in both sides of the argument… I used to have fun chucking a Lancer 1.8 around as blood/pathology collector, and then I had a Liberty RX that would take me semi-offroad and still be great on twisty bitumen, and now I drive a Golf GTI. Horse for courses, I say. We should love all cars for their various characteristics.

  • SumoDog

    I need and like wagons,and this looks like a nice one.VW seems to be new Subaru, most of tech gadget people seem to be moving from Subaru to VW.I would still pick liberty ahead of passat.Or use a basic locally manufactured wagon as a daily driver and have a proper weekend sports car with character.

  • VW_Freak

    riceboy Says:
    September 19th, 2008 at 10:20 am

    “I used to have fun chucking a Lancer 1.8 around as blood/pathology collector”

    So, you’re one of those crazy pathology driving madmen eh? Had a close call once or twice with you guys! :)

    The R36 is an awesome vehicle, we considered replacing our MKV GTI with one, but when the news filtered through that the MKVI GTI will have adaptive suspension, we gave the R36 the flick and… now we’ll just have to wait. :(

  • jansjetta

    Seems to me that some people are in the wrong forum. That said, my past car with most character was a Mk1 Scirocco. A daily driver that was still fun to drive evrytime even after 25yrs. The R36 looks fun .. I like a sleeper. I’ll be driving one soon.

    To the ED: – for goodness sake, stop making premium a negative. These cars are built to run on premium – just like my Jetta TDi is made to run on diesel and that is 25c a litre more… lol. I had an Audi 90 running on premium and got an extra 100klm per tank making it more econimical than running it on unleaded. Running on premium is not a negative.

  • Watto_Cobra

    It can be a negative when servos in small towns don’t carry it.

  • http://www.geardiary.com Mitchell Oke

    Yeah premium isn’t a bad thing, for some cars it makes them run better AND get better economy. My dads BMW could be run on either 91 or 98, and he ran it on 98 because it worked out cheaper, and made the car run better.

    Oddly, my 94 Barina had a little toggle switch under the bonnet that could be switch between 91 and 95. Putting it on 95 and running 95/98 I noticed quite a difference in the way the car ran, and did notice a small bump in fuel economy. Wasn’t quite enough to make it cheaper-to-run, but the car was much better to drive so it was worth it.

  • http://www.geardiary.com Mitchell Oke

    Another thought, isn’t the higher octane stuff more prevalent in Europe?

  • Golfschwein

    When a manufacturer can’t tune a gnarly old engine to run on anything but premium (the 95 octane one), the stuff I had to put in my 2000 Beetle, it’s less excusable.

  • Frenchie

    This is one of my favourites!

  • DM

    GTRmon…. I have owned and raced, race prepped STi’s that did 0-100 in less than 4secs and blew away most cars including GTRs on the track. I also drove it as my daily driver. I am after a wagon to accomodate my lifestyle… chuck the snowboard and gear in (so must be AWD), fit tents and eskys in, put the bike in the back, etc. People now go for SUVs for this but I want something that actually handles and goes when I want to give it some. But aparently as I am after a perormance wagon I am boring as are all of my mates. I am also over driving cars with bare as bones interiors and “look at me” exteriors. I dont need a loud car to boost my ego. I want somehting powerful, fun, meets my lifestyle needs (which a GTR would have no hope of meeting) and comes with some feratures that make it a great car to live with. If you consider cracks and faded paint “Character” then I am more than happy to leave it all to you.
    I am not trying to bag you mate, but a get a bit chessed when you call me boring when I harly consider myself that. Oh, and I also have a track day car in the garage

    • GTRmon

      ^no you havent, lets not get excited now

  • jeremy

    Weirluo…. , why?, because it’s cheaper, faster, and you wouldn’t look like a kno_

  • Camski

    Makes you wonder why anyone would buy something like the BMW E91 323i where the RRP is like what… AU$70K? That’s probably barebone as well, no options, you probably have to pay for the air inside the car (ok so BMW have cleaned up their act a bit, but they’re still pricey).

    Infact wouldn’t the R36 compete against the 5 Series?
    I think the choice is obvious here.

  • Austin

    It’s a nice car in the sedan version, I just don’t like the look of wagons much. Love the kid arguing that his old Nintendo on wheels has character, and actually I would like to see a decent car (Read RS4, M3 etc, etc) take his R32 GTR on for a laugh (in a legal and safe environment where the the cops don’t have to explain to someone how a second Nintendo got in their lounge room of course), the comments on here can be pretty funny.

  • michael

    my father in law owns the first original r32 delivered in oz. it’s nice. it’s a 2 door sports car. you wouldn’t want to drive it a 1000km’s in a day. it takes a lot to get it moving only getting indulgant over 4000 rpm. very sluggish down low and costs a f#cking fortune to maintain and drinks like a sailor on shore leave. I’d take the r36 over the r32 any day. as to the other “superwagons”. none of them broke 6 seconds for the 0-100. hardly super.

  • Matty B

    If you can tell me how well a car performs by looking at it, i’d be selling tickets at a carnival showcasing your amazing talent. But if you’re going to try telling me how much “character” a cars got without driving, let alone spending a couple of hundred KM’s in it, i’d quickly dismission your opinion as uneducated.

    The R36 is an amazing car, i have spent several hundred km’s behind the wheel and would happily put one in my garage, especially if I did have kids and needed the space.

    But to dismiss a car as “boring” because it’s either something that doesn’t interest you, or maybe it’s a bit of tall poppy syndrome, i don’t know. But it’s not fair on the car or yourself.

  • Iz

    Golfschwein: “My Golf TDi has character, believe it or not. In spades. Character extends beyond the body style, colour chart and red-line. Trust me, I’ve had cars with none.”

    OMG someone who feels the same about their Golf =D

    I find the little diesel grumbling away endearing sometimes, and sometimes you just get the spirit of the Little Blue Train appearing while you’re driving ^_^ (“I think I can, I think I can!”)

    But more importantly, drove past my local VW dealer the other day, saw this big shiny blue missile waiting in the dealer yard and I thought “Could it be?”

    Pulled into the dealer, sat in the car, admired the feel of it, very nearly got the dealer to hand me the keys, but then realised I was in a rush =(

    And then one of my closest friend’s uncle stepped out of the dealer showroom; said he test drove it that day (and funnily enough, my friend was with me too heh). This uncle is quite a petrolhead, he most recently traded his Subaru WRX for this R36 (but sedan form, not wagon).

    He hasnt stopped talking about how well his R36 goes yet :o)

  • Iz

    And oh, if you want no soul, look no further than the new Corolla (or even the Alloytec V6 in the new Commodore, left me feeling really really cold; not to mention it broke down when I rented it for a couple weeks in NSW once)

    Why did Toyota stop making cars for PEOPLE -_- (Their ’90s slogan was “FUN2DRIVE” too; my old ’94 Tarago has that very statement in the opening page of its tech documents for it)

  • Golfschwein

    Chugga chug chug to you too, Iz. :)

  • Joober

    Why the fk are we comparing a R32GTR to this R36? both different class of cars and mainly DIFFERENT ERA of CARS.
    The guy was putting his opinion on the R36 in terms of character and all in a sudden crap talk pops up.

    As Riceboy said, people need to take a chill pill and get back to commenting about the R36.

  • Wheelnut

    Joober – the same reason there are those on this website – who happen to worship a particular japanese manufacturer starting with “T” like to compare the:
    Territory with the Prado; Hilux Pick-Up with the Maloo Ute; Aurion with SS Commodore; Yaris with the Konigsiegg; Apples with Oranges

    It Doesn’t matter if the cars are from different classes; in different price brackets; with different platforms different engines different body styles or built for different purposes etc.. so long as they can try to make people think that the Toyota is a far superior car to anything else above it or below it that’s all that matters.

  • Joober

    Wheelnut – Agree but Theres also the people who who put anti-toyota statements in their comments irrespective of the topic being discussed, so it cuts both ways, we get brandfan fools from all manufacturers.

    Iz – its because the company realised profitability comes from selling to the masses not to only people who know and enjoy cars. Toyota is a corporation, its there to make money and only money… Anything else is a PR/marketing campaign.

  • Luke

    fantastic car, definitely a niche filler. Chipped, aftermarket exhaust, CAI this could be pushing 240kW+ at the fly (That 3.6L VR6 would sound very very mean).

    Disappointing they never gave this one a 6 spd manual option, as good as the DSG is.

  • realcars

    Only do it for a stir.LOL

    I could live with an Aurion Sportivo quite happily.

    VW make nice cars but i doubt if they will ever topple Toyota as market leader.

  • Laurie

    R36 = pretty good car.
    Where are the alternatives.?
    A V6 R32 Jetta would be nice.
    What about a 3 litre V6 Accord – Euro or Mondeo ?
    Am I the only dude in the country who seeks a reasonably priced, less than full size (Falcodore) V6 ?
    Please bring on the Opel Insignia and the Suzuki Kazashi.
    Four cylinders suck.

  • olly


    You are right about the big T wanting dollars, but wrong about their size. They sell more cars, period, but are not up to VW turnover.
    VW is now a massive company who own Audi and several other brands – whose recent market capitalisation was advertised – exceeds that of Exxon Mobil. For me, having had many makes of models, including several performance vehicles, the R36 wagon was my choice. Comfort, fantastic driving, space for several sets of golf clubs, towing jetski, performance, DSG, different – and who cares whether the other driver likes it. I looked at the lot, including Audi s3 and 4 variants (at $40K dearer and you lose $40K when you drive it out the door), 135i cab (quoted in September at $94K and now $70K drive away for a demo with 2000k), replacement Liberty GT ($7K dearer), Lexus 250i etc.

    As others have advised, horses for courses, otherwise we would all have a Lada. We have a choice, so we should be damn grateful about it !

    p.s. to others, if you are not interested in the R36, write to the discussion page for the brand you like, not this one.

  • Sam

    I need to figure out a way to get that engine in my Golf.

  • John

    Hi, I have driven the R36 wondering about it for my new car. I have owned everything from Turbo Quattro Audi, the original V8 Lexus coupe, Lancias, to 300c. I have also driven porsche’s, M5, M3 yada yada.

    The R36 is a surprise package. Once you hit the start the exhaust burbles away telling you something is not quite what it looks like. Drive in anger and wow! Real life driving includes driving in the rain, and the AWD will come into its own then. Handling isn’t meant to be like an Evo, but it still is direct and tight enough for “normal”, this is not meant to be a comp/track car.

    DSG works well too with very quick change, I don’t mind when it auto changes up when you hit the rev limit. My current car does that and I find you go quicker.

    Hope the comments help.

  • NewDad

    Reading through all the comments definitely confirms that everyone on this site is a fanatic when it comes to their cars!

    I recently bought an R36, since I recently became a father.

    I used to drive a Mini Cooper S convertible, so you can imagine the ‘change’ of pace! Every day I drive the R36, I’m continually impressed by it, and I love it more and more over the old Mini.

    I love it because it gives me what I need now.

    I can be ‘responsible’ for all the reasons the review and everyone else has quoted. And because it’s a very practical car and ‘cheap’ for what you get.

    I can also be ‘two fingers to the green crowd’, and thrash the f*&k out of it when it’s just me. It sounds awesome. Moves like stink. And really is an fantastic drive.

    Why have two or three cars when you can have one. 😀

  • Aaron

    NewDad gets it in one.
    Just wish I could justify the $$$

  • 6MPS

    Hi All,

    Its a nice car, just had a race with one and thought should look up the specs! My mazda 6 MPS with 42.5k kms is well broken in and was too good today, but it was very close (Cannot divulge speed but >90km/hr). Having a smooth calm everyday car that turns into something very close to hardcore performance cars in a real treat. Depreciation for new car buyers of this niche is not so nice though :(

  • GHW

    no offense 6MPs but i think you’re dreamin !
    There’s no way you could smoke an r36 in the MPS (yes, I’ve drive one, and yes, bought something else) but nice plug for Mazda anyway, good work!

  • Dale

    Picked up my grey R36 on Saturday. Absolutely fantastic. I traded a BMW 130i manual which I had for about 3.5 years. I had considered trading my BMW for a year or so but wanted something for a similar price, with more space, and similar power. Was toying with as S3 but similar size to what I had, was thinking about a 1.8T B8 Audi A4 but too bland, couldn’t afford a larger BMW with similar power to the 130i, didn’t want anything Japanese (6 MPS – give me a break), and everything else seemed to be very plasticy.

    The R36 is exceptional. Exceptional build quality, no disappointments from moving from the Beemer, great ride, seats, visibility etc. Engine sounds throaty, the whole car has an extremely solid feel. I’ve traditionally been a manual driver but love the DSG.

    Goes like stink and stick like shit to a blanket. Fantastic, fantastic, fantastic. If you are entertaining the thought of moving from BM, Merc or Audi to an VW R36 I can highly recommend.

    Great car…

  • ron

    anyone know what 1/4 mile this would run?
    picking mine up this monday. :)


    Im look at getting one too – but worry the looks are a bit dated and will soon be changed. Also I dont get why the CC and the passat, wont they soon get rid of the passat and just focus on the CC?? not sure – anyones thoughts.

    But I love what Im reading and feel pretty sure about getting one.

  • Aaron

    nice quality, but G6E beats it for $$$ and yet still beats it for RELIABILITY and PERFORMANCE plus it has a bigger engine, excluding that overrated direct injection crap…. port injection is good enough.

    its Aussie made, engineered, cheaper to run and easier to use, plus its a bigger car at the end of the day

    go the G6E Turbo, lets hope the series II G6E comes with xenon lights.

  • Aaron

    a stock BA XT still makes more torque than this … at the end of the day , an old EF/EL still make more torque all the way to the AUIII.

    but are slower …. its the way their 4 speed auto is designed, diff, suspension set up etc …. they are mainstream normal every day family and fleet cars.

    say for instance, FG XT 195kW/391Nm, or 204kW/420Nm on RON98 petrol …. hmmmmmmmmm lets see what happens if we give it 275mm rear rubber, LSD, 3.91 diff and a ECU tune …

    some so far have claimed 232 flywheel kW from stock standard FG XT and 450Nm of torque with stock cams, extractors and high flow cats only.

    and they clocked 5.5s 0-100km/h.

    R36 is a highly advanced with 4wd, technical bits and pieces that make it technically sophisticated ….

    but put its 3.6L engine on Fords 4 speed auto or 6 speed ZF with 2.73 diff ratio and it will soon drop its 5.6s 0-100km/h to 7s.

    in other words , Ford Falcons I6 4.0L all pretty much run on tall gearing and their big TORQUE!

    and that is why they last a million km!

    think about it.

    there is something about that I6 we have here in Australia, it must be the nature of the I6, the capacity and tall gearing and low down torque they make, but also the engine note and exhaust note they all generate , since EAII till AUIII till the current FG.

  • steve

    a stock standard BA Fairmont Ghia 5.4L 3V 220kW/472Nm V8 with VCT will beat this car for value and money.
    Okay it may lack some technical technological advances , but will still look like its a 2010 car.

    with retuning and ecu tweaking you can make those things haul at over 500nm of torque and over 250kw of power, yet still have 2x the reliability when compared to a 3.6l r36 engine. This will cost ya less, and you’ll get the v8 performance.

    i know people who made these 3V engines do 5.0s flat, with extractors, tune, cai and 3.73 diff from bf xr8 manual coupled to the 4 speed auto, but assuming that they make 220rwkW to get 5.0s stock.

    still you’ll get this cheap, and now days 5.4L 3V falcons are under $12000

  • zodiac

    totally agree with you steve

  • Steve

    Hey Aaron and Steve — I looked at actually buying a new G6ET, which agree, is an awesome aussie performance car. Would’ve cost me $65Kish (with ORC) new. Almost bought one too. Then one day, went past the VW dealer to see what the fuss about the R36 was all about. They had a new stylish CC Passat V6 (same engine as R36 but much better looking IMHO). Test drove it and…. my socks were blown off. In quality terms (interior fit and finish) as well as gadgets (when appropriately optioned), the R36/CC felt like a Bentley compared to the high quality but still noticeably “taxi” feel of the Falcon. The Falcon looked durable, but the VW oozed class. Though in theory the G6ET should be faster, the R36/CC felt much sportier, with crisp naturally aspirated acceleration (compared to the turbo G6ET slightly laggy character). Gear shifts in DSG sports mode were lightning fast, but revved out to 7000+ rpm with an awesome sound! Factor in the fact that the R36/CC is AWD, made in Germany and that it was still only quoted at a mere $10,000 more than the new Falcon (on road), and ….. I just had to place an order on a new VW!!! Aaaron and Steve, you probably won’t get what I mean until you actually sit in and test drive the VW and Ford products side by side. In real life. Forget the theoritical 0-100 times etc. Once you do, you will realise that the VW is in an entirely different league, just as fast as the Ford but in quality/technology terms comparable to the best mid size cars from Audi, BMW and Mercedes Benz (but much cheaper).

  • ron

    sorry to Ford lovers, i am also one of you by saying this….BUT

    there is no comparisons between VW to Ford let alone an R36.
    This is motor engineering at its best.
    Pls drive one before posting any comparisons. Numbers means nothing.

    Oh and BTW I owned Ford before commenting on this, lastly being an FG F6 310.
    Now my wife drives an R36 and we just loves the thing.

  • Jig

    Now that we are in 2010, The R36 is a fun and practical car to drive. Sporty, yet dignified all in one. I have the biscay blue colour in a Station Wagon and I love driving it. This is my wife’s car however. When the HGP turbo kit is installed, then maybe, only maybe, I can say that it is also my car. But for now, my MKV R32 is keeping me happy.