I have owned the MY09 R32 with DSG since new for over 5 years. At the time, the sales guy told me I bought the last Deep Blue Pearl R32 in Australia. I might have been late to jump on the R32 bandwagon but better late than never.
This car still drives and feels like it did on the day I picked it up. It has not had a single issue and I have not heard a single creak or rattle. Servicing cost may seem a bit costly (around $400-500) per service. Much have been said about the DSG and it’s issues. Touch wood, mine is still fine. Personally, I think the issues it has had is to do with drivers using it like a garden variety automatic gear box. It has it’s quirks and just need to be understood to get the best out of it.
The R32 has impeccable manners on the road. Around town or poor road, the ride is supple and comfortable. Considering it rides on large low profile tyres, it’s pretty remarkable. Stretch her legs on the freeway, it will cruise effortlessly with little noise intruding the cabin, making it a very nice place to be in on long distance trips. It’s NVH is on par if not better than more expensive luxury cars.
When you take it on spirited drives on some twisty roads, you will smile at the end of it. Just open up the windows and listen to one of the greatest engine soundtracks ever created. That alone should be enough to send shivers down your motoring spine. Whilst I have owned better handling cars, it certainly hold it’s own. There is a bit of understeer but only when you take it to it’s limit. Punching it out of corners are pretty straight forward thanks to it’s all-wheel drive. Steering weight is perfect for me, not too heavy nor too light.
The DSG gearbox deserves a bit of a review of it’s own. I have only ever driven 2 cars with DSG, the other being a MK6 VW GTi. Personally I love it. It combines lazy put-it-in-D and paddle shifted manual mode when you want to take control in one package. I also love the silky gearshifts. I do have my complaints though.
Firstly, in D-mode, the unit would refuse to upshift to a higher gear (from second) after I turn into a street. It would hold in second gear causing the revs to build up unnecessarily. This also happens when you go over humps.
Secondly, downshifting in manual mode can hesitate momentarily causing power to be cut off. To overcome this, I find that if your foot is still on the accelerator, it will downshift instantly. This behaviour is also evident the MK6 GTi, so I am guessing this is a DSG trait.
The R32 is not the fastest, best handling or sexiest looking car around. But it does everything so well. Considering these can now be had for less than $30k, I think it is a bargain. If you can find one in mint condition, do yourself a favour and buy it. It will be one of the best motoring decisions you will make.