Here it perfectly times its auto-blips of the throttle on downshifts and flicks so quickly between ratios on the way back up that it slices 0.3 of a second from the claimed 0-100km/h time. With a figure of 6.2 seconds, it also gets there 0.7 of a second faster than a GTI. Unfortunately DSG is a $2,500 extra, taking the R32's asking price to a considerable $54,990.
Something else is altered from the front-driven GTI experience. That's the absence of torque steer and wheelspin, admittedly only minor bad habits of the other quick Golf, but banished in the R32 by Volkswagen's electronically controlled 4Motion four-wheel-drive system.
Traction is unshakeable, even on filthy wet roads and grip levels are as secure as Strangeways; actually, probably more so. The suspension has been dropped by 20mm in relation to a regular Golf (and so 5mm further than a GTI), body lurch is all but absent and the ride quality never unleashes a severe battering on your vertebrae, even when they're pressed into those skimpy seats.
The brakes provide an equally effective counterpoint to the engine's abilities to shrink straightline distances, with fat 345mm front and 310mm rear discs clamped by a set of bright-bluepainted calipers. The blueness continues with the speedo and rev counter needles, illuminating like miniature light sabres when the (again, standard) bi-xenon headlamps are switched on.
It's a seemingly crushing combination of talents. In a car that's not in the least bit unwieldy in its external proportions you've got practicality, speed, all-weather traction, and grip levels that can make your cheeks go wobbly. Alongside that stirring V6 soundtrack, of course. There's only one area where the R32 trips over and threatens to fall flat on its bodykitted backside. It's a bit of a bloater.
At 1,510kg, the complex four-wheel-drive system and large capacity V6 tip it 60kg beyond a BMW 130i and 155kg beyond a Golf GTI on the scales. Rather than what's been added in the way of raw stats, of more consequence is what's missing.
Over a tight, gnarly road that encourages you to push harder in a nimble, quick-reacting car like the latest GTI, there's less of the precision and eagerness to turn in. Steering feedback is reduced in detail and the line through corners is less readily adjustable with a lift of the throttle.
In a car that promises much - and shouts plenty about what, superficially, is has to offer - the first instinct of this dearest and most powerful Golf is simply to bludgeon its way through.
If the R32 hits like a baseball bat studded with rusty nails, then the GTI is a precision-forged samurai sword by way of comparison. And is $16,000 cheaper.