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2004 Volkswagen Golf R32

(U.S. spec)







R32argent’s R32 data

  • Build date: January 2004
  • Build location: Bratislava, Slovakia
  • Purchase date: 21 March 2004
  • Odometer at purchase: 34 miles
  • Options: Reflex Silver; Leather

After-market “modifications”:

  • Llumar CTX 30 SR HPR ceramic auto tint (charcoal)
  • Hold the Phone
  • 4-Motion license frame
  • VW OEM blue aspherical mirrors
  • Smoked front VW emblem cover
  • EIP R32 short shift street series (25%)
  • BmF Technologies rear transmission mount
  • Exhaust mod switch
  • VW Mk4 clear bumper sidemarkers
  • Bridgestone Potenza RE050A Pole Position, 225/40R18 88Y (max performance summer tires)
  • 5-brake light mod
  • APR Tuning ECU Stage I software
  • Disabled DRLs
  • VW OEM Bosch HIDs with rheostat
  • EIP R32 CCAI, Special Edition
  • H&R Rear Sway Bar, 21mm adjustable
  • HPA SHS coilovers
  • VW .:R-line monster mats
  • Billet aluminum upper dash vent covers
  • VW OEM sunglass holder
  • Gorilla-Gear system
  • VentureShield clear sticker
  • Sharan antenna
  • O.Z. Crono HT 18x8, silver
  • Dunlop Winter Sport 3D, 225/40R18 (performance winter tires)


Estimated 267-276 bhp @ 6200-6400 rpm, 270 ft-lbs @ 2800-3200 rpm.



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2004 VW Golf R32 General Information

  • Engine: 3.2L 15° VR6, 247 bhp, 236 ft-lbs
  • Transmission: 6-speed manual, MQ350 transmission
  • Powertrain: 4-Motion AWD (Haldex)
  • Wheels: 18” OZ Aristo alloy wheels (45.7 x 19.1J cm / 18.0 x 7.5J in); 27-29 lb ea.
  • Tires: Goodyear Eagle F1 GS-D3 225/40ZR-18
  • Brakes: all vented; 334 mm (13.1 in) front, 256 mm (10 in) rear
  • Calipers: 2-piston front, 1-piston rear; blue-coated
  • Colours available (% of production): Deep Blue Pearl (40%), Reflex Silver (35%), Black Magic Pearl (15%),   Tornado Red (10%)
  • Seats: by Koenig; cloth, standard with leatherette inserts (35%); Full leather (65%)
  • Interior trim: brushed aluminum
  • Steering: shortened rack (2.6 turns lock-to-lock)
  • Steering wheel: leather-wrapped, thicker with thumb cut-outs


  • Number of vehicles produced for the U.S.: 5000


  • VW estimated mileage: 19 mpg (city), 26 mpg (highway)
  • VW estimated fuel cost: $1142 per year


For official information on the U.S. R32, click here for standard equipment and here for technical specifications.


Official VW accessories for the 2004 U.S. R32 are here. I prefer using Foxit Reader to view pdf files; Foxit is available for free download.


Most of this stuff I cleaned up and edited from the forums at VWvortex:


Wonderful news (23OCT2008):  after almost 5 years the R32 is now admissible in Canada!  Hurrah! 

  • Previously the R32 was completely inadmissible – no mere bumper change could let you insure an R in Canada, at least, not until 2019.
  • Check out the updated Canada U.S. Vehicle Admissibility List (pdf).



The Golf IV R32 shares most of its major components—including engine, AWD system, front and rear suspension geometries—with the 3.2L Audi TT.  Five thousand 2004 R32s were produced for the U.S. market to be sold over a two year period.  In January-February 2004, the first R32s began to arrive in the U.S. and thirteen months later all 5000 units were sold with little or no advertising.


The R32 remains the quickest car Volkswagen has imported to the United States. A stock MkIV R32 is capable of 60 mph in only 5.8 seconds, and clears the 1/4 mile in only 13.9 @ 97mph.


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R32 maintenance

  • Here is the R32 full maintenance schedule, from VWoA as of 19 May 2010.  You’ll note that the Haldex oil and filter is scheduled to be changed every 40k miles.  However, Volkswagen Driver magazine (March 2004) published this article, 4Motion maintenance, Haldex servicing?, which—in addition to a DIY—said the Haldex oil should be changed every 20k, and the Haldex filter every 40k.
  • Haldex oil cartridge, Part no. G 052 175 A1
  • Haldex filter, Part no. 02D 525 558 A
  • Haldex tool, Part no. T10066 (needed to remove the filter)
    • Haldex update (13 February 2007): Early last week I contacted VW Customer Care for clarification as to when the Haldex oil & filter should be changed.  A few days later they phoned to reassure me they were researching my question; today they contacted me once more with an answer.  The VW representative had no explanation for the article in VW Driver magazine, but told me definitely that the Haldex oil and filter should be changed every 40k miles.
      • Obviously this is contrary to the article in VW Driver magazine and the consensus on VWvortex (oil at 20k miles, filter every 40k miles).  For myself, I’m going to stick with changing oil & filter every 40k.
  • MkIV fuse list—I recently found this information to be very handy.  This was originally posted on VWvortex so I can’t vouch for its 100% accuracy.  On the other hand, the ones I have tried have been correct.  The list also includes a handy-dandy picture (not mine) of the fuse box.
  • I followed these instructions when I aimed my HIDs: aiming headlamps (*.pdf).  I took them from the Daniel Stern Lighting website.
  • Recall Notice, ID# 28F3 (23 October 2009):  I actually learned of this only in December 2010, and only because I was testing out the recall notice look-up tool on VW of Canada's website.  It would have been nice if my dealership had mentioned this when I took my R in for the moonroof service action (60A7/S9) back in May 2010, or a simple e-mail from VWoA or VW of Canada.  ::sigh::
    • Recall notice #28F3 - "Inspect, and if necessary replace Ignition coils."
  • Service Action 60A7/S9 (7th May 2010):  VW has a service action (for models 1997-2009) for the moonroof drain.  I’ve also received a couple notices about how to receive reimbursement if you paid for water damages prior to settlement of the class action lawsuit.  I haven’t had any problems, but according to the letter I received from VW some vehicles have had moist debris clog the drains leading to water entering the passenger compartment.  With the letter was an insert for the owner’s manual regarding sunroof maintenance every 40,000 miles or 2 years.  This 60A7/S9 expires on 31st December 2011 after which it will no longer be performed free of charge.
    • Service Action 60A7/S9 – “Inspect, Clean and Modify Sunroof Drains for Certain Volkswagen Vehicles and Revised Maintenance Schedule – Sunroof Drain Inspection and Cleaning”.
  • Despite only lowering the R 10mm I was still concerned about the effect of installing the HPA SHS on wheel alignment.  It all worked out without the need for control arms, but fyi: 2004 VW R32 wheel alignment specifications.
  • Power Steering Fluid:  Part No. G-002-012.  Please note that this fluid is mineral based, not ATF nor hydraulic oil.  Mixing and matching not recommended. 
  • R32 and VW colour codes.
  • Strange sounds the R32 makes.
  • List of light bulbs for the R32.
  • Motor Oil:  The R32 owner’s manual recommends synthetic 5W-40 motor oil that meets or exceeds ACEA A3 and VW 502.00 specifications.  If 5W-40 is not available, then 5W-30, if it meets the above specs, is also suitable. 
    • I’ve been using Valvoline Synpower 5W-40, but it’s been difficult to find a local shop that sells it or even has it in stock, let alone any other suitable 5W-40 oil.  Luckily, I found an online store that sells Valvoline 5W-40, among other oils.
    • FYI, Amsoil sells 5W-40 that is supposed to meet the required specifications.
    • FYI, Castrol 5W-40 seems to be widely available, now, and meets the spec. requirements for the 2004 R32.


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Golf R32 and VW advertisements

I found a couple ads/descriptions of the U.S. R32 that was originally posted on the official VWoA website, from before (VWoA R32 introduction) and after (VWoA R32 no-longer available) the R32 was sold-out.  I wish I’d thought of saving the whole official VWoA description of the R32 they had up, but this will have to do :o(




  • It looks like VW has only been doing minimal advertising for the MkV 2008 Golf R32 being sold in August 2007.  I haven’t seen any save for the above print ads I uploaded.  I have, however, received a couple e-mails from VWoA.
    • Back in February 2007 I received an e-mail form VWoA stating they were now accepting reservations for the 2008 R32.  Like the 2004, only 5000 units.
    • In April 2007 I received a second e-mail, stating only 250 MkV R32 are remaining.  Not bad, for a car that won’t even reach the United States for another four months.



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R32 Videos

Here are some videos I’ve found on various places on the internet.  Some are R32 reviews, a few are commercials for the R32.

  • Here’s a R32 Quicktime movie (5.69 MB).  Looks to me like an official VW video introducing the R32 (European-spec).  Pretty nice!  Watching it makes me want to go out for a drive :o)
  • A review (73.6 MB) of the R32 from Top Gear’s Jeremy Clarkson.  I like this one because he briefly compares it to the R32’s ‘real’ competitors—other European hot hatches, since the R32 originally wasn’t planned to be marketed in North America.  Plus, for J. Clarkson, the R32 came out on top :o) 
  • A video (20.2 MB) from MotorWeek reviewing the North American R32.
  • Edmunds Magazine Rack (?) also reviewed (15.6 MB) the R32.
  • This is a Japanese R32 commercial (17.6 MB).
  • Here are two versions of a German R32 commercial, one (4.48 MB) and two (1 MB).
  • Another R32 video (13.2 MB) from Germany—looks like a compilation from various sources.  Well done, so I decided to include it here.
  • Here are three short videos (courtesy of my brother) of me passing and being passed.  The background noise is kind of loud, but you can still hear the exhaust :o)—video 1 (1.66 MB, mpg); video 2 (0.67 MB, mpg); video 3 (0.54 MB, mpg).


Here are some videos that are VW-related but with no R32 content.  How come I never see these in North America?!

  • This is a VW commercial for the MkV Golf GTI (5.78 MB, Quicktime).  It’s a spoof of Singing in the Rain.
  • A second VW commercial that I think is pretty funny, VW Family (1.17 MB, wmv file).
  • This is another VW commercial that has taken the #1 spot as funniest VW commercial.  Apparently it's a Super Bowl commercial, Darth Vader meets the 2012 Passat (4 MB, mp4).

R32 Audio


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Golf R32 review articles

  • The Car Connection
    • Blazing in the saddle (23 February 2004) by Marty Padgett. “VR6 torque and blatty exhaust note, catcher's-mitt seats, the manners of a Saxon duke”.
  • Car & Driver Magazine
    • Looking for an instant autocrosser?  Look no further (May 2004), by Tony Swan.  Another positive review of the R32.  This one is divided into page 1 and page 2.
    • A Golf Like No Other (July 2004): wow, another author that understands how I feel about the R32, LOL. The scan of this review was provided to me by triton54, and it’s in jpg format.
    • Volkswagen R32 (September 2004): in the first paragraph they author says if the R32 had been in the U.S. in summer 2003, it might have won the comparison test between the Lancer Evo and WRX STi. This review is divided into page 1 and page 2.
    • Red hot Golf shot (07 August 2004) by The Courier-Mail.  This is pretty positive review of the 2004 VW Golf R32 sold in Australia. “Volkswagen’s Golf R32 is a very naughty little jigger with attitude”.
    • VW's R32 offers power, speed (05 June 2004) by Carol Traegar.  Although the author bemoans the lack of a spare tire (easily remedied with this), you can rate this article as another glowing review of the R32: “VW's hot little hatch is a tuner car with European elan. It won't run circles around rockets like the Mitsubishi Evo and Subaru WRX STi.  But then, the R32 isn't so much about setting speed records as it is about combining slippery-quick, all-wheel-drive agility with civilized every-day drivability.”
  • Driving Sports Magazine (12 June 2004)
    • Volkswagen R32 (2004) by Ryan Douthit. “The R32 isn't just a fun also makes a great snow-blower.”
    • VW’s Hottest Hatch Ever (10 March 2004), by Ed Hellwig. Go head-to-head with an Evo or WRX STi and you'll get smoked. The R32 wasn't built to beat them and it won't. If, however, you're a buyer who sees a little further out than the next stoplight, the R32 won't seem quite so deficient. You get plenty of corner-shredding hardware at each wheel, a butch V6 that sounds sweet and styling that won't make you look like you just raided the local Pep Boys with your parents' credit card.”
    • The Canyon Carver’s Dream (4 January 2005), by author Dan Kahn. For those seeking a fast, fun and refined ride that handles like a racecar but still coddles passengers in Teutonic leather-lined luxury, the R32 is more than worthy of consideration.
  • Elepent Scribbles – I don’t think this site has been updated since 2006.
    • 2004 Volkswagen R32 (???), by Chris Jackson.  The ride is impressively forgiving, for such a high-performance car. The serious autocrossers will call it too soft, but the extra damping is welcome on cracked Rust Belt roads that tend to send stiffly-suspended cars packing. The Haldex all-wheel drive system is preternaturally sure-footed, and led us to swerve back and forth on rainy pavement just for the joy of it.”
  • European Car Evo
    • VW Golf R32 (July 2007):  This article by Neil Carey compares the Euro-spec. 2002 MkIV R32 with the MkV R32, “both R32s are great cars. The original’s charm gets under your skin almost immediately, but its replacement is a much more complete piece of kit. Well made, comfortable, easy to live with… and its looks won’t upset the neighbours.
  • Fast Fours
    • Not sure which issue, but this R32 review is actually split into jpeg files, page one and page two. Might be kind of hard to read unless you zoom in.
  • Florida Times-Union
    • Road Tests (25 May 2004): a R32 review by Forbes! Who would have guessed?
  • L.A. Times (17 November 2004)
    • Strange Bedfellows: Volkswagen’s Golf R32 shows just how unpredictable car lust can be.
  • Motor Trend
  • MotorWeek
    • Road Test (August 2004): a one page review.
    • Road Test (23 July 2004): short, balanced review.
  • Ride & Drive
    • Road Test: 2004 Volkswagen R32 (October 2004), by Thomas E. Bonsall. “ In an era of name inflation, the Volkswagen R32 is refreshing. Coming from any other company, it could just as easily have been the Volkswagen Golf GTi R32 4Motion Type-X Deluxe Hatchback Sport Coupe.  But, as Pontiac demonstrated forty years ago with its now-legendary GTO, if you've got the goods, you can afford to cut the hype. And, trust me, the R32 is the real thing.”
  • The Truth About Cars: another review of the R32 right here.
  • US News
    • A golf in wolf’s clothing by Richard J. Newman. “For a bit less than the German competitors you get an awesome performance package and enough luxury to justify the price, without the kind of rigid ride in the racers that scares the family away. This beauty, in other words, has soul and charm, and can handle the household chores too”.  This is a short article on the R32.
  • Velocity Automotive Journal (an online journal)
    • 2004 VW Golf R32 (22 August 2004), by Shahed Hussain:  “The Golf R32 is the ultimate evolution of the Golf GTI. AWD, 6-speed manual, 18 in wheels, and sport seats are part of the performance-oriented features that distinguish the R32 from lesser Golfs… no doubt that the Golf R32 is a superb enthusiast car… dedicated fans will appreciate the R32's performance in a sleeper package.”
  • VWvortex: this great site has written a few reviews of the R32
    • Blue Monday (16 June  2003): this article compares the Golf R32, WRX STi, and Lancer EVO.
    • R32 First Drive (3 May 2004): another good review, though I might be a little biased!
  • Wombat Australia
    • Volkswagen green-lights ‘go-fast’ Golf. Obviously, this is a review of the Australian R32, and a relatively old one at that.


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Disclaimer: Everything described on my website has worked for my particular car and me. I assume no responsibility for any incorrect information posted on this site or for any modifications you do on your car. Any part numbers are numbers I used and may be different for different models and years and is subject to change. Please verify everything with your dealer. Laws in your country/state/region/ may differ. Always check with your local authorities.

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