Clean and Collectable: 2008 Volkswagen Golf R32

For October 14, 2020, our used car find is this unusually clean and original example of VW’s uber refined hot hatch, the Mk5 generation R32. It’s listed for sale on craigslist by a private seller in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, for $16,000.

Here’s what makes this one special.

The fifth generation Golf (Mk5) debuted for the 2007 model year in the US, where it was named the Rabbit, harkening back to the original Mk1 Golf’s US branding back in the 1970s. The new version built upon its predecessor’s strengths by taking the same fun-to-drive, useful package and adding more power and refinement.

As they did with the Mk4 Golf, VW also decided to stuff its 3.2 liter narrow-angle V6 into the new Golf’s engine bay, to create the top-of-the-line R32. In the Mk5 R32, the engine makes 250 hp and 236 lb-ft of torque, up slightly from before. Mated to VW’s quick-shifting DSG automated manual transmission and routed to all four wheels, the powertrain launches the car to 60 mph in about 6 seconds, making it the fasted Golf to date.

The R32 also adds a bit of luxury to the equation by including pretty much all of the equipment that’s optional on lesser Golf versions, such as heated leather sports seats, Xenon headlights, and premium audio.

In its review at the time, Car and Driver said, “Think of the R32 as a powerful luxury sedan in econo-hatch clothing.”

As with the Mk4 R32, VW limited the US to just 5000 Mk5 R32 examples, making the model relatively rare — and thus somewhat hard to find on the used market.

That’s why this fairly low-mile and all-original example caught our eye. It looks great in its Deep Blue factory paint, which retains a showroom-like luster, while the leather-lined interior shows very few signs of wear.

So far, the Mk5 R32 has been a bit overshadowed by its older brother. Sales prices for nice Mk4 versions have spiked as high $62,000 on auction site Bring a Trailer in the last year. We think that bodes well for well-kept Mk5 examples like this one.

That’s why, even though the asking price of $16,000 is towards the high end of KBB’s estimate for similar R32s, we’d call it a good buy, assuming it checks out in person.

It’s one of the few used cars you can buy today that is virtually guaranteed not to depreciate into oblivion — and that’s especially compelling when it comes in such a great looking, capable, and fun-to-drive package.

Vehicle Details

  • 2008 Volkswagen Golf R32 (Mk5)
  • 83k miles
  • 3.2 liter V6 engine (250 hp)
  • 6-speed automated manual transmission
  • Deep Blue Metallic on Anthracite (grey) leather
  • for sale by owner for $16,000
  • Oshkosh, Wisconsin
  • WVWKC71K88W151685
  • link to craigslist listing HERE

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