A 2004 VW Golf R32 has broken all previous records by selling for $104,000 on Bring A Trailer. The auction has attracted a lot of attention, with 529 comments in all, as enthusiasts talking about the condition of the vehicle, examined every badge and bolt, while obsessing over its insane value.
BAT has always been home to the most expensive R32s in America, with several records set over the past few years. The previous record dates to 2020, when one such 2004 Golf sold for $62,000. According to our research, this is the most expensive 2004 R32 ever sold, and that research is pretty simple when there’s only one model year. The car is rare and highly desirable within the VW community. But what makes this example so desirable?
With record auctions like this, there’s always a possibility that it was faked to boost the value of a collection. But that’s not the case here. Only a few 2004 R32s come up for sale every year, and there’s never been one like this.
For starters, it’s basically never been driven. The auction listing claims this 2004 Volkswagen R32 was first delivered to Jack Daniel’s Motors of Fairlawn, New Jersey. It was then sold to another dealer, who kept it as a display piece. And as a result, it’s done only 97 miles in two decades.
This low-mileage Golf R32 was bought by and will soon be delivered to motorcar_collector, a famous SoCal connoisseur, who’s recently picked up a mint-condition Lancia Delta Integrale and a 1970 Datsun 240Z. Yeah, we’re pretty jealous!
And then there’s the condition of the car, which has all its iconic features intact: 18-inch Aristo wheels, heated Konig seats in black leather, sunroof, and protective film over the famous Deep Blue Pearl paint, one of four available (and arguably the best-looking). Best of all, the 3.2-liter VR6 is stock from air intake to polished exhaust tips.
The VR6 VAG era
I remember when the 2004 Volkswagen Golf R32 came out. It was a great time to be a “VAG fan,” and European hot hatchbacks were reaching peak performance, not just through turbocharging, but also through six-cylinder engines. Alfa Romeo introduced the stunning 147 GTA with the most exquisite V6 engine you’ve ever seen or heard. Meanwhile, French carmaker Renault put its V6 not under the hood of the Clio, but in the trunk, like a Porsche.
Of course, none of those ever made it to the United States, while the VW model did. However, the German company only made 5,000 examples for the U.S. market. They sold quickly, and many received heavy mods, from coilover suspension to forced induction and custom exhaust systems.
With the GTI, Volkswagen always seemed to be the dominant force in the hot hatch market. But with competition so strong in the early 2000s, they had to improve the hot Golf and jump-started the R brand, bringing technology that amazed buyers. The star of the show was its narrow-angle V6, or VR6 engine, which produced 240 horsepower from its 3.2 liters of displacement.
At the time, its performance was overshadowed by turbocharged monsters from Mitsubishi and Subaru. But nothing sounds quite like this 24-valve hot hatch. The R32 also came standard with a Haldex part-time AWD system, something which many hot hatchbacks now have in the 300-400 hp segment.
Of course, these features are not specific to the R32. The VR6 dates back to the early 1990s and icons such as the Corrado. By 2003, Audi was also putting the 3.2-liter V6 under the hood of the Audi TT, fitting it with “quattro” and even the dual-clutch automatic option. But Golf really speaks of the ambition of the company during the golden age of “VAG”, the era o the Phaeton limousine and the Touareg SUV.