Track Inspired VW Golf R – Protected at Brands Hatch
The new Golf R is VW’s most powerful Golf ever and lovers of the model will be delighted to hear, it’s also the fastest. Bestowed with a high-performance turbocharger, the Golf R produces 308 bhp and 280 lb-ft of torque capable of propelling the car from 0 to 60mph in 4.6 seconds. The 6-speed DSG automatic transmission with Tiptronic and Sport mode is faster than a manual transmission, allowing the driver to upshift and downshift via paddle shifters – perfect for track day fun but also great for making the most of the open road. In addition to the 4MOTION all-wheel-drive system capable of transferring torque between the front and rear wheels, the Golf R uses signals taken from sensors located on the front and rear wheel. These signals are analysed and the optimal damping force is applied across the four wheels individually, allowing for ultimate grip and seamless acceleration without loss of traction in all road conditions.
Further enhancing its track / road duality, the new Golf R features what VW calls a Sport Human Interface (HMI). The infotainment system shows the driver current engine values such as charge pressure and G-meter. It also shows power currently being used. On the track, the driver can make the most of the lap timers to discover longitudinal and lateral acceleration. As the Golf R has a derestricted top speed, the values displayed may prove to be interesting!
To enhance the visceral experience of the drive further, the new Golf R is available with an optional performance pack and titanium Akrapovic exhaust system which reduces overall weight and delivers a robust growl from the quad tailpipes. How loud that growl becomes depends on the driving profile, ranging from relatively mellow (whilst driving modestly around town) building to a crescendo that screams motorsport heritage. The motorsport inspiration flows through to the interior too, with bucket-style, race-inspired front seats emblazoned with the R logo and dashboard gauges illuminated in blue lighting.
Perhaps one of the most appealing factors about the Golf R is its inherent practicality, none of which is lost in spite of its affinity for the track. Making the most of modern technology, the Golf R features Front Assist, with sensors placed in the front of the vehicle to help monitor traffic. This feature can also alert the driver to potential events ahead. If a collision is imminent, Autonomous Emergency Braking (included in Front Assist) can activate to help with braking the car. The Golf R is one of the safest vehicles on the road, retaining its 5 Star NCAP rating, achieving an impressive 94% for adult occupants and 89% for child occupants, although how many child occupants get to go along for the ride remains something of a mystery!
This 2018 VW Golf R arrived at UF Studio a couple of weeks after being collected from the dealership. The Golf R had been painted in Urano Grey, a non-metallic colour which in addition to having a reasonably soft finish, also shows every mark and blemish on the paintwork. Having a softer than usual paint finish and having been washed both at the dealership and at home, the Golf R had some swirl marks already on the paintwork which would require machine polishing to remove. As a result, although booked in for New Car Protection, extra work was required to bring the paintwork up to ‘new car’ condition.
Occasionally, although a vehicle is technically ‘new’, the paintwork tells a different story as was the case with this Golf R. Softer paint is easy to mark, so having a ceramic sealant applied is the ideal way to protect the finish, however, on this occasion the damage already sustained would need correcting. As ceramic coatings can last for multiple years, it’s essential to ensure that the finish is perfect otherwise any defects become sealed beneath the coating and cannot be addressed. The benefit of softer paintwork is that it’s easier to correct the damage, although refining takes greater care and skill to prevent micro marring. – Matt Back, UF Studio
First, the loose dirt and debris needed removing along with the hidden contamination such as iron particles and diesel splatters, and the not-so-hidden contamination such as tar and tree sap.
The registration plates were removed prior to cleaning and decontamination to stop dirt trapped behind from mixing with wash water and producing black streaks.
Wheels always catch a large part of the contamination, being exposed to brake dust as well as regular driving debris. Brake dust is composed of iron particles and these can be particularly damaging if left in place as they bond with the substrate and can cause pitting. These are easily removed with a dedicated ferrous contamination remover. First, though, the wheels were cleaned with Valet Pro Bilberry Wheel Cleaner to remove surface dirt.
The wheel cleaner was rinsed away before a trolley jack used to raise the Golf R at each corner, in turn, to increase the space between tyre and wheel arch. This allows better access for more thorough cleaning under the arch. This area was first treated with Bilt-Hamber Surfex HD to remove loose debris and tackle greasy deposits. The arches and wheels were treated with Gtechniq W6 Iron & General Fallout Remover to eliminate ferrous contamination, derived from brake pads which shred when the brakes are applied. The solution was then rinsed away carrying the contamination with it.
Once all the wheels, wheel arches and bodywork had been treated for ferrous particles, environmental and industrial fallout, Ultimate Snow Foam was applied through a Kranzle adapted foam lance attached to the pressure washer. Ultimate Snow Foam has been formulated to create a thick, creamy lather when combined with high-pressure water. As the foam dwells it lifts larger particles of dirt and grit away from the surface of the paintwork and acts of greasy traffic film.
Wheel Woolies were used to deep clean the exhaust tips, the rounded heads fitting perfectly into the oval pipes.
Removing contaminants using non-contact methods is the safest way to clean a vehicle. Wash swirls and fine scratches are the leading cause of paintwork losing its gloss and these are caused by dirt and grit becoming caught in a wash mitt or sponge during the wash process. Removing as much of this contamination as possible prior to using a wash mitt helps prevent this type of damage from occurring. – Matt Back, UF Studio
Once Ultimate Snow Foam had been rinsed away, the Golf R was washed using the Two Bucket Method. This method uses two buckets, one for Wash solution and one for pure Rinse water. Both buckets contain Grit Guards, grills placed in the bottom of the bucket which provide a mesh for the wash mitt to be brushed across. The wash mitt is first loaded with soapy wash solution and a section of the car cleaned. The dirty mitt is rinsed in the Rinse Bucket, brushed over the grill, releasing dirt removed from the car back into the bucket and helping to keep it there. The mitt is then wrung out before being loaded with soapy solution and the process repeated until the car is completely clean. The car was rinsed free of suds before an Aqua Gleam De-ionising Water Filter was used to deliver a final, pure water rinse.
Using an Aqua Gleam water filter ensures the final rinse is free from impurities, in particular, calcium which causes unsightly water marks. The filter is easily attached in-line with a hose using standard hozelocks and the car is then rinsed with the pure water. These filters are ideal for when you’re short of time as the car can then be left to air dry rather than having to dry it by hand. Just don’t let the car dry in direct sunlight and don’t use the filter with a pressure washer as this can reduce the life of the media. – Matt Back, UF Studio
The Golf R was brought into the studio where it was driven on to a hydraulic ramp, used to raise the car for easier access.
A BigBoi BlowR Pro Touchless Car Dryer was used to chase water off the panels and out from all crevices which naturally trap water droplets. The warm, filtered air is easily directed to hard to reach areas providing a far more comprehensive drying than traditional methods and, up to 80 times faster! Traditional drying towels, by necessity, come into contact with the paintwork with the inherent potential for marking the finish as the towel flips back and forth. As a non-contact drying method, BigBoi Dryers eliminate this stage as a potential source of damage.
The paintwork was inspected using a SCANGRIP Sun Match hand held light and details of the paint defects noted on a Vehicle Appraisal Sheet for reference during machine polishing. The detailing lights revealed the wash induced swirls in the paintwork.
The defects were only on surface of the clear coat, so although they covered the paintwork extensively, they weren’t deep. Pad and compound selection was made according, ensuring only the bare minimum of clear coat would be removed. – Matt Back, UF Studio
To correct the panels, a Kamikaze Collection Banzai Dynamics Red Polishing Pad was used on a RUPES LHR 12E Duetto dual action polisher, switching to a LHR 75E Mini for narrower areas, such as along sills and door pillars. Menzerna Super Finish 3500 provided enough cutting power to eliminate the swirls marks and restore gloss. For painted plastic areas, such as the bumpers and skirts, a RUPES Blue Coarse Polishing Pad was used in conjunction with Koch-Chemie H8.
Plastic doesn’t conduct heat as effectively as metal, so heat builds up in one spot, whereas with a metal panel, that heat will start to disperse and radiate over the panel, away from the original point. Consequently, the painted plastics required a different combination of pad and compound, where the compound had a higher lubricity and could be worked for longer. – Matt Back, UF Studio
Once the swirls had been eliminated and the gloss restored, the Golf R was treated with Gtechniq Panel Wipe to ensure all polish residues that might interfere with the final sealant’s chemical bonding process were removed.
UF Studio offers a selection of ceramic coatings to suit a variety of customer requirements. In this instance, Gtechniq Crystal Serum Ultra (CS Ultra) was selected. The innovative coating is applied as a single layer but cures as a dual layer with different properties. The lower layer cures to a hardness of around 7H (on the pencil scale of hardness), the upper layer cures to around 10H. This results in a combined layer which provides both the flexibility and the toughness to reduce the chance of swirling. Added to this, CS Ultra is virtually impervious to extremes of pH and it’s also hydrophobic. Water and contamination carried with it are repelled from treated surfaces, keeping them cleaner for longer and also making the wash process easier. The chemical bond formed between the coating and the clear coat is incredibly strong, so CS Ultra will not easily be removed by washing or environmental issues such as acid rain fallout. The coating has to be applied following a strict procedure and with temperature and humidity within designated parameters. Failure to comply with these procedures will result in reduced performance from the coating. To prevent this, CS Ultra is available only as a service through Gtechniq approved studios, but once installed, the coating is performance guaranteed for ten years, providing protection from chemical and environmental fallout whilst delivering a highly reflective gloss finish.
The owner had also opted for the 19-inch Spielberg wheels and calipers be protected, so Gtechniq C5 Alloy Wheel Armour was applied. Harnessing the power of nanotechnology, C5 bonds with the wheel’s surface to provide a long-lasting gloss finish that will not wash away or burn off when the wheels and calipers become hot. Dirt, water, contamination and brake dust build-up are repelled, making wheels easier to maintain during the weekly wash. To complete the look, Gtechniq T2 Tyre Dressing was applied to give a satin finish.
Finally, to make driving less tiring during inclement weather, Gtechniq G1 ClearVision Smart Glass was applied to the windscreen, forming a hydrophobic barrier, repelling rainwater and waterborne contamination. Now, track or road, this Golf R is ready for anything.