A special sound
Even the thick clouds of fog hanging low over the mountains near Klagenfurt seem to pass by at top speed today – as though they were trying to chase the fast black Golf. "Vrrooaarr!" and "vrroom!" it trumpets, depending on the speed, so that it echoes in the valley floor. It is a special sound that only an original R32 can produce: present, and yet not at all obtrusive.
R32 – the original
Ronny Pilz also goes "vrrooaarr!" and "vrroom!". The 30-year-old from Klagenfurt behind the three-spoke sports steering wheel of the R32 can – unbelievably – actually imitate the voice of his Golf perfectly down to the last note. And he does that whenever he feels like it – quite often, in fact. While speaking, he lets out a low "vrrooarr", shifts down a gear and, using the throttle and the revs, brings the 241 hp unit to match his vocal range.
This perfectly preserved Golf, one of the last Mk4 R32, was built in 2004. It now has 259,000 kilometres under its belt, but the six-cylinder engine keeps running and running. The only tuning: wheel spacers, so that the original 18-inch wheels stand a little more firmly in the wheel arches. "A dream!" says Ronny, who of course is not only on the road in his native Carinthia, but also always drives to the big GTI meeting at Lake Wörthersee.
The four wins
His very first car in 2009 was a Golf Mk4 R32. This was followed by the "updates" at regular intervals: Golf R32 and Golf R from generations five, six and seven, then, as the crowning glory, the Golf Mk7 GTI Clubsport – what more could you want? "Well, another Mk4 R32," says Ronny in amazement, as though that were the most logical thing in the world. "When I sold my first R32 I sat in my room crying for half an hour," he admits. "And during the entire time that the current R model was in my garage, I looked for Mk4s. The new one beckoned, but the magic of the Mk4 remained."
In autumn 2018 the time had come: Ronny sold his GTI Clubsport and made his way to Jena in eastern Germany with his buddy Patrick – to pick up a Golf Mk4 R32 advertised there.
Power that relaxes
That is the black specimen in which he now makes his rounds. With its hearty sound, the R32 whizzes through the landscape, winding its way up the tight curves to the hilltop. Ronny knows his way around here and knows every bend by first name. His steering movements are calm, precise and experienced. "For me, driving is the ultimate relaxation: if I need a rest, I send myself out for a spin in the R32," says the young Carinthian, who never wants to give up his Mk4. Brake, clutch, gear change, clutch, accelerator: "Vrrooarr..." goes Ronny, who is, indeed, visibly relaxing behind the wheel.
The best experience with this car? "When you sprint past others in your inconspicuous Golf and then watch in the rear-view mirror as the lips of those you overtake form the question 'What was that, then?'. And at the next set of traffic lights, you watch with delight as they read the answer from the tailgate of the Golf: R32!" And when he is asked how best to describe his Golf in one word, he answers without hesitation: "My R32 is – perfect!"