A select handful of cars offer a rare level of all-around excellence that sets them on a plane seemingly untouchable by their competitors. Premium branding is often part of the price of admission to this level of perfection, but the people’s car company—Volkswagen—sees no reason it can’t play here too, granting its R32 levels of polish and balance more often associated with pricier brands. Basically, the R32 is a three-door GTI—already one of our favorite small cars, with a comparison test crown and a 10Best trophy to its name—with more: a 250-hp narrow-angle V-6, all-wheel drive, a full complement of luxury features, and weight. VW manages the R32’s weight gain without losing the GTI’s playful tossability by cinching the car’s suspenders a bit tighter. Spring rates, increased just so all around, mask the additional 332 pounds quite well, leaving the GTI and R32 nearly indistinguishable in tight Alpine switchbacks. With our test gear riding shotgun, the R32 managed 0.87 g on the skidpad, matching the best number posted by a GTI in our hands (the early Euro-spec car we tested pulled 0.90 g). The added weight and traction of the R32’s all-wheel-drive system endow the already stoic chassis with an even more remarkably planted feel on open roads. The steering is pleasantly hefty and stable, and the car tracks as true as a promise from Mother Teresa. During our drive, we managed to sneak over 100 mph a couple of times without disturbing a sleeping passenger or even feeling the need to have both hands on the steering wheel (don’t try this at home or anywhere: both hands were in fact on the wheel).