Volkswagen has officially ended months of speculative reports, backed-up by leaked images, about the new Golf R by taking the wraps off of the newcomer overnight as the most powerful version of its iconic hatch ever made.
Initially set to have debuted in July at the ultimately cancelled Goodwood Festival of Speed, the R, which has already been confirmed for South Africa, packs the same 2.0-litre turbocharged EA888 engine as the GTI and Clubsport, but with output lifted to 235 kW, not 245 kW as alleged, and torque to 420 Nm. Hooked to either a six-speed manual gearbox or a seven-speed DSG, the R will get from 0-100 km/h in a claimed 4.7 seconds and top out at 250 km/h.
Like its predecessor, the amount of twist is send to all four corners via Volkswagen’s 4Motion all-wheel-drive system, with the biggest addition being a new Drift mode integrated into the Vehicle Dynamics Manager system. In addition to this, as well as the conventional settings; Comfort, Sport, Race and Individual, the R also boasts a Special mode that mirrors the parameters of the Nürburgring, with Volkswagen claiming a 17 second improvement over the previous generation DSG equipped model around the Green Hell.
The Drift mode meanwhile, which Wolfsburg states is only for track use, automatically switches the Electronic Stability Program to its own Sport mode with the choosing of the Individual setting allowing for the system to be turned off completely.
Aside from the various settings, additional changes underneath the R skin’s consists of upgraded R branded brakes with a two-piston aluminium caliper setup at the front, revised power steering, a new suspension with stiffer springs and anti-roll bars that has also resulted in a 20 mm ride height drop over the Mk 7.5 R, new rear suspension hub carriers, an aluminium subframe that has reduced the weight of the front suspension by three kilograms and revised rear suspension mounts.
Riding as standard on 19-inch alloy wheels, the five-door only R’s exterior difference from the GTI includes a model specific front bumper with a wider lower air intake, new side skirts, matte chrome mirror caps, chrome quad exhaust outlets as part of the standard sport system, a new rear bumper with a gloss black integrated diffuser and a choice of three colours; Pure White, Deep Black Pearl and the signature Lapiz Blue Metallic.
Inside, carryovers from the standard Golf and GTI include the ten-inch Discover Pro infotainment system and 12.3-inch Active Info Display instrument cluster, with unique details being an R welcome display on the former, carbon look inlays, brushed stainless steel pedals, R branded door sills, a heated, leather-wrapped multi-function steering wheel with blue stitching and the Race mode activated R button, and sport seats trimmed in Nappa leather also with blue stitch work plus R embroidered headrest.
As mentioned, the R will become available next year as the range-topping Golf model above the GTI and mainstream 1.4 TS, but with the DSG ‘box only as the three-pedal manual will only be offered in certain European markets, the United States and Canada. Pricing will only be announced closer to the still-to-be-confirmed launch date.