Volkswagen has revealed the range-topping Golf R—but we’ll have to wait a year for it.
315 horsepower. That’s the headline figure for the new eighth-generation Golf R, which Volkswagen revealed earlier today. The four-door hatch—there’s no two-door this time around—will be the most powerful Golf ever, but it’s in the details where the new hot hatch makes the biggest strides over its predecessor.
The most important update happens under the skin, between the rear wheels. VW has installed a more robust differential back there, capable of not just handling up to 50 percent of the engine’s power, but shuffling that power entirely to either side of the rear axle. That means torque vectoring, and it allows for a dedicated Drift mode.
SEE ALSO: 2019 Volkswagen GTI Review
VW has added the choice of dedicated slideways action, but it also promises more differentiation between the other driving modes. These include Comfort, Sport, and “Special”, which was tailored on the Nürburgring. Select the latter and you’ll see a bunch of green highlights in the Golf’s screen, a subtle nod to the ‘Ring’s nickname. Speaking of the iconic track, the R has sliced nearly 20 seconds off the Mk7’s time there, now clocking a lap time of 7:51.
Outside, the Golf R picks up the usual design cues that mark it out amongst its lesser-powered, front-drive siblings. A more aggressive front bumper sucks in cooling air, and a larger two-piece spoiler sits atop the hatch at the back. Standard 19-inch wheels with spindly spokes fill the arches, and a quartet of exhaust pipes poke out from underneath a diffuser out back. It’s pretty standard fare, keeping the Golf R more demure than the Mercedes-AMG A35 or the wild Honda Civic Type R.
Also staying on is the tried-and-true 2.0-liter turbocharged engine. As mentioned above, it produces 315 horsepower now; unlike the last generation, that figure will remain the same in all regions. Torque is up too, to 310 lb-ft. A dual-clutch gearbox is available, but VW will also sell you a Golf R with a genuine row-your-own six-speed manual.
Inside, the Golf R picks up blue highlights throughout the cabin. The Mk8 has upped the screen real estate with a 10.0-inch central infotainment unit and a digital, configurable instrument panel. A leather-wrapped, flat-bottomed steering wheel is where the real work happens, complete with an R button for drivers to quickly switch to Sport or Race mode.
Like the GTI, we’ll have about a year to wait before the hot Golf arrives on our shores. Expect it to show up late 2021 as a 2022 model, with prices creeping upward slightly over the current model.
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