New Volkswagen Golf R debuts as a 320 hp AWD hot hatch with 6-MT


But, the manual is not for everybody. Read on.

That’s right. The range-topping version of the Mk8 Golf lineup is not the GTI Clubsport that we saw last month. That honor goes to the Golf R. The photos we’re seeing here is of the European market version. However, the hot hatch will also go on sale in the U.S. market in late 2021 as a 2022 model.

As for the styling and aerodynamics, it gets a sporty front bumper, side skirts, matt chrome mirror caps, a large rear spoiler, quad exhaust tailpipes, and 19-inch aluminum-alloy wheels wrapped with summer performance tires. Also, don’t miss the blue calipers peeking through the wheels. The front discs are larger and now measure 14.1-inches by 1.3-inches wide. The hot hatch rides 0.8-inch lower than the standard production model.

Personally, I think the Golf GTI Clubsport looks a lot more sporty and sexier than the Golf R.

The cabin features an R logo-branded flat-bottom steering wheel, R logo-embroidered sport seats, blue contrast stitching, brushed stainless-steel pedal caps, carbon-fibre-like inserts, and 30-color ambient lighting. A Digital Cockpit and a 10-inch Discover Pro touchscreen display are included as well.


The steering wheel features an R button (on the left) to scroll through various available driving modes (including a Nürburgring mode). A long press activates the Race mode directly.

By default, the ESC is fully and always active, which can be switched off altogether with ESC Off mode. However, the Front Assist reactivates the ESC in emergencies.

Moving on to the business end of the story, the 2.0-litre (1,984 cc) 4-cylinder TSI motor pumps out 235 kW (320 metric hp) and 420 Nm (310 lb-ft) of torque — 20 hp and 20 Nm more than the Clubsport model. The engine is paired with a 6-speed manual gearbox as standard (North American market), while a 7-speed DSG can be found in the options list. However, the European market doesn’t appear to get the manual transmission; for them, the DSG comes as standard. Either way, the power is sent to all four wheels via 4Motion AWD system.

A newly developed rear differential distributes the power variably between the front and rear axles—and, now, between the left and right rear wheels, VW said. The torque vectoring system can distribute up to 100% of the torque to the wheel on the outside of the bend, delivering a more agile handling.

Also, compared with its predecessor, the spring rates and anti-roll bar rates have both been increased by 10%. The DCC (adaptive damping system) application was also adapted accordingly. The engineers increased the negative camber (-1°20’) on the front axle to allow higher cornering speeds and also to improve stability. A new aluminum subframe helped to reduce the weight of the front suspension by 3 kg (6.6 lbs). The transverse link mounts and hub carriers on the rear suspension have also been modified, VW said.

Oh yes, a 0-100 km/h (62 mph) sprint is claimed to happen in 4.7 seconds, while the top speed is limited to 250 km/h (155 mph). If you pay VW a bit more money (R-Performance package), they’ll happily increase the top speed to 270 km/h (168 mph). When equipped with DSG, the new Golf R is claimed to be up to 19 seconds quicker per Nordschleife lap than its predecessor (07:51 minutes).

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