The Golf R will be available in UK Volkswagen dealers in summer 2014 with prices expected to start from just less than £30,000.
The Golf R is powered by the EA888 2.0-litre TSI turbo petrol engine as used in the Golf GTI, but a new cylinder head, pistons and turbo have boosted power to 296bhp – 30bhp more than the old Golf R, and 69bhp more than a GTI with the Performance Package. Torque is up 30Nm to 380Nm, too – the same figure as the Golf GTD.
The clutch has been uprated in the Golf R, and buyers will get a choice of short-shift six-speed manual or six-speed DSG gearboxes. Manual models sprint from 0-62mph in 5.3 seconds, while the DSG cuts this to 4.9 seconds. Top speed is limited to 155mph.
Despite the increase in pace, fuel efficiency is up 18 per cent compared to the last Golf R, with the manual returning 39.8mpg and emitting 165g/km and the DSG 40.9mpg and 159g/km.
Part of this is to do with the fact that the new Golf R is lighter than before. At 1,476kg, the manual model is 45kg less than the Mk6 Golf R, and the DSG sheds 46kg from the Mk6’s 1,495kg. However, that means the new Golf R is still 94kg heavier as a manual, or 93kg heavier as a DSG, than the Golf GTI with a Performance Package.
The Golf R uses VW’s latest Haldex 5 four-wheel drive system that can send almost 100 per cent of drive to the rear axle when required.
Like the GTI, the Golf R features XDS+ torque vectoring by braking, although it has been retuned to suit the four-wheel drive system, while, unlike any other Golf – or any other Volkswagen before it – the R’s stability control can be completely deactivated.
Opt for DCC chassis control and you get a new, stiffer Race mode for track driving. This mode also sharpens throttle response and makes the shifts of the optional DSG gearbox more aggressive.
Like the GTI, the Golf R has progressive steering that reduces the amount of steering lock you need to apply. The R only needs 2.1 turns lock-to-lock, rather than 2.75 for a regular Golf.
The brakes have been upgraded, and feature 340mm front and 310mm rear discs, while the calipers are painted black and feature an R badge.
Three or five-door models are available on the new Golf R. All get special 18-inch alloys – 19-inch rims are optional – and retuned sports suspension that's 20mm lower than a standard Golf and 5mm lower than a GTI. The Golf R also gets a unique bodykit, redesigned lights and quad exhausts. Buyers will have the choice of eight exterior colours, with the Lapis Blue Metallic in the pictures being made specially for the car.
The interior features sports seats upholstered in cloth and Alcantara, blue lighting and there are plenty of R badges scattered around the cabin. As it’s the range-topper, the Golf R gets the full suite of driver assistance systems as the regular Golf.