New 2020 Volkswagen Golf R: prices, specs and launch date

Our spy photographers have snapped the new Volkswagen Golf R inside and out, ahead of its expected launch later this year

The next-generation Volkswagen Golf R hot hatch is being pushed through the final phases of its development programme. The German brand’s latest rival for the Mercedes-AMG A 35 and the Honda Civic Type R will make its official debut later this year – and we’ve spied it wearing minimal camouflage.

The new Volkswagen Golf R will be the third and final performance variant of the brand’s eighth-generation family hatchback, following the plug-in hybrid GTE and GTI hot hatchback. It’s also expected to be the most powerful R-badged Golf yet, with an expected output of 328bhp. Here’s everything we know so far.

New Volkswagen Golf R: design and interior

Our latest spy shots reveal the new Golf R’s exterior styling in full and, like its predecessors, it’ll remain one of the most understated hot hatchbacks on the market. The body kit looks broadly similar to the styling pack found on the regular Golf R-Line, with only a couple of telltale ducts – most of which allow for extra cooling for the car’s engine and brakes.

Updates include a tweaked front bumper with new diagonal struts, broader side skirts with protruding aero vanes and a subtly redesigned rear bumper with an uprated rear diffuser and a larger-bore quad-exit exhaust. Its ride height is also significantly lower than the standard Golf’s, while larger, R-branded discs and calipers hide behind the car’s alloy wheels.

Volkswagen will also fit the Golf R with a pair of unique headlights, which bear a fresh design signature compared to the lesser-specced hatchbacks – and which will also likely employ the brand’s Matrix LED lighting technology. Finally, at the rear, there’s a larger tailgate spoiler.

These new images also provide our first glimpse at the Golf R’s interior which, save for a new sports steering wheel and pair of R-branded bucket seats, will be identical to the Mk8 Golf’s. Buyers get the same 10-inch digital instrument binnacle and central infotainment screen – and the same capacitive controls for the heating and ventilation system.

New Volkswagen Golf R: engine and performance

Volkswagen’s latest Golf R will be powered by the same engine as the Golf GTI – a turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol unit, codenamed “EA228” – although, it’ll have much more power than its lesser-badged sibling.

A recently leaked internal document suggested that the latest Golf R will have an output of 328bhp. As such, it’ll be the most powerful version yet, boasting an extra 32bhp over the previous-generation model. This output will also suitably distance the range-topping Golf R from the mid-range Golf GTI, which produces 242bhp.

Other technical details are yet to be confirmed, but we expect the Golf R will send its power to Volkswagen’s familiar 4MOTION all-wheel-drive system via a seven-speed DSG gearbox only – no manual version of the Golf R is anticipated this time. The 0–62mph sprint should take around 4.5 seconds, while top speed will be electronically limited to 155mph.

New Volkswagen Golf R: price and on-sale date

It’s likely that the Golf R will be revealed later this summer with UK sales likely to commence in early 2021. When it reaches Volkswagen showrooms, prices are likely to climb, given the extra power and new on-board technology. We anticipate a starting price of around £37,000.

What does the new Volkswagen Golf R have to beat? Check out our list of the best hot hatchbacks on sale now

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