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New Volkswagen Golf R 20 Years sets Nurburgring benchmark for R-badged models

New special edition posts a 7:47.31 Nurburgring lap time to beat the standard Golf R by four seconds

To mark 20 years since the VR6-engined Mk4 Golf R32, Volkswagen has released its fastest R model yet: the Golf R 20 Years. The special edition gets more power and a sportier drivetrain calibration than standard, which has allowed it to lap the Nurburgring in 7:47.31 - faster than any other R-badged model.

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The 328bhp Golf R 20 Years hit 164mph on the main straight during the lap, which was four seconds quicker than the regular Golf R. With touring car driver Benjamin Leuchter at the wheel, the car was in its “Special” driving mode, which optimises the adaptive dampers specifically for the Nurburgring. 

The mechanicals of the 20 Years edition are fundamentally the same as the R-Performance pack-equipped Golf R, with a 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine under the bonnet driving all-four wheels through a seven-speed dual clutch gearbox. However, Volkswagen has squeezed an extra 13bhp out of the motor, which features a new Emotion Start system that flares the revs to 2,500rpm on startup. 

The engine and gearbox have also been recalibrated, with the later offering more aggressive manual shifts in the sportier driving modes. The turbocharger is preloaded under part throttle, too, in order to provide more instantaneous thrust when it’s time to get back on the power. Volkswagen hasn’t released performance figures for the new model, but a marginal improvement over the standard car’s 4.7-second 0-62mph time could be expected.

The Golf R 20 Years is also equipped with the R-Performance pack as standard, which includes a torque vectoring rear differential and additional ‘Special’ and ‘Drift’ driving modes. A roof spoiler and a set of 19-inch alloy wheels also feature, along with a unique ‘20’ badge on the B-pillar and a ‘20 R’ puddle light when unlocking the car.

Inside, the Golf R 20 Years gets carbon fibre dashboard and door panel inserts, along with blue R branding on the steering wheel, sports seats and key fob. Volkswagen hasn’t released pricing details for the new special edition, but the car will be available until the middle of 2023 after it goes on sale this year.

Now Read our full review of the 2022 Volkswagen Golf R Estate...

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