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Mk8.5 Volkswagen Golf R let loose on the Nurburgring

VW’s hottest Golf hatchback is about to be updated with new tech and styling elements

As we approach the Volkswagen Golf’s 50th anniversary, the German giant is planning to unveil a mid-life update that will bring key updates to the iconic hatchback. This includes a facelifted Golf R hot hatch, which has been spied lapping the iconic Nürburgring circuit in both hatchback and estate forms.

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Like all Golf 8.5s, the new R will feature slightly slimmer and more angular LED headlights together with a slightly redesigned lower bumper. In the case of the new R, its bumper opening is now slightly larger and features one less horizontal strake, with fake versions of the current car’s body-coloured flicks re-created in white tape. 

The rest of the exterior is likely to be unchanged, with this particular prototype running the larger wing and 19-inch wheels of the current model’s ‘Performance Pack’, as well as the optional Akrapovic titanium exhaust system. We do expect to see a new rear lighting signature, though the change will be subtle. 

Expect larger changes inside the cabin, however, with VW implementing the same upgraded 15-inch infotainment touchscreen and user interface introduced on the new Tiguan and Passat. In order to fit its new screen, the dashboard has been slightly redesigned but we expect the same minimalist theme to remain. 

Unfortunately, we know less about what to expect under the bonnet. Since its debut the Mk8 Golf R’s specific power output has been rated at 316bhp, with the 20 Years special edition raising this to 325bhp – the most power of any series-production Golf. It’s as yet unknown whether the standard R might adopt the higher output, but in either case it will run through a seven-speed DSG gearbox and VW’s 4Motion all-wheel drive system. Our spies also spotted the Golf R Estate testing, featuring similar updates in the more practical bodystyle.

We expect the new Golf R to be revealed in the coming months alongside the standard Golf range. 

Now read our list of the best hot hatchbacks to buy right now...

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Senior staff writer

Senior staff writer at Auto Express, Jordan joined the team after six years at evo magazine where he specialised in news and reviews of cars at the high performance end of the car market. 

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