New Mk8 Volkswagen Golf R estate revealed – compact performance wagon returns
It’s a similar story to before, with the Golf R’s potent powertrain embedded into a more practical estate body
The Volkswagen Golf range can now be considered complete with the reveal of the new Golf R estate, joining the hatchback and an ever-expanding range of other Volkswagen R models that now includes the Tiguan R and new Arteon R.
You might not be surprised to hear that the underlying package isn’t that far removed from that of its siblings, packing the same evo4-generation EA888 2-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine under the bonnet, connected to a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission and an all-wheel-drive system. Peak figures remain 316bhp and 310lb ft, which will get the Golf R estate to 62mph in 4.9sec, 0.2sec behind the hatch.
The new car has also adopted the same torque-vectoring rear differential, which is able to send up to 100 per cent of available torque (a maximum of 50 per cent total) to the outside rear wheel to help the nose tuck into bends under acceleration. It also picks up the new front aluminium subframe from the hatch, which is both stiffer and lighter (by 3kg) than the standard Golf’s front end, and engineers have dialled the same increased negative camber into the front axle and lowered the ride height, which is 20mm lower than that of standard estates.
Unlike the previous-generation Golf R estate though, this time customers are able to upgrade the estate with the optional performance pack, which bundles larger 19-inch wheels, a raised 166mph top speed and two additional driver modes including a ‘drift’ mode, which seems pleasingly preposterous in a compact estate.
In fact, all UK Golf R estates will closely mirror the hatch in terms of ultimate specification, which means critical elements such as the excellent variable adaptive dampers are still optional. UK rubber will remain Bridgestones for the 18s, or Goodyear Eagle F1s on the optional 19s, which as we’ve already experienced don’t do much for the overall handling balance. The R’s beefed up brakes are also carried over, which sit at 357mm on the front axle and 340mm at the rear.
Weighing in at a relatively porky 1630kg it comes in at 79kg more than the hatchback (which shares identical dimensions all round aside from overall length), made up entirely aft of the rear wheels.
Yet while the Golf R estate was always an interesting performance option for daily family duties, Volkswagen’s expansion of its R range with the Tiguan and new Arteon Shooting Brake make it somewhat less of a counterpoint to the usual alternatives, especially given its slightly clumsy design in contrast to that of the sleek new Arteon.
Local pricing has yet to be announced, with examples due to reach customers later in the year.