Volkswagen Golf R 20 Years – UK pricing confirmed at £48,095

New range-topping Golf R 20 has key improvements from the chassis and powertrain

Volkswagen has confirmed pricing of its new range-topping Golf R 20 Years, costing £48,095 in the UK which is £5400 more than a base Golf R that now retails from £42,695. Of course, for the extra outlay the R 20 Years includes a bunch of usually optional extras including the larger 19-inch wheel option and Performance Pack, not forgetting its subtle power bump and bespoke trim. 

However, UK cars (like other markets) will still charge extra for a set of adaptive dampers (an £850 option), or even things like a rear-view camera. The £3500 Akrapovic exhaust system is also still optional, so too a head-up display or heated seats and a heated steering wheel (bundled into a Winter Pack), meaning that now it's possible to specify a Golf R to nearly £58,000 with enough boxes ticked. However, regardless of the options you go for, what you'll be buying is the fastest Golf yet.

The Golf R 20 Years has already set a lap time around the fearsome Nürburgring Nordschleife, recording the fastest time yet in an R, but a fast lap time isn't the element we’re curious about in this new special.

That's because this Golf R 20 Years features a range of subtle updates that we’re hoping will make the Mk8 realise its full potential. These updates start under the bonnet, where the same turbocharged 2-litre four-cylinder engine has been given an extra boost with a higher peak power figure of 328bhp – a 12bhp increase over the current model. It's 310lb ft torque figure is unchanged, but the small bump in bhp has yielded a 0.1sec reduction in the 0-62mph time which is now rated at 4.6sec; top speed is 167mph.

> 550bhp Golf R review – can this modified Golf take on an A45 S?

Alongside the extra power, VW has also been working on improving the engine’s character, giving it an aggressive edge that’s been missing in the current generation. One method employed is a new mode for the turbo, which keeps the throttle valve open under part throttle, holding higher boost pressures for longer and improving the engine’s responsiveness. Think of it as an electronically controlled anti-lag system. There’s also a new ‘Emotional Start’ function that flares the revs to 2500rpm on cold start, projecting the sound with the help of an optional Akrapovic exhaust system.

The seven-speed DSG has also gained some new software that should deliver faster and crisper shifts, but any changes to the 4Motion all-wheel drive system or the torque-vectoring differential situated on the rear axle have yet to be confirmed. We do know that the standard fit 19-inch wheels (which are optionally available in a fetching shade of Lapiz Blue) can also be optioned with 235/35 R19 91Y Michelin Cup 2 rubber – although VW UK’s hesitancy to fit this sort of aggressive tyre choice straight from the factory makes it unclear if we’ll see them on UK cars. 

On said rubber, Volkswagen has lapped its new Golf R 20 Years around the Nürburgring Nordschleife setting a 7:47.31 time that makes it quicker than any previous Golf R, and only a whisker behind the previous front-wheel drive lap record-breaking GTI Clubsport S, which did the loop in 7:47.19 back in December 2016.  

Visually, the Golf R Performance Pack’s taller rear wing is the only physical change aside from those fetching blue wheels, although there is some bespoke R 20 badging on the rear bumper and door pillar garnish. Inside VW has fitted real carbonfibre trim elements, but don’t get your hopes up if you’re wanting to see the Golf GTI Clubsport S’s brilliant Recaro buckets. 

Production numbers are not expected to be limited, but the production timescale will be, with confirmation that the car will only be built until the middle of 2023.

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