Taking the fight to the Ford Focus RS, Volkswagen has unveiled the Golf R, the most extreme hatchback ever to emerge from Wolfsburg.
First, the important figures – 266bhp, 236lb ft of torque and, with VW’s DSG gearbox, a 0-62mph sprint that’s out of the way in just 5.5sec (5.7sec with the manual transmission) and onto a predictably limited 155mph. All this from a revised version of the turbocharged 2.0-litre four-pot from the previous generation Golf GTI and current Audi S3.
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Like the R32, power is put down through all four wheels, with a new four-wheel-drive system that’s been designed to react more quickly than the R32’s Haldex transmission. As for the chassis, the R’s suspension has been uprated and lowered by 25mm and gets a modified ESP programme and more responsive steering.
Volkswagen claims that the Golf R offers up to 21 per cent better fuel economy than the previous fastest Golf, the 3.2-litre V6 R32, with a combined fuel economy figure of 33.2mpg (up from 26.4mpg) and 199g CO2/km (down from 225g/km).
VW has kept the visual changes subtle over the new GTI, although LED running lights, a rear diffuser, central exhausts, xenon headlights and a handful of ‘R’ badges are all part of the package. Inside, Alacantara seats, piano black detailing and blue instrument needles also put in tasteful appearances.
The Golf R goes on sale in October, with only around 500 will be sold in the UK each year, and prices will start at £28,500.