The car comes equipped with 296bhp and sports car-baiting levels of performance, including a 0-62mph time of less than five seconds.
This, the fourth-generation R version of the Golf, is the most potent yet, with four-wheel drive, a turbocharged 2.0-litre petrol engine and front and rear electronic differentials among the spec highlights.
The Golf R’s 296bhp, 280lb ft 2.0 TSI engine is a significantly updated version of the EA888 found in the new Golf GTI. Changes over its application in the GTI include a new cylinder head, pistons, high-pressure injection valves and a new turbocharger.
Equipped with a six-speed manual gearbox as standard, it can crack 0-62mph in 5.3sec. But when mated to the six-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission, the 0-62mph time drops to a Porsche 911-rivalling 4.9sec. Top speed is limited to 155mph.
The Golf R is equipped with VW’s latest-generation 4Motion permanent all-wheel drive Haldex system. VW says the system eradicates wheelspin and slip, and up to 100 per cent of the torque can be sent to each of the axles depending on the driving situation. XDS+ electronic differentials are fitted to the front and rear axles to brake individual wheels if high loads are detected, helping to reduce understeer. Uprated brakes are also fitted.
The new Golf R’s suspension is lowered by 5mm compared with the Golf GTI and has been stiffened and tuned for a more involving drive. VW claims to have improved both the ride comfort and agility of the Golf R compared with the previous model. A progressive steering system is also offered, as is an optional Dynamic Chassis Control (DCC) system that adapts the dampers to one of three standard modes: Comfort, Normal and Sport.
Opting for the DCC also adds the Drive Profile Selector, which tunes the Golf R to one of five driving modes: Eco, Normal, Comfort, Sport and Race. The driver will also be able to mix and match the traits that alter in these modes — such as gearshift patterns and throttle response — through an Individual mode.
Styling changes include new front and rear bumpers, wider sills, a rear diffuser and twin exhausts. The Golf R is fitted with 18in alloys as standard and 19in wheels will be available on the options list. Inside, sports seats are offered along with a bespoke trim.
Volkswagen says the Golf R will go on sale in spring 2014, and prices are tipped to come in below £30,000 for a manual-equipped three-door Golf R, with the DSG-equipped cars carrying a premium of around £1200.