Fastest ever VW Golf breaks cover; 0-62mph in 5.5sec
16 September 2009

This is the Golf R, the most powerful and quickest variant of the firm’s hatchback ever to reach production. It was officially launched today at the Frankfurt motor show.

With 266bhp, 236lb ft of torque and a new hydraulic four-wheel drive system, the Golf R can go from 0-62mph in 5.7sec, or 5.5sec if equipped with VW’s DSG dual-clutch transmission. Its top speed is electronically limited to 155mph.

See the high-res VW Golf R photo gallery here

Closely linked to the set-up used in Audi’s S3, the new four-wheel drive system is designed to react more quickly than the Haldex transmission from the previous-gen Golf R32, and up to 100 per cent of torque can be apportioned to the rear wheels. Four-wheel drive brings a weight penalty of around 80kg, but the latest R is still 35kg lighter than the R32, which used a 3.2-litre V6 and left many enthusiasts frustrated at its chassis dynamics. Power comes from a tuned version of Volkswagen’s 2.0-litre, four-cylinder EA113 engine, the unit used in the last-generation Golf GTI and the current Audi S3.

It receives a new head gasket, uprated pistons and conrods, and high-pressure injectors, as well as an upgraded turbocharger and a revised intercooler.

The Golf R’s output trumps that of the front-drive Scirocco R, but VW sees no clash. “The Golf is our top-of-the-line product,” said Jakob Kaehler, product affairs manager of the Individual division that develops R models. “But for us it’s not a question of the power difference between the cars; it’s more about the choice between a sports coupe - the Scirocco - and the classic form of the Golf.”

VW is claiming that despite the increased power over the old R32, the new car also offers greater efficiency. Combined fuel economy is 33.2mpg (versus 26.4mpg) and CO2 emmisions are 199g/km instead of 225g/km.

Our Verdict

Volkswagen Golf R 2010-2012

The Volkswagen Golf R is based on the Audi S3, but is rated below it due to less standard equipment and extra cost

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“Up to 21 per cent better fuel economy is quite a step forward,” said Kaehler. “We think that this four-cylinder powerplant is an adequate successor to the six-cylinder R32.”

In chassis terms, the R gets uprated and lowered suspension (by 25mm), a modified ESP programme with two additional settings for track use, and more responsive steering.

Visually the R gets new front and rear bumpers, LED running lights, a gloss black rear diffuser, central exhausts, sill extensions, xenon headlights and unique tail-lights. The cabin finish includes Alcantara seats, gloss black highlights and blue instrument needles. But the overall enhancement over a regular GTI has been kept subtle.

The Golf R is being pitched as an even more extreme car than the high-performance Scirocco R.

“The sport chassis setting on the regular Scirocco was like the normal setting on the Scirocco R,” said Kaehler. “Sport on the Scirocco R took it a step further. But on the Golf R it will be further still. The chassis control has been set up after tests on the Nürburgring with [double Le Mans winner] Hans Stuck.”

VW has modest sales targets for the Golf R — it hopes to sell a combined total of 500 three and five-door examples per year in the UK — and the price will reflect that.

Expect it to cost from £28,500 when it goes on sale in October, with deliveries starting in January.

John McIlroy

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Join the debate


15 September 2009

R20 will be the Daddy of all hyper-hatches, RIP Focus RS............


15 September 2009

[quote wheats]

R20 will be the Daddy of all hyper-hatches, RIP Focus RS............


Don't think so. The R20 will be a second quicker up to 30-40 mph, then the Focus RS' torque will slowly close the gap and around 80 -90 mph it will sail away.

15 September 2009

VW proving that less is more! This looks like the hot-hatch to have & to drive - well done Volkswagen!

15 September 2009

sigh, complete misinformation yesterday then. different performance figures and outputs and different prices.

anyway having seen hi res pictures of the interior especially it looks ultra high quality and class, outside is quite nice too.

would be hard to choose between this and sirocco R to weigh up the benefits.

the focus RS is dead now, it wont beat the R in performance and its the same price, and the R has so much better build quality and style. in almost all situations the vw will be quicker, apart from on smooth dry motorways or dual carriageways, but then you dont have battles on those roads. your just cruising.

15 September 2009

28.5K for a Golf????? The S3 is only 27.4K must be a typo, 25-26K is about right as it maybe slightly better made than the Focus RS but has less power and performance potential. The Golf seem,s to be getting almost overpriced and not withstanding the Euro issues this new Golf is cheaper to produce and makes more money for VW???

15 September 2009

[quote JezyG]this new Golf is cheaper to produce and makes more money for VW???[/quote]

- er, that's the essence of productivity improvements, slick product/production engineering, economies of scale from offering Tier 1 supplier annual contracts north of 500,000 units .... In other words VW is a profitable, profit-based enterprise. Gee, in the days of US Government Motors and socialised bankers making multi-billions on taxpayer handouts one should be grateful there are some entities still undertaking good old manufacturing enterprise for an honest return - Henry Ford and his five-dollar day maunfacturing revolution would be proud! And yes, this Golf will wipe the floor with the Focus RS. It is worth what sufficient customers are willing to pay for it. Given the Bank of England has just printed/conjured out of thin air £175bn I would consider 28,000 pounds extremely good value - wait until the full extent of the expansion of the money supply is shown and hyperinflation hits UK next year; you'll be lucky to buy such metal for less than £50k.

15 September 2009

The Golf R20 looks set to be a great everyday car with excellent performance capacities. Its got the understated aggressive looks that a car of its type should have, its got the 4WD system which always comes in handy, and its got the image.

People who say the Focus RS is better need to stop dreaming and wake up. First of all its a Focus, no matter how much power, kit it got its a Focus. The RS looks like a Chavs car, which is not a good thing

Also the focus feels cheap, poor quality fitting and finish, the golf has a way better image, the R20 does not look like a Chavs car and will be more usable on a ever day basis.

Also people who say the focus has got 300bhp and the R20 261 bhp need to think before they start typing, the focus has more bhp but it does not mean it will be the faster car overall. First of all the fords FWD the R20 4WD advantage Golf.

How much of that so called 300bhp is the focus RS actually putting down on the road...... it wont be all 300bhp most of it will be wasted spinning away. An example is the Nissan GTR 4WD , it can do faster laps then most AMG Mercs, M cars, 911 etc because one thing it does well is put all its power down on the road well.

The golf R20 has less bhp but i can bet you it will put all its power on the road, unlike the fwd ford. This is one of the benefits of 4WD.

15 September 2009

A wonderful new Golf with extreme power that will be as efficient as the German transport system.

Shame I don't want one, give me the RS

...I smell a horse

Global Warming.. My Rs

15 September 2009

I agree its well engineered, but i just cant get past how dreadfully dull the Golf looks now!

I dont want a focus RS either so it isnt that.

I just see a golf now and yawn.

15 September 2009

We should also take into account that the old-school Focus 5-pot engine makes it more nose-heavy. The Golf must be more balanced overall


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