Currently reading: Frankfurt motor show: VW Golf R
Fastest ever VW Golf breaks cover; 0-62mph in 5.5sec

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.

“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.”


Read our review

Car review

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

Back to top

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

Twitter - follow all the latest VW reviews, news and video

Join the debate

Add a comment…
brakedust 22 September 2009

Re: VW Golf R revealed

I just wish Volkswagen had used the new 5-pot engine from the TT-RS (which was originally a VW unit anyway). Anyway, i like this new R. Lots of power, lower emissions, and nice styling tweaks. Whatever price they charge, you just know it's going to sell well.

JezyG 21 September 2009

Re: VW Golf R revealed

beachland2 wrote:

JezyG wrote:
4wd is good and RS is even better being FWD

i agree, the R is poor.

Thanks Beachball2 :o)

JezyG 21 September 2009

Re: VW Golf R revealed

Tom 3000 wrote:

JezyG wrote:
Lets take the figures from the S3 as a ballpark. The FWD RS hit's 60 in the same time as an S3 and same time to 100 but with FWD. But using your beloved 50-70 is 3.9 RS v 4.7 S3.

Now you're just being too generous to the Focus RS (0-62 in 5.9 seconds) conveniently disregarding a number of facts as follows.

The recently facelifted Audi S3 three door s-tronic gets to 62mph in 5.5 seconds.

0-100 mph times were 13.6 for the S3 and 13.9 for the RS.

0- 1km times were 25.5 for the S3 and 26.2 for the RS.

The above times do make a difference.

The times were under ideal conditions, but obviously life isn't like this. The RS can't even post quicker times under ideal conditions where wet/ice/corners aren't counted. If it really was the "same" or better, it should have caned the ideal condition times relative to the S3. Add in wet or frosty twisty road conditions (as we know, common in UK) (not to mention icy roads or gravel patches) and there is no comparison in favour of the S3 with quattro. RS would end up in the ditch if pushed (FWD spin and nose heavy equals worse grip plus understeer).

So to say S3 and focus RS are "the same" is totally inaccurate in the real world of variable weather and roads.

Not another one.......S tronic now :o( which it actually slower round a track than a manual so the RS is still faster. All this sillyness with the RS being in a ditch due to FWd is really getting silly, why are so many super car's RWD then? FWD actually gives more grip is but less fun than RWD in some situations. As has been said by numerous hacks and owners the grip of the RS has awsome grip like having a 4WD car. Hence why Ford dropped 4wd drivetrain. To think the RS will end up in a ditch even though it has huge amounts of grip next to a 4wd car is simply being too simplistic and quite silly. Otherwise all racing cars and supercars would be 4wd. LSD makes all the difference in both FWD and RWD applications. The RS is not actually that front end heavy would be a real numpty of a chassis engineer to do that weight balance is very good which is why the ST and RS are such good drivers cars.

As I have said befor the RS will keep up with EVo's and STi's even in difficult traction conditions. Please stop this silly 4wd is so good and RS is so poor being FWD that 250Bhp urban myth is no longer applicable....