Currently reading: New Volkswagen Golf R to launch as 329bhp mega-hatch
Final petrol-powered Golf R brings styling updates and interior tech makeover; to be unveiled in summer

The new Volkswagen Golf R is set to be among the final petrol-powered R-badged models as the performance brand prepares to go all-electric by 2030.

Wearing a new look and featuring the same overhauled cabin as the other Mk8.5 Golf models, the four-wheel-drive mega-hatch is tipped to produce 329bhp – up from 316bhp in the outgoing car – in line with the closely related Audi S3, with a small torque boost to 310lb ft.

Volkswagen previously showed the R in public for the first time, putting it on display in prototype form – alongside the already-revealed GTI, GTE and eHybrid variants – at the Zell am See ice race in Austria earlier this year. 

Wearing a commemorative '50 years of Golf' camouflage livery, the new car took to the ice circuit as part of a celebration of Volkswagen's four-wheel-drive performance brand, ahead of its full unveiling this summer.

Head of the division Reinhold Ivan said: “Volkswagen R is Volkswagen’s premium performance brand and has stood for sportiness and dynamic performance for more than 20 years. Here at the Ice Race, the past meets the future. We can hardly wait for the Golf R, still disguised here, to celebrate its premiere this summer.” 

Like the standard Golf and GTI, the R has not been visually reinvented, but will follow them in gaining a new interior that seeks to right criticisms of the eighth-generation Golf line-up, with a new infotainment system, the reintroduction of physical buttons and a raft of higher-quality cabin materials. 

It will be marked out externally from the current R by a new illuminated Volkswagen emblem and new-generation LED matrix headlights - alongside, no doubt, extra colour and trim options - including the new R-badged alloys worn by this prototype.

VW has given no indication of specific performance figures, but 2022's special-edition Golf R 333 – the most expensive Golf yet sold – had a top speed of 167mph and a 0-62mph sprint time of 4.6secs. 

The firm has shown the R in hatchback form, but earlier prototype sightings confirm that the Golf R estate will make a return as a rival to the recently updated Mercedes CLA 35 shooting brake. 

Prices will be given closer to launch, but a slight premium over the current £43,215 is expected.


Read our review

Car review

The Mk7 Golf R departed as a legend, so where can the new one possibly go from there?

Felix Page

Felix Page
Title: News and features editor

Felix is Autocar's news editor, responsible for leading the brand's agenda-shaping coverage across all facets of the global automotive industry - both in print and online.

He has interviewed the most powerful and widely respected people in motoring, covered the reveals and launches of today's most important cars, and broken some of the biggest automotive stories of the last few years. 

Join the debate

Add a comment…
xxxx 12 June 2024

As with past Gti's and Golf R's one of its best attributes is kept, not looking like it's a Halfords special. Kept in production whilst others have withered.

Bar room lawyer 28 January 2024

WOW it's a "Hot Golf", and, it looks like a Golf!

Peter Cavellini 15 November 2023

Starting to look like a fading Rockstar who has resorted to Botox and a facelift,it's starting to look old,great though the GTi has been its now getting shown up, VW should have moved the styling on years ago,plus the aftermarket tuners did do it, it's kind of moved on from the 25-30 age group to the 40-50 group,let's hope the EV GTi can save the iconic badge.

And so what actually 28 January 2024

these comments are so cringy