The most powerful production Golf ever will make its debut at the Frankfurt motor show next month before going on sale in the UK in November priced at around £23,000.
The first generation R32 was a surprise hit, selling three times Volkswagen’s initial estimates, and its replacement retains the same 3.2-litre V6 powerplant but has FSI technology (which provides finer, more efficient control of the fuel/air mix in the combustion chamber) for a 10bhp power hike to 247bhp.
Unlike the front-wheel drive 237bhp Astra and 250bhp Alfa 147 GTA, the Golf gains permanent four-wheel drive via Volkswagen’s 4Motion system for maximum traction. Standard cars get a six-speed manual transmission, with the VW Group’s dual-clutch six-speed DSG available as an option. Go for this automated manual and the 0-62mph dash is cut from the manual car’s 6.5sec to a VXR-matching 6.2sec (both faster than the old car’s 6.6sec), while top speed is up 2mph to 155mph.
With the much-improved dynamics of the Golf Mk5, handling should take a step forward over the 2002 R32, which Autocar described as the ‘best hot Golf for a decade’. The traction from the new model’s four-wheel-drive system is sufficient that Volkswagen has not felt the need to increase its tyre footprint over the old car’s 225/40s. The 18in alloys wrapped by those tyres are an evolution of the old car’s multi-spoke pattern, but now boast 20 spokes with blue brake callipers hauling on 345mm front and 310mm rear discs (up 33mm and 54mm on the original R32’s).