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Frankfurt show: VW’s 199kW Golf R blasts in

R rated: The VW Golf R is set to head Down Under next year.

Volkswagen unveils its most powerful, fastest Golf at Frankfurt

16 Sep 2009

A RAUCOUS R-rated all-wheel drive version of Volkswagen’s Golf VI blasted into the Frankfurt motor show this week, complete with the hot-tuned version of the MkV GTI’s 2.0-litre turbocharged engine – upped to 199kW in this case, which makes it the most powerful and fastest-accelerating Golf of all time.

This is the same ‘EA113’ engine to feature overseas in both the Scirocco R and the Leon Cupra R from VW’s Spanish brand Seat – the latter also having made its world debut in Frankfurt – and its emergence in the Golf now looks to have smoked the chances of the R-rated Scirocco being sold here.

Australia is, of course, a nation that knows and loves the Golf, and this new R model – which will be the successor to the current MkV R32 – is now on track for release Down Under in 2010.

3 center imageTo follow the long-overdue MkVI GTI, which will be launched in Australia next month, the Golf R forgoes the all-new 155kW ‘EA888’ engine found in the GTI (and the Scirocco GT) for the modified direct-injection version of the EA113 unit, which VW has tweaked further to add a handful of kilowatts that come within a breath of 200kW.

Peak torque is the same as in the Scirocco R: 350Nm from 2500-5000rpm.

The powertrain switch, from V6 in the R32 to previous-generation turbo four, comes as no surprise. As GoAuto reported some months ago, Volkswagen had all but confirmed that it would drop the R32’s 3.2-litre V6 as it continues on a path towards simpler, lighter performance vehicles powered by smaller, more fuel-efficient forced-induction engines.

The EA113 was chosen because it is easier and less costly to modify than the newer EA888 2.0 TSI. And it is far from outdated, featuring a reinforced cylinder block and new cylinder head with higher compression ratio, plus upgraded pistons and conrods, higher-pressure injectors and a different intercooler to deal with increased boost pressure of 1.2 bar.

For Golf performance diehards, the R will be the right medicine to clear up the mild disappointment that might have come with the Golf VI GTI’s power output, which despite out-muscling the 147kW MkV GTI, falls short of the previous 169kW ‘Pirelli’ and ‘Edition 30’ specials.

Leaving no room for argument, the Golf R is well ahead of the current AWD R32, which churns out 184kW at 6300rpm and 320Nm from 2500-3000rpm, and can accelerate from 0-100km/h in 6.2 seconds with the DSG dual-clutch gearbox (6.5 seconds with the manual).

As well as being more powerful, the R’s turbo-four engine is 35kg lighter – and more efficient – and can complete the same acceleration benchmark in 5.5 seconds with DSG, or 5.7 with the manual.

That is enough for Volkswagen to claim the R is the fastest Golf ever produced, although we should not overlook the awesome (and albeit one-off concept) mid-engine rear-drive model at Wörthersee in 2007, which used a Bentley-sourced 477kW/750Nm 6.0-litre W12 – and which flew from 0-100km/h in 3.7 seconds. Top speed of the ‘GTI W12’ was 325km/h.

The production Golf R, meanwhile, is limited to 250km/h and its fuel consumption is rated at 8.5L/100km, which is a massive 21 per cent improvement over the R32 (10.7L/100km).

Having emerged from the Volkswagen Individual special projects unit, the Golf R has a number of exclusive features, including LED tail-lights and LED daytime running lights.

It has 345mm diameter front brake discs (310mm at the rear), while the front strut/rear multi-link suspension is, compared to GTI, lowered by 25mm and includes revised spring and damper rates and new anti-rollbars.

The electronic stability control system has been revised with two stages designed for track use, and the electro-mechanical power steering system tweaked to sharpen responses.

The all-wheel-drive system has also been improved. Whereas the R32’s system relies on differing wheel speeds between the front and rear axles to engage 4WD, the Golf R uses a pre-charged hydraulic system that is able to react more quickly while also limiting the torque being channelled through either axle to reduce wheelspin.

Volkswagen claims that in extreme cases up to 100 per cent of the torque can be channelled to the rear wheels if required.

Other elements that set the Golf R apart from the GTI and others include bi-Xenon headlights, a new black grille and wing mirrors, new front and rear bumpers, a gloss black diffuser at the rear (housing a pair of central exit exhausts) and flared wheel-arches framing 18-inch five-spoke alloys wrapped in 225/40 tyres. VW will also offer 19-inch wheels with 235/35 tyres as an option.

Interior features include aluminium ‘R’ scuff plates, blue-needled instruments, gloss black detailing throughout and sports seats trimmed in a grey Alcantara/high-grip black mesh cloth combination.

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