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Frankfurt show: Golf’s kick in the R

Power play: Volkswagen’s all-new Golf R extracts 221kW from the 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine resting under its bonnet.

All-new Volkswagen Golf R hides a 221kW monster under the bonnet

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Volkswagen logo21 Aug 2013

VOLKSWAGEN has revealed a new version of its flagship Golf R, featuring a three- and five-door hatchback more than twice as powerful as a Toyota Corolla, yet using no more fuel.

The new R, due at next month’s Frankfurt motor show and featuring all-paw underpinnings mated to a turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine cranked up to 221kW in European specification, officially strips 0.8secs off the old model’s 0-100km/h sprint, dispatching it in 4.9secs when mated to a six-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission.

VW’s official release does not mention the torque output of the range-topping Golf, but the same engine is used in the Audi S3. Australian versions of that car will produce 206kW and 380Nm after its hot-weather detune.

Volkswagen Australia won’t say if the R sold here will get the same detune when it arrives before the middle of next year, priced around the $50,000 mark.

The R-badged Golf mated to a six-speed manual gearbox is a little slower – 5.1 secs from 0-100km/h – but that is still a 0.6secs improvement over the old slightly detuned 188kW R – VW usually strips off a few kilowatts to account for Australia’s hotter weather – launched here just over two years ago.

The new R’s tpp speed is electronically limited to 250km/h. It features a special front air dam, side skirts and rear diffuser to help it stand out from the regular Golf range.

However, while performance steps up into V6 territory, fuel use drops to something more akin to a manual version of a Toyota Corolla.

On the official European cycle, VW claims the Golf R will sip just 7.1 litres of premium fuel every 100 kilometres it travels – assuming the driver isn’t constantly tempted to tap the engine’s deep well of potential.

Once again, the engine’s power is laid down to all four corners – shod in new 18-inch alloys wearing the thinnest strip of liquorice we’ve seen on a Golf so far – via a Haldex coupling that can vary the drive from front to rear.

Down the rear, the R once again wears the now traditional quad-exhaust system.

The R squats 20mm lower than the more pedestrian Golf, and for the first time carries an “ESC Sport” mode to up the playfulness of the car’s electronic stability control system. For the first time, Volkswagen says, those who really want to grab the R by the scruff of the neck will be able to completely switch off all the electronic driver aids for the first time.

An option will be a dynamic suspension tune that includes a race mode.

Australian specifications are still a long way from being locked in – the car won’t even go on sale in Europe until late this year – but the show car boasts bi-Xenon headlights with double U-shaped LED daytime running lights, and dark red LED rear lights.

Inside, the Golf R underlines its position as the flagship of the model range with sport seats in a mix of fabric and synthetic suede, a leather-trimmed three-spoke sport steering wheel, ambience lighting, automatic climate control and a radio-CD system with touchscreen.

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