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Geneva show: Volkswagen readies new Golf R

Melting point: The new AWD Golf R will be set loose from its digital ice prison on February 11.

New-generation Volkswagen Golf R and Golf wagon set for Geneva debuts


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29 Jan 2013

THE countdown to the new-generation Volkswagen Golf R is on, with the German company announcing plans to reveal the car on February 11.

The reveal is scheduled to take place almost one month before its expected first public appearance at the Geneva motor show on March 7, where it will debut in the metal alongside the new-generation Golf wagon.

Volkswagen this week placed a single teaser image on its German website showing the car hidden inside a rendered ice cube, accompanied by a timer counting down to the nearest second when the visage will ‘de-frost’.

It is unclear whether Volkswagen will reveal the production model on February 11, or whether it will instead reveal an almost production-ready concept, as it did with the new Golf GTI at the Paris motor show last September.

Little has been revealed officially, but the new R is expected to retain the Haldex all-wheel-drive layout of its predecessors by adopting the same four-paw architecture as the all-new Audi S3 quattro.

The S3 connection is expected to carry through to the engine, with the top dog of the Golf range understood to use a version of the Audi’s newly developed 221kW/380Nm turbocharged 2.0-litre TFSI EA888 engine matched to six-speed manual or DSG dual-clutch transmissions.

In comparison, the old 2.0-litre unit in Volkswagen’s current Golf R – on sale in Australia since June 2010 – produces 188kW and 330Nm.

The new-generation Golf R is expected to hit Australian showrooms in the first half of 2014, around 12 months after the regular seventh-generation Golf range touches down in the second quarter of this year.

On the subject of all-wheel-drive Golf variants, Volkswagen this week officially launched its new Golf 4Motion in Europe. The diesel-only range is underpinned by a lighter and more efficient fifth-generation Haldex permanent AWD system, and in Germany adds €1800 ($A2320) to the starting price.

However, don’t expect to see this system Down Under any time soon as Volkswagen Australia general manager of communications Karl Gehling told GoAuto there were no plans to bring the car here.

Instead, the Golf 4Motion is targeted at cold climates, with four-paw traction almost a necessity in places with regular snowfall.

The imminent European release of the 4Motion, wagon, R and GTI Golf variants are sure to add to the early success of regular versions of the Golf 7.

Speaking in Wolfsburg, Germany, last week, Volkswagen AG chairman Martin Winterkorn said early sales of the new model across Europe has exceeded expectations, with more than 100,000 orders already taken.

Dr Winterkorn revealed in his speech that the new Golf Estate (wagon) will take a bow in Geneva in March, although no other details are known.

Expect the new version to be based on a stretched version of the hatchback’s modular MQB platform.

Australian-specific details of the new wagon are unclear, although a local launch in early 2014 appears the most likely prospect.

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