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Volkswagen debuts Mk 8 Golf R, here 2022

Volkswagen takes its hi-po Golf R to new performance heights as well as drifting

4 Nov 2020

VOLKSWAGEN has at last unveiled its new Mk 8 Golf R with the all-paw performance flagship being gifted a considerable increase in power, two new drive modes and torque vectoring.


Debuting overnight in the USA, the new Golf R continues its trademark styling trend of being characteristically understated in its appearance with only a few subtle hints at its true identity.


At the front we find the same headlight arrangement and full-width LED strip as on the front-wheel-drive GTI with the biggest difference being its slatted lower intake which while as wide as the GTI’s, forgoes the integrated daytime running lights and honeycomb mesh.


In the place of the DRLs are a matching set of angular flicks which provide an under-biting expression to the fascia while simultaneously creating a designated set of intakes.


Between these lays a subtly integrated front splitter.


Other styling cues of note include a large roof mounted spoiler, quad exhaust tips, unique 19-inch alloy wheels, muscular body sculpting and pumped-up bodykit.


Unlike the new GTI, the Mk 8 Golf R has been treated to a series of mechanical upgrades and as such boasts a considerable bump in power compared to its Mk 7 counterpart.


Peak power and torque are now rated at 235kW and 420Nm respectively, marking a 14kW/40Nm increase for the European and American cars and a 22kW/40Nm jump over the current Australian cars.


As a result, the new model shaves two-tenths of a second off the Mk 7’s 4.9-second 0-100km/h time, now stopping the clock in a claimed 4.7s.


As before, power is channelled to the road by all four wheels through either a six-speed manual or seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission however the 4Motion system has been tweaked and now boasts rear-wheel torque vectoring.


Whereas the old model permanently split the torque 50:50 between the rear wheels, the new rear differential is able to direct up to 100 per cent of the available torque to either the left of right wheel depending on the driving conditions and grip levels.


To further enhance agility, engineers have increased the new mode’s spring rates and anti-roll bar rates by 10 per cent compared to the Mk 7.


Stopping power has been enhanced too thanks to beefier front brake discs – now 358mm x 33mm – and redesigned twin-pot callipers.


Volkswagen says that the power bumps combined with the Mk 8’s increased agility, grip and stopping power has shaved 17 seconds off the Mk 7’s Nurburgring lap time during “internal tests”.


This time spent at the Green Hell however has yielded one of the most noteworthy additions to the Golf R, that being a new ‘Special’ driving mode which effectively takes everything up to 11 as per Race mode, but then softens off the damping to make the car more composed over poor or rough road surfaces.


All of the usual Comfort, Sport, Individual and Race modes return, joined not only by ‘Special’ mode but also ‘Drift’ mode.


Meant exclusively for track use, Drift mode largely does what it says on the tin and backs off the parameters of the traction and stability control system along with the all-wheel-drive system to afford drivers some tail-out action as seen on the Mercedes-AMG A45 S and now-defunct Ford Focus RS.


Inside the cabin, the Golf R’s interior largely resembles that of the GTI and takes a far more digitalised approach with most key functions being accessed via the new 10-inch touchscreen infotainment system.


That said however, the R-embossed sports seats are unique to the Golf R while the trim accents have been finished in blue as opposed to the GTI’s red theme.


While Australia pricing and specification details are yet to be confirmed, the American Golf R’s at least will come as standard with Nappa leather upholstery, heated leather multifunction steering wheel, carbon look dash, R-specific door trim, brushed stainless-steel pedals and 30-colour ambient lighting.


According to a Volkswagen Group Australia (VGA) spokesperson, efforts are currently being made to try and secure the Golf R for a local launch in 2022 where it is hoped it will form part of “a three-pronged R line-up that also includes Tiguan R and T-Roc R”.


VGA has sold 8169 Golfs so far this year ending September, accounting for 10.2 per cent of the sub-$40,000 small car segment.

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