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Driven: Golf R Wagon heralds VW Wolfsburg editions

Wolf's clothing: Volkswagen's Golf R hatch and Wagon will be the first local models to wear the Wolfsburg badge, but more are on the way.

Volkswagen Golf R Wagon kicks off Wolfsburg variants for Australia

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Volkswagen logo24 Sep 2015

VOLKSWAGEN’S first Wolfsburg-branded model to hit the Australian market is generating such significant interest that the car maker will roll out the exclusive line to “other premium models in the range”.

For now, the German car-maker's hyper wagon will be the flag-bearer, with the freshly released R Wagon only available in styling-enhanced Wolfsburg variety, priced from $58,990 before on road costs, but will herald more tweaked VWs.

The Wolfsburg additions will also be available for the hatchback costing $4250 more than the regular Golf R priced from $56,990.

Speaking at the launch of the new Golf R Wagon, Volkswagen Group Australia communications general manager Karl Gehling told GoAuto “we are looking to offer Wolfsburg editions on other premium models in the range,” but a non-Wolfsburg R wagon was also under consideration.

“We would certainly consider it. The interest in the car is good to see and we will investigate if we can offer additional variants. We’d certainly be looking at whether or not we could extend beyond the Wolfsburg edition.”

With a lack of high-performance wagons in the Volkswagen range since the V6-engined Passat R36 was discontinued, Mr Gehling said that the new offering was generating significant interest.

“It’s a special edition with restricted production for the Golf R Wagon so our biggest concern is the number of vehicles we will have available to us. At this stage we have over 300 but we are trying to secure more because we have much more interest in the car.

“We haven’t had a performance wagon in our line up since the R36. That was a very successful model for us and this is a return to offering that nice balance of performance and practicality.”

Apart from its big boot and more exclusive Wolfsburg additions, the R Wagon is identical to its hatchback equivalent sibling. The wagon version costs $6250 more than the standard hatch but adds value with the larger load area and unique Wolfsburg kit.

Its aesthetic features set it apart from unlimited versions with gloss black 19-inch Pretoria wheels, matching door mirror caps, roof rails and the limited Wolfsburg boot badge, while unique tech features include adaptive cruise control, autonomous city braking and blind spot monitoring are also standard.

The Wolfsburg treatment adds to the safety features with an occupant protection system that closes windows and tensions the seat belts if the stability control system detects that a collision is likely.

If fitted, the optional $1850 panoramic sunroof is also closed, but stays ajar to allow airbag gasses to escape if a significant impact occurs.

Interiors are treated to unique weave-effect fine Nappa leather upholstery, while exteriors can be specified in either Lapiz Blue or Limestone Grey, while the third paint option – Oryx White – is exclusive for the R Wagon.

Despite its bigger boot, the wagon has only gained 74kg over the hatchback version which has impacted performance marginally. The zero to 100km/h dash takes 5.2 seconds versus the 5.0 seconds dead of the hatch.

All other Wolfsburg Edition features align with the regular Golf R starting with the 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine and all-paw drivetrain, which is essentially the same as the upmarket Audi S3's configuration.

Its Haldex 5 4Motion transmission sends 206kW and 380Nm of torque to all four corners via a six-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. Fuel consumption takes a small dent with the added weight – up to 7.2 litres per 100km from the 7.1L/100km of the hatch.

The R-style rear bumper lends the wagon a more purposeful look compared with the standard varieties, and gloss black diffuser, dual tailpipes, and tinted lights and window glass complete the sportier back end look.

Up front the sports treatment continues with a large-vented R bumper, gloss black grille and Bi-Xenon headlights with matching daytime running lights.

Like the Golf R hatch, the wagon's interior gets sporty touches such as aluminium pedals with matching highlights on the gear selector and three-spoke steering wheel.

Its 605-litre boot offers an extra 261 litres of luggage space over the hatchback, or a total of 1620 litres and space for 1831mm long items when the 60/40 split rear seats are folded.

The boot area can be covered with a roller blind, which stores neatly under the boot floor when not in use, and is furnished with a cargo net, 12-volt charging socket and shopping bag hooks.

Ambient blue interior lighting matches the unique blue gauge needles and the 6.5-inch information display flashes up an 'R' when the driver's door is opened.

Occupants can connect with the Discover Media entertainment system via App-Connect, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto while USB, SD card, Bluetooth connectivity are also standard fare.

The chassis, consisting of MacPherson struts up front and a multi-link rear suspension, sits 20mm lower than regular Mk7 Golf wagons, and features EDL differential locks that work with electronic stability control and XDS+ brake cornering systems to assist handling and roadholding.

While the ESC software has been modified with higher intervention thresholds than in normal Golfs, R owners have the ability to switch it off altogether.

Additionally, the steering is sharper with a progressive steering gear ratio that cuts wheel revolutions from 2.75 turns to 2.1 turns lock to lock.

Another R exclusive is the DCC adaptive chassis control system with comfort, normal, sport, race and individual settings that modify the throttle, steering, transmission and dampers according to driver preference.

Volkswagen Golf R Wolfsburg Edition pricing*
Hatch (a)$56,990
Wagon (a)$58,990
*Excludes on-road costs

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