Volkswagen shows off its new 235kW drift-ready Golf R

04 November 2020 - 13:15 By Motoring Reporter
The new eighth-generation Golf R sprints to 100km/h in 4.7 seconds.
The new eighth-generation Golf R sprints to 100km/h in 4.7 seconds.
Image: Supplied

Volkswagen on Wednesday revealed its all-new eighth-generation Golf R and, boy, does it promise to be a weapon. 

Slotting in above the GTI that launches locally early next year, the new Golf R is powered by a 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine that muscles out 235kW and a whopping 420Nm worth of torque. Mated to a newly developed seven-speed DSG transmission (bizarrely a six-speed manual gearbox is being made available for the US and Canada), Volkswagen claims that this flagship model will sprint to 100km/h in a mere 4.7 seconds.

Top speed is pegged at 250km/h but this can be increased to 268km/h with the fitment of the optional “R Performance Pack” that also bolts on larger 19-inch alloy wheels (18-inchers are standard), a dual-plane rear wing as seen on the GTI Clubsport as well as the addition of two additional driver profile modes - “Special” and “Drift”.

A new active torque-vectoring rear differential can send 100% of available torque to either the left or right rear wheel.
A new active torque-vectoring rear differential can send 100% of available torque to either the left or right rear wheel.
Image: Supplied

Select the former and all the car's main drive system parameters (mapping of the transmission, steering, traction control, dampers, exhaust and all-wheel drive system) are calibrated to best conquer the infamous Nürburgring Nordschleife - a circuit that the new Golf R recently lapped in an impressively rapid time of 7 minutes and 53 seconds.

The latter, however, is sure to become this super Golf's most celebrated party piece as it activates Volkswagen's new active torque-vectoring rear differential that allows for 100% of available torque to be transferred to either one of the rear wheels. Being a Haldex all-wheel drive system only 50% of the engine's power can ever be transferred to the rear, so this newfangled ability to overdrive an individual wheel (left or right) is sure to appease detractors by adding some much-wanted spice to the overall Golf R driving experience. 

The eighth-generation Golf R also sports a revised chassis for sharper handling at the limit. Key modifications include 10% stiffer springs and anti-roll bars, new rear control arm mounts and revised front suspension geometry that dials in more negative camber (-1°20’). Volkswagen also bolted in a new lightweight aluminium subframe that helps saves 3kg. In terms of braking, you can look forward to 357mm rotors on all four corners with double-piston front calipers. Made out of aluminium, these reduce mass by 60% per side.

On the aesthetic side of things, the new Golf R stands out from its lesser siblings thanks to a bespoke body kit that includes a new front bumper featuring a motorsport-style splitter and R-specific air intake grilles with high-gloss black elements. At the top of the radiator grille you'll find a blue crossbar, which lights up as an LED strip as soon as the engine starts and stretches all the way into the fenders to act as the daytime running lights.

Other notable differences take the shape of a unique set of side-skirts, satin chrome side mirror caps and a newly designed high-gloss black rear diffuser, framed by the chrome-plated twin tailpipes of the standard sport exhaust system. A lightweight Akrapovic system is available as a cost option. Only three exterior paint colours are currently on offer: Lapiz Blue Metallic, Pure White or Deep Black Pearl Effect. 

Standard interior features include carbon look dash panel décor, R-specific door trim, brushed stainless-steel pedal caps and driver footrest and 30-colour ambient lighting for the dash panel and doors that is synchronised with the display. 

According to VWSA the new Golf R will be with us either at the end of 2021 or in the first quarter of 2022. Pricing will be confirmed closer to launch.


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