The king that practically coined the term hot hatch is finally back with the R designation. The 2021 Volkswagen Golf R is based on the latest MK8 chassis with loads more power and loads more tech. Now every time a new model comes out, there’s always “new tech” but what does it mean for the Golf R?
For starters, the engine is still a 2.0-litre turbocharged engine but now with 315hp and 420Nm of torque. An increase of 27hp and 41Nm of torque as compared to the predecessor, the MK7.5R. Now with two new driving modes. Firstly, a “Special” mode and more importantly, a “Drift” mode for your inner hooligan.
Every mode for every mood.
Remember when the Focus RS came out with a drift mode and it made headlines for the hot hatch scene, the Golf R now joins the “Drift” mode party. Made possible with a performance-oriented torque-vectoring AWD system. The new Golf R can send 100% of the rear end torque to each of the rear wheels independently. Couple that with a locking front diff and a high-tech computer that is consistently monitoring your speed and inputs on the wheel, Volkswagen says it will help eliminate understeer and reduce the car’s cornering radius. All of this apparently makes the Golf R “noticeably more” agile.
The “Special” mode has been tailored for the Nurburgring, which let’s be honest, most of us do not have access to. The most likely place that we would be able to apply the mode would be either Sepang International Circuit or even Ulu Yam for the racers at heart. For those racers too would be glad to know that the Golf R now has a sport-tuned suspension with stiffer springs and anti-roll bars. The boffins at Volkswagen too added a lightweight aluminium subframe as well as allowing the car to achieve higher cornering speeds while improving it’s stability by increasing the negative camber.
Unfortunately, an option for a manual gearbox will only be available in the North American market and everyone else will only get the superior seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox (DSG). Regardless of which gearbox you opt for (or the DSG, since we don’t really have a choice), the Golf R will do the century sprint of 4.7 seconds and if you have a road long enough, it will reach to a limited top speed of 250km/h.
How can you differentiate an R from a GTI?
The looks of the new Golf R have been beefed up with a sportier front bumper with large air intake ducts. A unique grille now distinguishes the car from it’s GTI sibling with a blue crossbar that illuminates as soon as the engine powers into life. The Golf R is now 20mm closer to the ground as compared to the regular Golf. On the rear end, a new larger spoiler has been added and 4 real exhaust pipes, the Germans has finally come to their senses.
If the standard Golf R is a bit too dull for your liking, worry not as Volkswagen will be offering an upgraded R-Performance pack which bumps up the limited top speed to 271km/h. With the pack, the regular 18” alloy wheels will be uprated to 19” alloy wheels. With extra power comes extra stopping power, the performance pack brake rotors are 17mm larger than the previous model which now brings it up to 357mm but with the added benefit of a weight loss of 600g.
Simplistic interiors be gone, it’s now the future.
The interior is a step up to the Golf GTI as the tartan seats and red bits are now thrown out in favour of Nappa leather as standard and fancy embossed ‘R’ logos. The interior is now black and blue as to suit the R range of Volkswagen line. An ‘R’ button has been added which immediately puts the car in it’s sportiest setting in a single click. Volkswagen too has kindly added a lap timer, horizontal rev counter with shift lights and also a G-meter which is cool but hardly necessary.
How much will it cost?
The Golf R is rumoured to be priced at around £37,000 (or slightly above RM201,000 before local taxes and shipping) and if you plan on getting the R Performance pack, that will most likely set you a smidge above £40,000 (or RM217,000) for the whole package. At that price point in the UK, you’re talking Mercedes-Benz A35 AMG money and that’s a rather impressive car too. Pre-orders are to start in early November in Europe with Malaysia most likely being in the later 2021.