Even though the newest generation Volkswagen Golf is not available yet in the United States, the German manufacturer has unveiled the hottest version in Frankfurt. The Golf R will feature a 296hp, turbocharged 4-cylinder engine with an insane 280lb/ft of torque. This new Golf should make the fast little Volkswagen the hottest of the hot hatches.
R is Volkswagen’s performance division. This is similar to what M does for BMW or AMG does for Mercedes-Benz. This current Golf R with be the fourth in the R-line of Golfs. All Golf R models featured all-wheel drive and cutting-edge performance technology. The first two were R32 models, featuring a natural-aspirated 3.2L V6 engine. The last generation (along with the current one) feature turbocharged 4-cylinder engines. While the GTI (a stepped down version of the R) tends to draw most of the performance enthusiast dollars, the Golf R is often considered a performance deal although it is a bit more expensive.
We have heard the analogy of the Golf R being an Audi S4 in Volkswagen guise, and the comparison is appropriate. The new Golf R will be down less than 40HP from the larger Audi vehicle, and both feature similar technology and all-wheel drive. Most likely, this vehicle will carry a price tag that is almost $10,000 less than the Audi when it goes on sale.
The hot hatch has become an automotive segment entirely on its own these days. At the entry level, there is the Fiat 500 Abarth and the magnificent Ford Fiesta ST. Moving upmarket enters the Mazdaspeed 3, Volkswagen Golf GTI, and Ford Focus ST. Finally, at the top of the heap will be the Golf R. Depending on the buyer’s budget, there will be a hot hatch waiting for them when the head to the local dealership.
The MKVII Golf will go on sale next year in the United States as a 2015 Model, and the Golf R will debut at some point after that. We would expect pricing to be in the $35,000 range.