Golf R: Volkswagen’s Hottest Hatch Yet


While the UK gets to enjoy many variants of hatchbacks, including offerings from Alfa Romeo, Citroen, and Renault, the U.S. market is still growing. Volkswagen has ruled over the performance hatchback market, only to see recent competition with the latest offerings from Ford; the Fiesta ST and Focus ST.

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The latest Golf R has taken things up another notch.

With 292 horsepower from its turbocharged and direct-injection EA888 TSI® engine, the all-new Golf R has 36 horsepower and 37 pound-feet torque more than the previous model. Despite the additional power and torque, the new R model is considerably more fuel-efficient than its predecessor, with an EPA estimated highway fuel economy rating of 30 mpg with the six-speed DSG transmission, up from 27 mpg for the previous, manual -transmission model. The six-speed DSG dual-clutch automatic transmission offers a launch control feature, enabling the car to complete the 0 to 60 mph sprint in just 4.9 seconds. The top track speed is 155 mph.

While the numbers are great, the greatest change VW incorporated is done, electronically.

Like all previous Golf R models, the new model transfers its power to the road via a permanent all-wheel-drive system; in this case, the latest version of the 4MOTION® system with a fifth-generation Haldex® coupling. To help ensure great chassis dynamics, there’s a new sport suspension, progressive variable-ratio steering, and a stability control system (“ESC Sport”) which can be deactivated for track driving. Other highlights include the optional DCC® adaptive damping system.

No more baby sitting from the electronics.  This is the perfect sleeper car.  It has power, it’s fuel-efficient, it has traction through all-wheel-drive in multiple weather conditions, practical space, and now, the ability to explore its dynamics on the track.

However, it does come at a price.

The Golf R will be launched in the U.S. in the first quarter of 2015 in four -door form only, initially with the DSG dual-clutch automatic transmission. There will be two models: the wellequipped Golf R and the technology-rich Golf R with DCC and Nav, with prices starting from $36,595 and $39,090 for DSG models.

While that may be considered pricey for a hatchback, this is no different from how hatchbacks are perceived in the UK.  Where else can you find so much performance and practicality wrapped up in a tout package?

[2014. Volkswagen. Volkswagen Announces Pricing for Golf R. [Press Release] Via]