Volkswagen has provided more details about the range-topping Golf R that was shown at the 2011 Geneva Motor Show. It is set to arrive in the U.S. as a 2012 model. This November, production of the Stadeside-spec car will begin at VW’s Wolfsburg plant. This version has marked differences from the model that has already started to sell in Europe.
The Golf R still is powered by the 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine mated to its fourth-generation Haldex 4Motion all-wheel-drive system. The European car delivers 270hp and 258 pound-feet of torque, while the U.S. car is rumored to produce something closer to 256 hp and 243 lb-ft.
This is 56 hp and 36 lb-ft more than the standard GTI. The Golf R weighs around 3,300 pounds, making it 250 pounds lighter than the most recent R32. VW has yet to confirm this though. Volkswagen estimates that 0-62 mph acceleration will be in the 5.7- to 5.9-second range.
The Golf R will only be offered with a six-speed manual transmission in the U.S. European buyers may opt to have Volkswagen's slick-shifting DSG unit. Not offering the twin-clutch setup in the U.S. has raised questions, especially when you consider that the take rate on DSG in the less powerful GTI is around 50%.
Nevertheless, Volkswagen says that its research suggests that the large majority of U.S. consumers were demanding a row-your-own Golf R. Since VW had to keep the number of build options to a minimum to get the vehicle approved for release in the U.S., manual-only was the way they chose to go.
In the current production version of the Gulf, development engineers made sure that the chassis would have a first-class system. While the front has the McPherson strut suspension that many are familiar with, it also has telescoping shock absorbers and even helical springs. The rear part on the other hand utilizes a multi-link suspension that guarantees that the standard ESP would rarely be required to intervene.
Overall however, the basic layout was turned to a sport chassis considering that the ride height was lowered by 25 mm. To complement this, the dampers, springs, and stabilizers were all retuned. Since the Volkswagen Golf R delivers driving performance on a higher level, the brand made sure to improve the brake system as well.
Rather than the usual 16-inch system, it will instead be equipped with the 17-inch system with the internally ventilated discs and the R-specific brake calipers that come with high-gloss black paint and the R logo on it. The discs on the front measure 345 millimeters while the ones on the rear measure 310 millimeters.
While it still has the electronic stabilisation program, this ESP was improved. Through a simple touch of the ESP button, the vehicle can be switched immediately to its Sport mode. When running on a standard motorsport race circuit, one would expect to experience a fast and even curve-filled drive. What this ESP system does is that it delays any intervention and this allow for better responsive handling properties.
Inside the Golf R, the power-assist electro-mechanical steering was also retuned to give it a sportier feature. When a customer decides to include the optional dynamic DCC chassis control, it results in the power-assist steering giving more specially tuned characteristics to each of the driving modes which are Normal, Sport, and Comfort.
Due to the "Talladega" type alloy 18-inch wheels, this allows the chassis to retain contact with the road. These wheels come with the sized 225/40 tyres. Offered as an option are the 19-inch wheels with the sized 235/35 tyres.
The new VW Golf R has its interior and exterior features completely enhanced, similar to what was done in the Super Golf I back in 2002, the Super Golf II in 2005, and even its sister model, the VW Scirocco R. Indeed, the VW Golf R manages to have its own image plus a package of well-coordinated refinements, and this is all thanks to the brand’s own design team led by none other than Klaus Bischoff. It can be said that the new Golf R is the peak of this model series with its style continuing to follow the "La Semplicità" basic principle which was first proposed by Walter de Silva, VW Head of Group Design.
The exterior shows a number of customizations like new brakes, new wheels, and redesigned bumpers. Characterizing the bumper area in the front are the three large air intakes with its louvres coming in high-gloss black paint. In addition, the two intakes on the outside have incorporated to them standard LED strips that can also function as daytime running lights. Meanwhile on the radiator grille, its two louvres have been painted as well in high-gloss black.
On the right side of this grille, one can see the new R logo design in chrome. Bi-Xenon headlights can be equipped, at no surcharge, which helps shine a way through the night. The use of the Talladega wheels help the new Golf R become more recognizable when looked at its side, much like the side skirt extensions in body color, and the high-gloss black mirror housings.