The family is complete. Volkswagen has launched the final key member of the new eighth-generation range of its iconic small car – the 2021 Golf R.
At first glance it follows the same tried and tested formula for the range-topping performance variant, but beneath the surface there are some important changes.
Under the bonnet is an upgraded version of the brand’s venerable ‘EA888’ 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine. It has been bumped from 213kW/380Nm to 235kW of power and 420Nm of torque. It’s still paired with a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission.
While that’s not a huge change, Volkswagen has made a very significant change to the Golf R’s all-wheel drive system. Now known as 4Motion with R-Performance Torque Vectoring, the new system is a major step forward from the previous model because it can now distribute torque to each individual wheel, instead of just the front or rear axle.
The all-wheel drive system is linked to the Vehicle Dynamics Manager (VDM) which integrates the electronic differential locks and adaptive chassis control to improve handling even further.
The results is a significantly faster car, with Volkswagen claiming its Nurburgring lap time is 7m51secs, which is 19 seconds quicker than the out-going model.
It can also manage the 0-100km/h sprint in 4.7 seconds and has an electronically-limited top speed for 250km/h.
Local specifications and pricing for the new Golf R won’t be available until closer to its launch, which is expected to wait until 2022.
In the meantime, the new eighth-generation Golf GTI is due to land in local showrooms in early 2021. The new hot hatch has the same 2.0-litre four-pot turbo, tuned to make 180kW/370Nm but only driving the front wheels.