The new Golf R was unveiled at the Frankfurt Motor Show today. It will be the most powerful and fastest-accelerating Golf ever produced. But the very best thing about this car is it will be arriving in the US within a year or so.
After the relatively poor sales performance for the Mk5 VW R32, it’s been rumored that VW of America may drop the six-cylinder model and go for a high-performance version using the 2.0 Turbo motor found in the Mk6 Golf GTI. With its 270hp motor derived from the Audi S3 combined with four-wheel drive, the Golf R, expected to be called R20 in the US, will be a breath or fresh air for VW enthusiasts.
While all of us will be sad to see the R32 absent from US shores, the good news is that the combination of a lighter four-cylinder motor will provide superior handling, while the motor can be cheaply modified, with output of more than 400hp available if you spend the money. We’ve also been assured that VWoA has learned from its mistake of limiting the Mk5 R32 to DSG transmissions only. The R20 will definitely have a manual option when it arrives here
Developed by Volkswagen Individual, not only is the new engine 77 lb lighter and 20hp more powerful than the 3.2-liter VR6 found in the outgoing Golf R32, it’s also more efficient. Economy rises from a combined 26.4mpg to 33.2mpg while CO2 emissions fall from 257g/km to 199g/km.
Despite the gains in efficiency the Golf R is faster and sharper– the new car can accelerate from 0-62mph in just 5.7 seconds. Equipped with a six-speed DSG gearbox, this figure falls to 5.5 seconds, while top speed is limited to 155mph.
The 1984cc, four-cylinder EA113 engine (as opposed to the EA888 fitted to the current Golf GTI) is derived from the Mk5 Golf GTI. To extract the extra power the block has been reinforced with an new alloy head, uprated pistons, connecting rods and high-pressure injectors. An uprated turbo, generating 1.2-bar of boost, is joined by a new intercooler to cope with the extra heat. The result is 265hp developed at 6000rpm and 258 lb-ft of torque at 2500rpm.
New 345mm diameter front brake rotors (rear: 310mm) are joined by uprated suspension that’s been lowered 25mm with revised spring and damper rates as well as new anti-roll bars. The Electronic Stabilization Program (ESP) has also been revised for the Golf R, with two stages designed for track use. Finally, the electro-mechanical power steering system has been tweaked to sharpen responses.
Unlike the four-wheel drive system fitted to the R32 that relied on differing wheel speeds between the front and rear axles to engage the four-wheel drive, the system on the Golf R uses a pre-charged hydraulic system that’s able to react more quickly while also limiting the torque being channeled through either axle to reduce wheelspin. In extreme cases, up to 100% of the torque can be channeled to the rear wheels if required.
To set the Golf R apart from a conventional Golf or GTI, it’s fitted with new front and rear bumpers complete with LED running lights at the front and a gloss black rear diffuser housing two central-exit exhausts. A set of Xenon headlights plus a black grille and mirrors extend back to a set of sill extensions framed by 18-inch five-spoke wheels with 225/40 tires – 19-inch wheels with 235/35 tires are optional. At the back, unique rear light units lend the Golf R an aggressive look – the high-intensity LED bulbs hidden behind smoked lenses.
The changes continue inside the Golf R – a set of distinctive aluminum ‘R’ kick plates are joined by new seats finished in grey alcantara contrasted by high-grip black mesh cloth. Gloss black highlights appear throughout the interior, while electric blue needles are used in the revised instrument pod.
The new Golf R goes on sale at the end of 2009, with prices and specifications due to be announced nearer this time. But it could take another year for it to arrive in the US.