Everything we know so far about the new Golf R
And there's a nasty surprise in store...
The Golf R has long since been a firm favourite among petrolheads across the globe and, in recent years, has outsold the Golf GTI in the UK. This immense popularity can be boiled down to three key factors - performance, practicality and price. After the old Mk7 Golf R took the motoring world by storm, will the new Mk8 be able to live up to expectations?
The headline statistics are promising - VW's new flagship Golf will produce 329bhp from a turbocharged 2 litre unit, which should propel the car from 0 to 60 in around 4.5 seconds (0.7 seconds quicker than the Mk7). The new Golf R will also be fitted with the same Haldex four wheel drive system as the old car, although there are rumours of a new 'Drift Mode', a function previously seen on the Mercedes A45 AMG and the (now defunct) Focus RS.
This performance hasn't come at the expense of practicality, either. The new Golf's boot is almost exactly the same as in the previous model and therefore still far more capacious than rivals such as the Ford Focus and the Mercedes A Class. It has been confirmed that the new Golf R will be offered with 5 doors, although it is unclear whether Volkswagen will offer an estate version.
The price of the new Golf R has also not yet been confirmed, although it is safe to assume that it will be in the region of £30,000 and should undercut rivals such as the A35 AMG by a considerable margin.
Can the new Golf R live up to the success of the Mk7? (Image Credits: Malusi Msomi)
However, there are unconfirmed reports that the new Golf R will only be offered with a 7 speed DSG automatic. If so, the Mk8 may fail to capture the imagination of its target market of car enthusiasts. Even in the US, around half of Golf Rs are sold with a manual, which makes me question whether the new Mk8 will share the success of its predecessor. The option of a manual gearbox has been the Golf R's USP in recent years - very few rivals provide the option of three pedals. Without this option, will buyers shun the Golf in favour of more premium rivals? Only time will tell.
Although I have no doubt that the Mk8 Golf R will be even more capable than its venerable predecessor, it is hard to tell whether it will be as much of a sales success. Either way, expect to see the new Golf R in showrooms by the end of the year.
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