Volkswagen unveiled the new Golf R.
This car boasts 315 horsepower, 27 more than the outgoing U.S. model, as well as 310 pound-feet of torque. With standard 4Motion all-wheel drive, the Golf R can sprint from 0 to 100 kmh in just 4.7 seconds, on its way to a top track speed of 250 kmh.
Other standout features of the new Golf R include a newly developed torque vectoring 4Motion all-wheel-drive system and a Vehicle Dynamics Manager. The new 4Motion setup features selective wheel torque control on the rear axle—the new rear differential distributes the power between the front and rear axles, and also between the two rear wheels As a first, the all-wheel drive is also networked via a Vehicle Dynamics Manager (VDM) with other running gear systems such the electronic differential locks (XDS) and the DCC adaptive damping system.
The exterior design of the new Golf R includes a new front bumper featuring a motorsport-style splitter and R-specific air intake grilles, with high-gloss black elements. At the top of the radiator grille, the Golf features a blue crossbar which lights up as an LED strip as soon as the engine starts and stretches all the way into the fenders to act as the daytime running lights.
The R is a five-door model. The features of the R-model’s side design include 19-inch aluminum-alloy wheels paired with summer performance tires, exclusive side skirts, matte chrome exterior mirror caps that project the R logo onto the road when the doors are opened and closed, and a 0.8-inch lower stance than the standard production model. Blue brake callipers, adorned with an R logo on the front, peek through the 19-inch wheels.
Another design element for the Golf R is the rear bumper, which now incorporates a newly designed high-gloss black diffuser. It is framed at the sides by elegant, chrome-plated twin tailpipes for the standard sport exhaust system.
The new Golf R can be configured in three different colours. Lapiz Blue Metallic is the signature colour for the R, but it will also be available in Pure White or Deep Black Pearl Effect.
The new Golf R is equipped with the standard Discover Pro infotainment system and the Digital Cockpit configurable instrument panel. The 10-inch Discover Pro touchscreen display greets the driver with a new R welcome screen when the vehicle is opened with the vehicle key.
The driver and front passenger sit on sport seats, with Nappa leather seating surfaces. The heated and multifunction leather steering wheel has a design with ergonomically shaped DSG paddles and an R button for direct selection of the various driving profiles. A more forceful press of the R button also activates Race profile directly. Like other eighth-generation Golf models, the Golf R features “touch” controls on the steering wheel with haptic feedback to the driver.
Other standard equipment includes carbon-look dash panel décor, R-specific door trim, brushed stainless-steel pedal caps and driver footrest; and 30-colour ambient lighting for the dash panel and doors that are synchronized with the display.
Powertrain and Chassis
The 1,984 cc four-cylinder turbocharged TSI engine in the new Golf R is currently the most powerful EA888 powerplant. This enhanced fourth-generation design (evo4) delivers 315 horsepower, 27 more than the engine in the last U.S. Golf R. Maximum torque has risen from 280 to 310 pound-feet, available from just 2,100 rpm and remains constant at this high level up to speeds of 5,350 rpm. The engine also features very efficient thermal management with a short warm-up phase.
The engine also features variable valve timing on both the intake and exhaust cams, with a variable valve lift on the exhaust side. This permits control of gas exchange with respect to performance, consumption and exhaust emissions. The engine transfers its power to the standard 6-speed manual transmission—a key feature for the U.S. and Canadian markets—or an optional 7-speed DSG dual-clutch automatic transmission.
The Golf R comes equipped with an all-wheel-drive system, exclusive in North American Volkswagen models to the new Golf R. A newly developed rear differential distributes the power variably between the front and rear axles—and, now, between the left and right rear wheels. The differential from the 4Motion drive system normally transfers the power in a 50:50 ratio via a multi-plate clutch to the left and the right-hand rear wheels, even when the differential lets them rotate at different speeds when cornering. The new 4Motion all-wheel-drive system with torque vectoring, however, can also distribute the torque variably between both rear wheels, with up to 100 percent able to be directed to the wheel on the outside of the bend.
The driver can influence the way in which the all-wheel-drive system and the stability systems interact via the standard driving profile selection (Comfort, Sport, Race and Individual). The R button on the steering wheel takes the Golf R driver straight to the driving profile selection.
The car features a strut-type front and a multi-link rear suspension. The engineers increased the negative camber (-1°20’) on the front axle to allow higher cornering speeds and also improve stability. A new aluminum subframe helped to reduce the weight of the front suspension by 6.6 pounds.
Volkswagen has introduced a new driving dynamics control system for the Golf Mk 8: the Vehicle Dynamics Manager. In the Golf R, the intelligent system not only closely integrates the electronic differential locks (XDS) and cornering performance of the DCC system but also—for the first time—the 4Motion all-wheel-drive system during every driving maneuver. In this process, adapting the individual wheel damping (200 times a second) can help with particularly agile and accurate handling.
The Vehicle Dynamics Manager also enables an exact calculation of optimal clutch control for the selective wheel torque control function. In parallel to this, targeted braking intervention on the vehicle side on the inside of a bend further reduces understeer in the transition and limit ranges. Traction is improved by increased locking in the selective wheel torque control. The program can also help optimize yaw and load change damping at high speeds.
The new Golf R includes new “Special” and “Drift” driving profiles in addition to the traditional Comfort, Sport, Race and Individual profiles in Driving Mode Selection. The Sport profile is the dynamic and ideal basic mode for the Golf R.
- The Comfort profile is tailored more for a high level of comfort, while still offering a high degree of steering precision. In the Race profile, the coasting function (freewheeling without drive power) is deactivated, the engine sound is increased, and the DSG, DCC, steering and the all-wheel-drive system are adjusted.
- In the Special driving profile, all of the main drive system parameters were configured for the Nordschleife—including the new 4Motion all-wheel-drive system. The result is that the DSG dual-clutch automatic version of the Golf R is up to 17 seconds quicker in internal tests on the Nürburgring Nordschleife than its predecessor. Compared to Race mode, the Special profile has softer damping settings, to make sure the Golf R can maintain maximum contact with the road on the undulating Nordschleife. The lateral behaviour and all-wheel-drive controls are optimized to handle the corners of the Nürburgring. Furthermore, downshifts in automatic DSG mode, depending on the brake pressure, complement the braking ahead of corners.
- In Drift profile (meant for track use only), the parameters for the ESC stability control (change to ESC Sport) and the distribution of power via the all-wheel-drive system enable the Golf R to drift. To help ensure that the profile is only selected on private roads, the infotainment system always displays a confirmation prompt before it is activated.
- In the Individual profile, the driver can precisely adjust and save their own driving profile using a digital slider. In profiles below Comfort, this results in even greater comfort. In profiles above Race, the tuning becomes even more dynamic and very direct; minimum roll is then combined with maximum agility. Using the ESC button, the driver is also able to deactivate ESC separately while on the racetrack.
When the Golf R is started, ESC is always active as a full system. However, drivers of the most powerful Golf can adapt ESC in two stages. In ESC Sport mode, the ESC and traction control (ASR) slip thresholds are increased to reduce the intensity of interventions. In ESC Off mode, experienced drivers can additionally deactivate ESC altogether for all driving situations. However, Front Assist reactivates the full ESC system in emergencies.
To make sure this Golf can be braked confidently from top track speed, the R has been equipped with an improved braking system. In the past, the R had front discs that were 13.4 inches in diameter and 1.2 inches wide: now they are 14.1 inches by 1.3 inches wide. The front callipers have two pistons, made of aluminum that reduce mass by 60 percent per side. A larger brake master cylinder ensures a crisp, precise response in combination with sporty and short brake pedal travel.