The ultimate Golf is here! And this time, the flagship hot hatchback has more power and an all-new badge to boot.
The replacement for the R32 is being referred to within VW as the R-Series Turbo, but it’s likely to be called the R20T, hinting at its engine capacity. And our exclusive pictures show how the most powerful Golf ever will look when it eclipses the GTI at the top of the range.
VW is ditching the R32 name, along with the 3.2-litre V6 that’s powered the previous two cars, Auto Express has learned. In its place will be a tuned version of the GTI’s four-cylinder 2.0-litre turbocharged engine.
A bigger turbo, as well as tweaks to the ECU, will ensure the car has a power output of around 270bhp – that’s more than 20bhp above the outgoing V6. What’s more, as the unit is lighter, the R20T should weigh roughly the same as the GTI.
But with all that extra power on tap, it will deliver scintillating pace, with the 0-60mph sprint arriving in about five seconds. That’s a full second-and-a-half quicker than the MkV R32, and only a few tenths shy of BMW’s V8-engined M3. Top speed will be limited to 155mph.
The same engine will power an R20T version of the Scirocco. This was previewed by the Studie R concept at Italy’s Bologna Motor Show last year.
Although a VW spokesman refused to confirm whether the Golf would be driven by the front or all four wheels, the latter is more likely – as on the heavier and thirstier R32. This will help to put all that power on to the tarmac, as well as provide high levels of grip.
The engine will channel its power through a choice of a six-speed manual gearbox or VW’s DSG dual-clutch set-up. And as the unit is smaller and lighter, the R20T will offer significant improvements in fuel economy and emit less CO2 than the car it replaces.
VW’s designers have taken the understated looks of the R32 to the next level. A deep front spoiler with integrated LED headlights – a styling cue borrowed from sister company Audi – takes inspiration from the Concept BlueSport seen at January’s Detroit exhibition, while flared wheelarches, wider tyres and lowered suspension provide further clues to its potential.
At the rear, in true R-series style, twin pipes exit close to the centre-line of the car. Plus, a ‘sound-optimised’ exhaust system should ensure the R20T delivers noise to match its looks.
A roof spoiler and underbody diffuser both help to increase downforce and keep the car planted at high speeds, too.
Reports suggest that the R20T will make its public debut at the Nürburgring 24-hour race in Germany in May, before going on sale in UK showrooms early next year. Prices will start from around £25,000 for the three-door, with the five-door costing £2,000 more – pitching the VW head-to-head with the Ford Focus RS and Subaru Impreza STi.