2022 Volkswagen Golf R Unveiled With 315 Hp, Drift Mode and More

Are you bummed that the eighth-generation Volkswagen Golf won’t be coming to Canada after all? If you’re a performance enthusiast, the new 2022 Golf R that officially makes its debut today should easily make up for it.

Once again manufactured in Wolfsburg, Germany, it will go on sale in late 2021 at the same time as the equally new 2022 Golf GTI.

“It’s a Weapon”

That’s how Volkswagen R development driver Benjamin Leuchter summed up the 2022 Golf R during a virtual presentation which The Car Guide attended. He was particularly referring to the new Special and Drift modes, the former designed specifically for race tracks and the latter allowing complete freedom with the rear axle.

Photo: Volkswagen

As a matter of fact, the new Golf R went to the challenging Nürburgring Nordschleife for testing and completed a lap in 7:51 minutes, or 19 seconds faster than the previous generation. Impressive, isn’t it?

The aforementioned modes are part of the Race driver profile, one of four distinct profiles available with the car—the others are Comfort, Sport (default) and Individual. Drivers can access it with a single push of the “R” button on the steering wheel.

315 Horsepower

While the GTI gets a boost from 228 to 241 horsepower (+13), the 2022 Volkswagen Golf R benefits from a more substantial increase—maybe not as substantial as some people were expecting, but enough to rise above the current Subaru WRX STI and Honda Civic Type R. The turbocharged 2.0-litre engine’s output is now rated at 315 horsepower (+27), while peak torque amounts to 310 pound-feet (+30) from 2,100-5,350 rpm.

Photo: Volkswagen

Great news for purists (and auto writers like us): the six-speed manual gearbox is staying around. After all, 40 percent of Golf R customers chose the stick. Volkswagen did not provide acceleration times for this version, but we learned that the seven-speed DSG dual-clutch transmission will take you to 100 km/h in just 4.7 seconds. Top speed is electronically limited at 250 km/h.

Lighter and More Dynamic

Upgrades to the 2022 Volkswagen Golf R also include a thorough revision of the chassis and drivetrain. The car is lighter than before and rides on a 10-percent stiffer suspension with improved geometry that optimizes grip and handling.

Additionally, engineers worked on the steering system for extra agility, precision and responsiveness, while the brakes use larger 357-mm rotors and have more bite. The Golf R retains an AWD setup, although active torque vectoring technology allows a distribution between the two axles as well as the left and right rear wheels, thus ensuring maximum cornering performance.

Photo: Volkswagen

And let’s not forget the improved aerodynamics. Downforce has been increased at both ends, with the two-piece rear spoiler deserving much of the credit for that.

Subtly Racier Looks

As for styling, other than the new Volkswagen and R logos, we turn your attention to the exclusive 19-inch wheels (with 235/35R19 tires), side skirts, matte chrome mirror caps, blue-painted brake callipers and more aggressive-looking bumpers than the Golf GTI. Inside, additional blue accents highlight the cockpit along with new sport seats and a slightly different treatment to the controls and displays.

By the way, the 2022 Volkswagen Golf R will return in a single, fully loaded model, the lone exception being the large power sunroof offered as a standalone option in Canada. Pricing will be announced closer to the on-sale date in about a year. For the record, the 2019 Golf R started at $42,495.

Photo: Volkswagen
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