The leap from the MK7 Golf R to the new MK8 is the greatest yet.
The boosted 2.0-litre engine also produces 310 lb.-ft. of torque.
The 6-speed manual is back, as is the optional 7-speed DSG.
By the time the all-new 8th generation Volkswagen Golf R arrives in North America, it will mark the 20th anniversary since the first mass-produced super-Golf, the 2002 R32, was introduced. This new Golf R will be about control and handling more than any other in the past. It’ll be quick too.
Volkswagen R, VW’s premium independent performance brand, is responsible for this car, and given that they want to keep their jobs, they’ve done more than give the Golf a once over from one generation to another.
Physically, the new Golf R is instantly recognizable as being more than a regular Golf. Of the many distinguishing features, it will get chrome mirror caps, R bumpers at both ends, larger front air intakes, a rear diffuser with quad tailpipes on both sides, a two-piece rear spoiler, 19-inch Estoril set over blue-painted calipers (which clamp down on 18-inch brakes upfront).
The cabin will also receive a number of clues to remind occupants that this is a Golf R. There will be matching blue highlights throughout along with a new R-Sport steering wheel (heated, blue highlights, touch-sensitive with haptic feedback and larger unique paddles.) The IP will be configurable with the possibility to display Power, Torque, Boost, and other indicators. As well, the tachometer will flash when appropriate.
Powering the 2022 Volkswagen Golf R will a re-tuned turbocharged 2.0-litre 4-cylinder engine. It will produce 315 horsepower and 310 lb.-ft. (from 2,100 to 5,350 rpm) which, for the first time ever, is identical to what’s offered in Europe. This output represents a 27-horsepower and 30 lb.-ft. of torque gains over the MK7. Volkswagen wants us to tell you that the mill is more fuel-efficient but what really matters is speed: With the available 7-speed DSG, the new Golf R hits 100 km/h in 4.7 seconds. We assume the standard 6-speed manual gearbox will require a full 5 seconds to reach 100 km/h.
With more speed comes more efficient and powerful brakes. Weight is shaved thanks to aluminum brake disc hubs (x4) while the front discs grow to a massive 357mm x 34mm clamped by 2-piston calipers. Pushing more brake fluid is an equally larger brake master cylinder. Finally, the ABS system has been optimized with raised thresholds for more driver control.
The real story with the all-new MK8 Volkswagen Golf R is the chassis. To begin, the R sits 20mm lower than regular Golf thanks to its dedicated sport suspension set up with the DCC adaptive damping system. With increased camber up front, new damper bearings, damper hydraulics, stiffer front and rear stabilizer, and spring rates (up 10% over the MK7), it is said that the new car is more precise and stable. This is according to racing driver Benjamin Leuchter who also reports more road feedback through the mechanicals. In short, he says that steering feel, response, feedback are increased, and overall the car feels precise and satisfactory.
The biggest piece of news for the new Golf R is the presence of true torque vectoring thanks to selective wheel torque control on the rear axle. We say true as most systems in this price bracket use ABS braking to slow a given wheel down. The Golf R’s new rear differential distributes the power between the front and rear axles, and also between the two rear wheels. It features a multi-plate clutch to send more power to one side or the other, up to 100% of the power at the rear. Torque vectoring will actually accelerate the outer wheel to push the car through the apex. When mixed with the ultra-quick variable-ratio steering (2.1 turns lock-to-lock)the only result is incredible cornering speeds.
Obviously, the Golf R still features Volkswagen’s 4MOTION AWD system which, in this application, includes the electronic differential locks (XDS). For the first time ever, the Golf R will include a Drift mode as part of the various driving profiles which can directly be accessed via the “R” button on the steering wheel. The four main settings include Comfort/Sport/Race/Individual.
And via Race is where “Drift” and “Special” are found. The latter’s parameters were configured for the Nordschleife but they’re sure to come in handy on any track. Fun fact, displays go green because “Green Hell.” This mode, once enacted, managed to trim 17 seconds off the MK7’s lap time to 7:51 VS. 8:10 (on Sport Cup 2 tires) with Leuchterat the wheel.
The 2022 Volkswagen Golf R’s “brain” is the new Vehicle Dynamics Manager. It essentially controls all systems in the name of all-out speed. It finds optimal clutch control for the selective wheel torque distribution and handles overall traction by locking in the selective wheel torque control and creating a RWD bias. It will also apply targeted braking interventions to correct oversteer or understeer.
In a nutshell’ the new 2022 is, according to VW, more neutral at the limit, offers faster steering responses, faster traction buildup at the rear axle, and is generally plain old faster.
The all-new 2022 Volkswagen Golf R will arrive in the 4th quarter of 2021, more or less at the same time as the MK8 GTI. Pricing is not yet known however it is expected that the new Golf R, which offers more content and technology than previously, will be more expensive than MK7. Good news, a sunroof will be optional (the only option in Canada) and not standard.