The Volkswagen Golf R is the goldilocks of the hot hatch world: not too racey, not too demanding to drive, not too pricey, juuust right.
Amid the breathtaking ascendency of power outputs in the hyper hatch community, the Golf R more than holds its own with a 306bhp 2-litre turbocharged petrol engine and unflappable all-wheel-drive setup, married to either a six-speed manual or seven-speed dual-clutch automatic, with or without adaptive dampers.
More important to the R’s success is the fact it retains the Golf’s fundamental traits that are as predictable as they are appealing: it has five proper seats, a comfortable ride, regular service intervals, intuitive systems for navigation and phone integration plus a big boot. An even bigger boot if you go for the cut-price-RS6, otherwise known as the Golf R Estate.
Gallery: VW Golf R with Performance Package
The Golf R Performance Package was first teased at the 2017 Geneva motor show.
Now, however, Volkswagen is giving R customers with the dual-clutch automatic transmission the chance to give Goldilocks a bit more gusto. The Performance Pack is an official, £2,300 factory-fit upgrade and includes a new roof spoiler to add 20kg of downforce; lighter, beefier ‘R Performance’ brakes that feature silver calipers and are said to offer superior feel; bespoke 19-inch ‘Spielberg’ alloy wheels and a derestricted top speed. No more 155mph limiter for you – the Golf R hatchback with Performance Pack will be able to flex the needle of its speedometer to 166mph while the slippier Estate achieves 168mph.
Volkswagen has also announced it will be offering all Golf R hatchback customers a further option, the Akrapovic exhaust. The popular Slovenian exhaust manufacturer has developed a bespoke £2,975 unit for the Golf R Hatchback, featuring round tailpipes rather than the current oval shape, plus valve control technology that will be mapped to the car’s driving modes for a flurry of pops and bangs. Spec both upgrades, and you’re sure to have a performance Golf that’s as sharp as the limited edition GTI Clubsport S, albeit without the compromises.
Both Performance Pack and Akrapovic exhaust are available to order now. The Volkswagen Golf R is priced from £32,710 or £33,995 with the DSG gearbox. The Golf R Estate is only available with a DSG gearbox and is priced from £35,700.