Volkswagen has expanded the new Golf range with the addition of the popular R-Line trim level and a new mild-hybrid powertrain. The news follows the first versions of the car going on sale earlier this month, with prices starting at just under £24,000.

The R-Line model, which has proven itself to be one of the most desired trim levels in the Golf range, arrives on the new eighth-generation Golf boasting a host of internal and external upgrades. It’s joined by a new 1.5-litre mild-hybrid petrol engine that uses electrical power harvested under braking to give the petrol engine a helping hand when accelerating, thus cutting fuel consumption.

On the outside, the new R-Line model is set apart by its sportier bumpers at the front and rear, as well as the 17-inch ‘Valencia’ alloy wheels. The car also gets sports suspension, dropping the whole car 15 mm closer to the ground, and rear tinted windows.

Inside, meanwhile, the R-Line models benefit from R-Line front sports seats, an R-Line multifunction leather-wrapped steering wheel and R-Line badging. Smaller details include brushed stainless steel pedals and metallic trim elements, as well as a 30-colour ambient lighting system.

All that comes on top of the equipment fitted to lowlier models in the eighth-generation Golf range. There’s a 10.25-inch digital instrument cluster, plus a 10-inch touchscreen infotainment system and wireless phone charging. LED headlights feature, too, and there’s Car2X technology that allows the car to communicate with other vehicles and ‘street furniture’ such as traffic lights. This system will, as the technology progresses and becomes more widely available, allow the car to effectively pre-empt road hazards such as stationary traffic ahead.

2020 Volkswagen Golf R-Line

Perhaps a more important tech upgrade, however, is the new eTSI mild-hybrid engine. A 1.5-litre unit, it produces 148 bhp with the help of a 48-volt electrical system. This combination allows the car to coast for longer than a conventional stop-start system, then helps the engine out when accelerating, cutting fuel consumption and emissions by up to 10 percent.

The new engine is available across the range, from the previously launched Life and Style models to the new R-Line model. The Life 1.5 eTSI starts at £26,375, while the R-Line, which comes with the 1.5-litre, 128 bhp petrol engine as standard, comes in at £26,140. Upgrading to the 1.5 eTSI R-Line costs £28,640, while the 2-litre, 148 bhp diesel comes in at £29,860.

2020 Volkswagen Golf R-Line

“Since the first-generation Golf, there have been explorations into electric power, starting with small-scale projects like the Golf Elektro and CitiSTROMer models, all the way up to full-series pioneers like the Golf GTE and e-Golf,” said Dale Piper, the Golf product manager at Volkswagen UK. “Between them, they have demonstrated the benefits of electric mobility to thousands of Volkswagen customers.

“The Golf 8 brings electrification on a much wider scale. These new eTSI powertrains are now part of the mainstream Golf range as a fourth engine option alongside the traditional TSI and TDI, and forthcoming plug-in hybrid GTE units. Add to that the sporty-looking R-Line trim and we are sure customers will love the benefits of a mild hybrid powertrain in our most attractive Golf package yet.”

Gallery: 2020 Volkswagen Golf R-Line