This is the most powerful VW Golf R ever. Packing a turbo 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine, the new Golf R produces 315 bhp (235 kilowatts) and 310 pound-feet (420 newton-metres), which gives it a 0-60 time of 4.7 seconds and a top speed of 155 mph (250 kmh). Those power figures represent a 27-bhp and 15-lb-ft increase compared to the previous model, and buyers can choose from either a six-speed manual transmission or an optional seven-speed DSG.
As you'd expect, the 2022 Golf R comes standard with 4Motion all-wheel drive – but this setup is a bit different than in previous generations. VW touts a new rear differential that distributes power variably between the axles, with the ability to send up to 100 percent of torque to the outside wheel using a dedicated “Drift Mode” feature. The new Drift Mode is one of two special drive modes configurable within Race mode and joins standard drive options like Sport, Comfort, and Individual.
VW also totally retuned the Golf R’s strut-type front and multi-link rear suspension and gave it a 20-millimetre (0.8-inch) lower ride height than the previous version. The stiffer springs and new geometry makes the new performance Golf 10 percent stiffer than its predecessor both front and rear, with a one-percent decrease in negative camber and a weight loss of 3 kg (6.6 lbs) thanks to the lightweight aluminium subframe.
Visually, the latest Golf R certainly looks as good as its performance suggests. The hot hatch gets a new front bumper with a motorsport-inspired splitter, R-specific air intake grilles, and gloss black elements throughout. A set of 19-inch alloy wheels come standard and wrapped in summer performance tyres.
Gallery: 2022 Volkswagen Golf R
The cabin gets a tech-forward design – similar to what we've already seen on the GTI – highlighted by a 10.0-inch touchscreen, VW's Digital Cockpit with a virtual instrument cluster, and even touchpad controllers on the steering wheel, replacing traditional analogue buttons. There's even a special "R" button on the steering wheel for easy access to the Race drive mode. Blue trim pieces and "R" logos adorn the seats, dash, and steering wheel, while the Golf R gets optional Nappa leather seating surfaces for the first time.
The 2022 VW Golf R will go on sale in the UK later this month. No word on pricing yet, but considering the current model got up to around £35,000, expect the new version to cost a few thousand more.