Look away, America. You're not getting the new Volkswagen Golf R Variant. In fact, the high-performance estate will be a forbidden fruit in many parts of the world as the speedy long-roof compact will be a Euro-centric product since the Old Continent is basically the last bastion of estates. A near-production prototype was spotted near the Nürburgring with 99.99 percent of the camouflage gone.
By the looks of it, only the R badges are hidden, although we have a feeling the bottom section of the rear bumper is also cleverly disguised by using body-coloured tape. An alternative to the Tiguan R – another performance VW that the United States is not getting – the new Golf R Variant will be more or less Wolfsburg's version of the not-a-SEAT Cupra Leon Sportstourer, though the VW has slightly more power and torque.
Gallery: 2022 VW Golf R Variant spied at the Nurburgring
Our spies weren't able to take a peek inside the cabin since the prototype was on the move, but from some angles, you can easily see it had a full rollcage and Recaro front bucket seats. It goes without saying these won't be available on the production model as we're expecting the estate to inherit the cabin from its hatchback counterpart.
The same holds true for the oily bits, so underneath the bonnet should be the same turbocharged 2.0-litre petrol engine with 315 bhp (235 kilowatts) and 310 pound-feet (420 Newton-metres) of torque. The Golf R Variant is going to be an AWD-only affair, complete with a seven-speed, dual-clutch automatic transmission. The hatch runs to 60 mph in 4.7 seconds, but there's a pretty good chance the wagon will be a tad slower due to a slightly higher weight.
The marginal performance drop won't really matter at the end of the day considering the estate will be significantly more practical by having a greater cargo capacity. It will command a premium over the hatchback, which we believe will be worth paying. The Golf R Variant has what it takes to become VW's best all-rounder, along with other do-it-all models such as the gorgeous Arteon R Shooting Brake and the plug-in hybrid Touareg R.
With the camo basically gone, an official reveal is likely around the corner. The only other member of the Golf we can think of that hasn't been revealed yet is the Golf GTD Variant, but it's unclear whether the hot oil-burning estate is returning for the Mk8 considering the TDI and the rest of the diesel gang have fallen out of favour. If it is planned, that one too will primarily target Europe.