Wagon, Combi, Variant, Estate – call it what you want, the long-roof Volkswagen Golf R lives to see a new generation to serve as a more sensible alternative to high-performance SUVs. It's not the only fast estate in Wolfsburg's portfolio anymore as the attractive Arteon has spawned an estate version as well, complete with a spicy R derivative.
The new Golf R Variant takes everything you like about the hot hatch and adds heaps of practicality courtesy of a bigger cargo area and roof rails for even greater storage capabilities. Owners can store 611 litres (21.57 cubic feet) of luggage with the rear seats in place and 1,642 litres (58 cubic feet) after folding the bench.
Gallery: Volkswagen Golf R Variant (2021)
Practicality is amplified by bag hooks, lashing eyes, and a luggage net, on top of a 12 V connection and a 230-volt socket. To sweeten the deal, VW also throws in a handsfree tailgate and dedicated controls for electrically extending and retracting towing bracket. Being bigger than the Golf R Variant Mk7, the new-generation model also offers more rear legroom thanks to a stretched wheelbase.
Just about everything else has been carried over from the hatchback, including the turbocharged 2.0-litre petrol engine. The four-pot delivers an identical 315 bhp (235 kilowatts) and 420 Newton-metres (310 pound-feet) of torque to create the beefiest VW estate ever. Output is delivered to the torque-vectoring 4Motion all-wheel-drive system through a seven-speed, dual-clutch automatic transmission.
Because the estate is a tad heavier than the five-door version, it needs 4.9 seconds to hit 62 mph (100 km/h) or an extra 0.2s over the hatch. Top speed stays the same, at 155 mph (250 km/h) for the standard version and 168 mph (270 km/h) if you go for the R Performance Package. The optional kit also replaces the standard 18-inch wheels with a 19-inch set and adds Special (Nürburgring mode) and Drift driving profiles.
As with the versions before it, the new Golf R Variant will mostly be a European affair. It's scheduled to go on sale from mid-August in Germany, UK, and Switzerland. Pricing details have not been disclosed, but it will likely cost a tad more than the Golf R hatchback available in the UK market from £39,445. The estate will cross the £40,000 threshold, making it the most expensive production Golf ever, but still significantly cheaper than the £51,615 Arteon Shooting Brake R.