Volkswagen took the wraps off the all-new Golf R, and this hot hatch gets even toastier. With a boost to 315 horsepower and a high-tech all-wheel-drive system, the new Golf R becomes the performance pinnacle of the Golf lineup. The 2022 Volkswagen Golf R will be the eighth generation, and it takes a major step up from the previous version in style, features and — most importantly — performance.
The halo car of the Golf lineup — arguably for the entire VW line — the Golf R has sold off and on in America since 2004 when it arrived as the Golf Mark IV R32. At that time the hot hatch housed a 240-horsepower 3.2-liter V6 engine with all-wheel drive and a manual transmission. The Golf R has been through several iterations since then, but the basic formula of high performance all-wheel drive has always remained and continues in the 2022 Golf R.
Under the Hood
A 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine producing 315 horsepower and 310 lb-ft of torque powers the new Golf R, representing a 27-horsepower bump over the previous generation and making this Golf R the most powerful one Volkswagen has ever offered. Peak torque is available from 2100 rpm for excellent response.
Still a Manual
Golf R enthusiasts rejoice: The hot hatch’s 6-speed manual gearbox will still be available on the 2022 model. For drivers who prefer two pedals, Volkswagen will also offer a quick-shifting 7-speed DSG dual-clutch transmission. The German automaker expects the new Golf R will reach 62 mph in 4.7 seconds with the DSG — no word yet on manual transmission acceleration times, but they will likely be slightly slower.
Performance All-Wheel Drive
Volkswagen equips the new Golf R with an all-new 4Motion all-wheel-drive system with torque vectoring. The rear-wheel-drive unit features two individual clutches, allowing up to 100 percent torque to be directed to either rear wheel. In a turn, torque gets increased to the outside rear wheel, reducing understeer and improving overall handling.
The 2022 Volkswagen Golf R rides on a new chassis featuring a stiffer aluminum subframe with updated suspension retuned specifically for this new model. Sitting 0.8 inches lower than the standard version, the Golf R gets increased spring rate and anti-roll bar rates for improved stability and better ride quality. Also new is a Vehicle Dynamics Manager that monitors and adjusts the electronic differential locks, Dynamic Chassis Control, and the 4Motion all-wheel-drive system for improved agility and handling.
Brakes and Tires
The 2022 VW Golf R will have improved stopping power provided by larger brakes — 14.1 inches in diameter. Front brakes get 2-piston calipers painted blue along with the R logo. The 2022 Volkswagen Golf R will come with high-performance summer tires riding on 19-inch Estoril aluminum wheels.
The Golf R has traditional drive modes including Comfort, Sport and Race; Sport is the default mode at startup. For the 2022 model, two additional modes have been added — Special and Drift. Special mode sets the Golf R up as it was for final testing on the Nurburgring Nordschleife racetrack, increasing engine sounds and configuring the DCC, steering, all-wheel drive and DSG (if so equipped) for the sportiest setup. Drift mode changes stability control settings and power distribution to allow some spirited sideways driving in the Golf R; however, the mode is only intended for track use.
The benchmark for comparison among many high-performance sports cars remains how long it takes to complete one lap of the famed Nurburgring Nordschleife racetrack in Germany. The new Golf R completed a lap of this complex 12.9-mile circuit in 7 minutes and 51 seconds — almost 20 seconds faster than the previous generation.
The 2022 Volkswagen Golf R gets a new front bumper with larger R-Specific air intakes and high-gloss black trim. As with previous generations, the R Logo will be present in the grille, and the mirror caps will be in matte chrome.
At the rear of the 2022 VW Golf are a new bumper and dynamic diffuser with a stylish and functional two-piece rear spoiler. The quad chrome-plated outlets of the sport exhaust system complete the high-performance appearance.
The new Golf R gets a premium yet decidedly sporty look including sport seats trimmed in Nappa leather with blue accents and a blue R logo embossed on the backrest. A 10-inch Discover Pro touchscreen display is standard equipment as well as VW’s Digital Cockpit, both of which get R-specific graphics. Pedals are trimmed in brushed stainless steel and 30-color ambient lighting can help set the interior mood.
The 2022 Volkswagen Golf R will also have a new R Performance steering wheel trimmed in leather with blue contrasting stitching. The heated wheel gets new paddle shifters (for the DSG) and touch controls with haptic feedback. A new R button can be used to quickly access the drive modes — a hard press of the R activates Race mode.
Coming Next Year
The 2022 Volkswagen Golf R will be available exclusively as a 5-door hatchback and it should arrive in late 2021. Pricing will be released closer to the on-sale date, but expect this new model to be slightly more expensive than the previous generation since it will have a full complement of standard equipment — the only option being a choice of two transmissions.