Yes, you'll be able to row your own gears.
It goes without saying that anticipation for the new Volkswagen Golf 8 is high in North America. That is emphasized when talking about the Golf R, the high-performance version of the Golf range that we already knew would be the most powerful Golf yet. We also knew that a manual gearbox may be offered for the range-topping Golf, but until VW confirmed the technical details, we didn't want to get ahead of ourselves.
Well, here it is: the 2022 Volkswagen Golf R, which we can now confirm produces 315 horsepower from its 2.0-liter turbocharged engine. Even better, the Golf R will be offered with a six-speed manual in the US market. An optional seven-speed DSG dual-clutch automatic transmission will be available as well, along with a standard torque vectoring 4Motion all-wheel-drive system.
With 27 hp more than the previous Golf R and 310 lb-ft of torque in European spec (295 lb-ft in the US), the latest Golf R can reach 62 mph in only 4.7 seconds and a top speed of 155 mph. That makes it quicker than the Honda Civic Type R, one of our favorite hot hatches. The Golf's newly revised AWD system not only distributes power between the front/rear axles but between each rear wheel, too. Up to 100 percent of torque can be sent to the outside wheel in the bends, which reduces understeer and results in more agile handling.
Also enhancing the high-performance goals of the Golf R is a 0.8-inch lower ride height relative to regular Golfs, while an aluminum subframe has lowered the front suspension's weight by 6.6 pounds. An enhanced braking setup comprises two-piston front calipers made of aluminum, lowering mass by 60 percent on each side. The front discs have grown to 14.1 inches and 1.3 inches wider.
The new Vehicle Dynamics Manager is a driving dynamics control system that manages the electronic differential locks, the 4Motion AWD system, and more to improve cornering prowess. The result of all these changes means that the new Golf R DSG lapped the Nurburgring Nordschleife up to 17 seconds faster than the previous Golf R based on internal tests.
Of course, the Golf's winning formula has always been its ability to both entertain and be perfectly docile and comfortable in day to day use. To that end, Nappa leather sport seats and carbon-look inserts highlight the advanced cabin, which comes with a 10-inch Discover Pro touchscreen, along with a configurable digital instrument panel, which forms part of VW's latest Digital Cockpit.
Further features include a 30-color ambient lighting system, brushed stainless steel pedal caps, and a new 3D-look R-View for the instruments.
Outside, the Golf R sports the latest Golf 8's fresh look with upgrades like a motorsport-style splitter, air intake grilles that are unique to the sportiest Golf, a new front bumper, a blue crossbar on the grille (which lights up as a strip of LEDs), and 19-inch wheels with summer performance tires. Twin tailpipes in chrome and a roof spoiler distinguish the rear view, and three colors will be on offer: Lapiz Blue Metallic, Deep Black Pearl Effect, and Pure White.
Pricing has yet to be announced but the new Golf R will go on sale towards the end of 2021 as a 2022 model.