VW celebrates 20 years of the Golf R with the hottest of hot hatches.
Volkswagen nearly killed the venerable Golf hatchback in the United States, but we thankfully still get the two best models from the line. The Golf GTI and rowdy all-wheel-drive Golf R are all we have, but they're the cream of the crop. To celebrate R's 20th anniversary, Volkswagen is releasing a new 20 Years edition for the car with more power and exclusive styling. The standard Golf R's turbo-four generates 315 horsepower and 295 lb-feet of torque. In the 20 Years edition, the output increases to 328 horsepower (torque remains the same), making it the most powerful production Golf ever.
VW says the driver can opt to use an Emotional Start driving mode, which allows the car to start at up to 2,500 rpm, just like Mercedes-AMG's similarly named Emotion Start. But that's not all. When in S or S+ modes, the DSG transmission gives "noticeable" feedback on upshifts, and the turbo is always preloaded under partial throttle to provide better acceleration on kickdown. Acceleration to 62 mph takes just 4.6 seconds, which is edging on legitimate sports car territory. The standard Golf R is already quicker than VW claims, so this car could be a beast. In addition, the car comes as standard with R-Performance upgrades that are normally optional, which means a larger roof spoiler, R-Performance Torque Vectoring, and additional driving calibration options that include Special and the all-important Drift mode.
In terms of styling updates, the car gets a "20" badge on each B-pillar, an image that is repeated in the puddle lights. 19-inch wheels with a two-tone black-and-blue finish are offered, but you can have plain black if you prefer a more restrained look. You also get blue mirror caps unless you spec your car in Lapiz Blue Metallic, in which case the mirror caps go gloss black. The R badges on the front grille, the fenders, and the rear hatch are now blue instead of chrome.
Inside, the sport seats are finished in Nappa leather and get a blue R logo on the backrests. For the first time in a Volkswagen, real carbon fiber trim has been added to the mix too. With all of these upgrades, Volkswagen says that the Golf R 20 Years is "already a collectors' item as a new car."
Excitingly, this car will be coming to America for just one year, arriving in the middle of this year and departing in mind-2023. Pricing is yet to be announced, but you can expect a noticeable premium over the regular Golf R, which starts at $43,645.
UPDATE: The Golf R 20 Years is exclusive to Europe. Americans will receive a similar model called the Golf R 20th Anniversary Edition.