Volkswagen Cranks Golf R to 328 Horsepower


Wolfsburg has reached into its bag of tricks and pulled out one powerful rabbit. When it goes on sale, the next VW Golf R will pack 328 horsepower, thirteen more than the old model, and should scamper to 60 mph in about 4.5 seconds.

That power will continue to be produced by a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine and is billed as the most powerful evolution of this engine family. The peak power of 328 horses show up at 5,600 rpm but its 310 lb-ft of torque is all online by just 2,100 revs and stays there until 100 rpm shy of the power crest. And, as foretold by doomsayers, the only transmission mentioned is a seven-speed DSG dual-clutch automatic. Your left leg will have to find something else to do.

All-wheel drive is still part of the deal, as are a raft of driving modes and a so-called R Performance torque vectoring. VW says power can go fore/aft and left/right, with up to 100 percent of possible torque able to be directed to the rear wheel on the outside of a bend. People smarter than I can explain if this is or isn’t quote-unquote ‘real’ torque vectoring.

Yes, the Europeans will get a wagon; no, we won’t. Sorry. However, American customers can spec the Black Edition should they feel the need to have their new Golf R look like it has been dipped in a pot of inky paint.

Other notes specific to our market? While noise will be made about a new lower price, that will not translate to America; we have been told by VW spox the U.S. version will not be cheaper than the outgoing vehicle. However, a good deal of the optional equipment for Europe is standard here, and the Performance package (save for the additional top speed) has always been part of the Golf R on these shores.

A driving profile can be activated by way of a blue R button on the steering wheel, a control buried in the infotainment system, or voice control. We hope the latter can be summoned by yelling “prepare for ramming speed”. Here, the turbocharger is apparently preconditioned to a higher turbine speed which should pay dividends with a right-now power delivery. There is also mention of a Drift mode though details are scanty.

Numerous noisemakers are on board, including a trick start-up procedure which briefly increases engine speed to 2,500 rpm and provides a “deep burbling sound”. As well, certain drive modes will activate a pop-and-crackle tune while a sound actuator promises roarty noises. Your neighbors will love you.

Inside we find a 12.9-inch infotainment display with touch bars along the top and bottom. Touch sliders for temp and volume remain, though they are newly developed and are now illuminated as they should have been from day one. Some markets will get a heads-up display, though all hands are likely to get the 10.2-inch Digital Cockpit Pro gauge set which does its best Audi impression at all times. As for styling, the Golf R gets its own front fascia, side skirts, wheels, and four-pipe exhaust system. A diffuser-style bumper hangs out in the rear.

Europe-wide pre-sales start in June, coinciding with the Golf’s 50th anniversary. Other global markets, such as America, will follow in due course.

[Images: Volkswagen]

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