Volkswagen’s latest flagship performance hatch and wagon are set to hit Australian showrooms in 12 months time.

    Speaking with CarExpert, a spokesperson for Volkswagen Australia confirmed the flagship Golf R is due Down Under in the third quarter of 2021.

    The R Wagon isn’t quite locked in yet, but it’s looking likely given the success of the current generation.

    “Golf R, which outsells the GTI by some three to one, will be with us in late Q3,” the Volkswagen spokesperson said.

    “About one in six Golf R sales are Wagons, so it would be desirable to retain the variant as Volkswagen Australia seeks to expand its R range.”

    The rollout of the Mk8 Volkswagen Golf range will start with the mainstream hatch and wagon, and the new Golf GTI, in the first quarter of 2021.

    Although it hasn’t yet been revealed, the Mk8 Golf R is rapidly taking shape. Spy photographers this week snapped photos of the next-generation 2021 Golf R Wagon in pre-production guise during development testing.

    In the images supplied we can see VW has fitted Alltrack bumpers to this wagon and stickers on the tail lights to disguise some of the finer design details, but the formula looks to be the same as before.

    Like the outgoing seventh-generation Golf, the wagon will be largely identical to the related hatchback up to the B-pillar, with a longer, higher roofline through the rear and longer rear overhang for enhanced boot space and rear headroom.

    Key giveaways that this prototype is an R include the 19-inch ‘Pretoria’ lightweight alloy wheels – a desirable wheel option for performance Golf models – larger brakes with blue calipers, sporty bumpers and side skirts, as well as the four large tailpipes sticking out from under the rear bumper.

    Unique to the R Wagon are the aforementioned longer estate body as well as roof rails, with further enhancements likely to be found in the boot area like the current model – roller cargo blind, cargo nets and so on.

    Power in the Mk8 Golf R is expected to be the latest iteration of the ‘EA888’ 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine used in the Mk7 R as well as a range of other VW Group models across the Audi, Skoda and Volkswagen brands in Australia.

    While a power output approaching 250kW has been rumoured for months, we’re expecting the new Golf R to offer the 228kW/400Nm tune already confirmed for the mechanically identical Audi S3 hatch and sedan, at least from launch – this will likely be for Australia too rather than just being for ‘cold climates’ like Europe.

    It’s worth noting the new Arteon R and Tiguan R draw upon a slightly beefier 235kW/420Nm tune of the same engine, though the higher outputs are likely to remain exclusive to the larger models to offset the added size and weight of their donor cars.

    Regardless, the Golf R will send its grunt to the ground via Volkswagen’s 4Motion all-wheel drive system and a seven-speed DSG dual-clutch auto, making for a likely 0-100 time of 4.6-4.8 seconds for the hatch and around 5.0 seconds for the wagon.

    Like the model before it, the Mk8 R will also get lowered sports suspension (-15mm or -20mm) compared to the standard model, as well as performance-focused wheels, tyres and brakes. Expect a prominent roof-mounted rear spoiler for both hatch and wagon models, as well as the option for an Akrapovic titanium sports exhaust.

    When it arrives in the first quarter of 2021, the Mk8 Volkswagen Golf will offer two powertrains – a 110kW/250Nm 1.4-litre turbo four with an eight-speed Aisin automatic in core models, as well as a 180kW/370Nm 2.0-litre turbo with a seven-speed DSG for the GTI.

    The more efficient ‘eTSI’ mild-hybrid, ‘GTE’ plug-in hybrid, as well as the array of diesel powertrains available globally remain off the table for Australia, at least for the time being, as Volkswagen’s head office prioritises its most efficient powertrains for emissions-conscious regions – namely Europe.

    While the 110TSI powerplant destined for core models could be seen as a step backwards, the new Golf will pack a range of new infotainment and driver assistance technologies, the latter under the ‘IQ.Drive’ banner.

    Stay tuned to CarExpert for all our latest coverage, and let us know your thoughts or questions in the comments below.

    James Wong

    James Wong is the Production Editor at CarExpert based in Melbourne, Australia. With experience on both media and manufacturer sides of the industry, James has a specialty for product knowledge which stems from a life-long obsession with cars. James is a Monash University journalism graduate, an avid tennis player, and the proud charity ambassador for Drive Against Depression – an organisation that supports mental wellness through the freedom of driving and the love of cars. He's also the proud father of Freddy, a 2019 Volkswagen Golf GTI .

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