You won’t need to wait for the official debut of the 2021 Volkswagen Golf R wagon to see what it looks like. Here it is.
Well, there’s still a tiny amount of camouflage – some tape is covering the R logo – but you can’t mistake this Golf Variant for any other Golf variant.
The colour blue might signify an electrified car at some brands, for example BMW, but at Volkswagen it means R. That’s why there are distinctive blue brake calipers, though the blue strip connecting the headlights is likely just the new full-width LED lighting element covered in protective tape.
The towbar doesn’t look like a production piece and may just be there for testing purposes like the spotlights, but that exhaust could be an Akrapovic unit.
While past Golf R prototypes have been disguised with Alltrack exterior pieces, this production-ready R wagon has the 19-inch alloy wheels you’ll see in showrooms plus the same, more aggressive front bumper as seen on the R hatchback revealed late last year.
The new Golf R continues to be powered by a 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo petrol engine, now developing 235kW of power and 420Nm of torque (from 2100 to 5350rpm) – up from the 221kW and 400Nm of the current European model and 213kW/380Nm of Australian versions.
Volkswagen claims the new Golf R, in hatchback form, can sprint from 0-100km/h in 4.7 seconds with the seven-speed DSG dual-clutch automatic.
Expect the wagon to be only fractionally slower as in the current generation it sprints to 100km/h in 5.0 seconds while the hatch does it in 4.8 seconds.
We also expect the Golf R to continue to be auto-only in Australia, though a six-speed manual will be available in some overseas markets.
The R’s 4Motion all-wheel drive system now gets torque vectoring on the rear axle, dubbed R-Performance Torque Vectoring, allowing up to 100 per cent of available torque to be transferred to the outside wheel during cornering.
This means the Golf R can shuffle power not only between the front and rear axles, but now also variably between the left and right rear wheels.
New drive modes debut for the Mk8, including Special and Drift profiles in addition to the usual Comfort, Sport, Race and Individual modes.
Like the new GTI Clubsport, the Special mode tailors the Golf R’s mechanicals for track driving – honed on the legendary Nürburgring Nordschleife – which softens the dampers to “maintain maximum contact with the road on the undulating Nordschleife”. Automatic downshifts for the DSG transmission also “complement braking ahead of corners” in this mode.
Inside, a new ‘R’ button on the steering wheel takes you directly to the drive mode selection screen or, if you press it more forcefully, puts you in Race mode. There are also Nappa leather seats with carbon detailing on the side and blue accenting.
Like lesser Golfs, there’s a 10.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system and a 10.25-inch Digital Cockpit instrument cluster.
The Golf R was originally supposed to arrive in Australia in the third quarter of this year but, like the rest of the Golf range, it experienced delays.
Locally, the Golf R outsells its GTI sibling by a three-to-one margin. Australians also buy more Golf Rs than any other country except Germany and the UK.