Is the Volkswagen Golf R about to gain even more performance? A new test mule suggests a hotter model is on the way.

    This Golf R, dubbed a Golf R Plus by our spy photographers, appears to be based on the 20 Years Anniversary Edition but features extra canards on the front bumper.

    They’re not a part of any Volkswagen performance parts catalogue, and our spy photographer quotes Volkswagen sources which confirmed the company is testing something “special” at the moment.

    Honda has just announced its Civic Type R track weapon, the Mercedes-AMG A45 S has recently been updated, and Audi offers a five-cylinder punch in the form of the RS3 for keen drivers, so the fast hatch market is hotter than ever.

    A more track-oriented Golf R is one way Volkswagen could take the fight to its more aggressive competitors.

    We already know more power is coming to the R. Volkswagen has confirmed the Golf R range will in 2023 gain the 245kW and 420Nm engine tune that features in the Golf R 20 Years special edition.

    In the case of the Golf R hatchback offered in Australia, that represents a boost of 10kW and 20Nm – the hatch is currently offered with a 2.0-litre turbo engine making 235kW and 400Nm, down 20Nm on what’s offered in Europe.

    Volkswagen hasn’t confirmed exactly when the more powerful Golf R will arrive, but Michelle Rowney, Volkswagen Australia product and services manager, said timing is now looking “better than what we anticipated”.

    “A month ago if you had’ve asked me it would have been second half of next year… but now it looks like we will be able to get something sooner,” Ms Rowney said.

    Although the powered-up mainstream model might be on track for an early arrival, the Golf R 20 Years special has been delayed.

    Initially on track to touch down during the third quarter of 2022, the R 20 Years is now expected to arrive around March or April 2023, as Volkswagen prioritises production of existing Australian orders for the regular car.

    The Golf R 20 Years packs a 245kW and 420Nm engine, and features special touches including an Akrapovic exhaust to celebrate two decades since the Golf R32 debuted.

    MORE: Everything Volkswagen Golf

    Scott Collie

    Scott Collie is an automotive journalist based in Melbourne, Australia. Scott studied journalism at RMIT University and, after a lifelong obsession with everything automotive, started covering the car industry shortly afterwards. He has a passion for travel, and is an avid Melbourne Demons supporter.

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