It’s only the middle of March and Volkswagen has already introduced three performance versions of the new Golf by unveiling the traditional GTI joined by the diesel-fueled GTD and the electrified GTE. As the saying goes, the best is yet to come as the peeps from Wolfsburg have two more hot hatches to unveil based on the Golf Mk8 – the GTI TCR and the R.
Our colleagues at Motor Trend sat down and had a chat with the man calling the shots at Volkswagen’s R performance division who was willing to talk a bit about the crown jewel of the Golf lineup. Coming later this year, the all-paw speedy hatch from Wolfsburg will do without electrification as Jost Capito said it will not feature a hybrid powertrain as it is the case with the new Touareg R.
It’s not necessarily because the company didn’t want to electrify the Golf R, but the costs of engineering a hybrid powertrain for the model would’ve been too high to justify the sales volumes the car usually generates. It made more sense to develop the Touareg R because the plug-in hybrid performance SUV shares some of its powertrain bits and pieces with other models from the VW Group, including the Bentley Bentayga Hybrid.
While Capito didn’t go into too many details about the new Golf R, he did say the engineers have made “a lot of small improvements” over its predecessor to create a “real driving machine.” That statement might make you think of a BMW, and it’s worth noting the Golf R will be an AWD compact five-door performance model based on a front-wheel-drive platform much like the M135i xDrive.
Whether the six-speed manual gearbox will live to see another Golf R generation is not known at this point, but a recent leak might have spilled the beans about the engine’s output. With the horsepower figures for the GTI, GTE, and GTD listed in the internal image that escaped on the Internet in January all turning out to be accurate, there’s a pretty good chance the R’s output will indeed be 245 kW, which would represent 329 horsepower.
VW is expected to unveil the revamped Golf R this fall, presumably at the Paris Motor Show in October. An online reveal could take place a few days or weeks sooner. Whether Europe will get a new Golf R wagon remains to be seen, but the regular long-roof model is also due to come out in 2020 and will be joined shortly by the rugged All-Terrain.