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Volkswagen introduced the Golf R 20 Years Edition in Europe earlier this year to mark two decades since the R32's launch. It's the most powerful version of the compact car the folks from Wolfsburg have ever built and also their fastest R model at the Nürburgring. While the Euro model is DSG-only, the equivalent 20th Anniversary Edition for the US also gets a six-speed manual. It has now been spotted near the Nordschleife featuring aero upgrades.

The blue accents and "20" badge on the B-pillars denote we're looking at the limited-run model but look at the front bumper and you'll see canards. It's unclear why VW is testing this aero element on the hottest Golf of them all since none of the press images of the European or North American model portrayed the anniversary model with these aero elements. In addition, the press releases didn't say anything about the winglets on the corners of the bumper.

VW Golf R 20 Years Edition spy photos

It's highly unlikely VW will come out with another special edition in such a short timeframe, so it could be an optional track-focused aero package the German automaker is developing. Lest we forget a mid-cycle facelift is planned for the Golf and will be released in 2023. A prototype was recently caught by the spy camera featuring a massive touchscreen we're expecting to see on all flavors of the compact hatchback and wagon.

A hardcore Golf R for the circuit would be an all-wheel-drive counterpart of the GTI Clubsport. We're being told the prototype was part of a larger fleet of R prototypes VW was testing this week, which included an Arteon R and a different Golf R. Spy photographers have learned from sources close to the automaker that one of them was a "special" car, but it's unclear whether they were referring to this one or another prototype.

If VW is indeed working on a spicy Golf R, it'll likely arrive after the model's mid-cycle facelift. That means it's unlikely to be revealed until later in 2024. Further down the line, VW has confirmed there will be a ninth-generation model with combustion engines, the very last one since the company has pledged to go purely electric in Europe by 2035.

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