Volkswagen is very keen to remind people that it’s still the benchmark when it comes to the hot hatch segment. While some were disappointed that the German auto giant did not bring the standard issue Golf to U.S. shores, execs revealed that the GTI and the Golf R were un affected by this edict. With the current generation GTI being unveiled awhile ago, Volkswagen has made things go full circle, with the firm revealing the 2022 Golf R. The new and improved R promises to make a big splash in the segment, and here are five key things that you should know about Volkswagen’s ultimate hot hatch
It’s a stylish beast
The exterior styling of the 2022 Golf R largely mirrors that of the GTI, and that will be please buyers that were big fans of that model’s revamped styling. As expected, the R amplifies things slightly, with the revamped front bumper features a model exclusive front splitter, bigger air intakes, and even splashes of sleek looking gloss black trim. The R badge itself has been reworked slightly, and the letter is now a slicker looking piece versus what we have seen in past R models. Our favorite piece of kit though are the 19-inch wheels which are shod in summer performance tires. They look cool in some of Volkswagen’s press imagery, ad we suspect that many future owners will agree.
Technology rules the day
Slip inside the cabin of the Golf R, and you will see that familiarity is a very prominent theme once again. Folks that have spent time behind the wheel of a current generation GTI will find a very familiar layout here, This includes the strong focus in higher quality materials, the infusion of slicker technology, as well as the same basic ergonomics. All R models feature splashes of blue trim, with the slightly more aggressive sport seats featuring a blue R logo that is stitched into the back rest. The Golf R even features a model exclusive “R” button on the steering wheel which provides the driver with easy access to Race mode, and eliminates the need to actually reach for a button or swipe through menus to access it.
The Golf R also appears to subtlety steal a few pages from the Audi school of luxury, with buyers having the ability to add optional Nappa Leather seats to their ride for the first time ever. This subtle change will undoubtedly please those that want a distinctively more luxurious set of thrones to sit on when taking their ride through the twists and turns of winding back roads.
The most powerful Golf R ever
The real heart of the matter lurks under the hood, with Volkswagen engineers doing everything they could to ensure that the Golf R has the tools to claw its way back to the top. A 2.0 liter turbocharged four cylinder engine is still under the hood, but numerous revisions by Volkswagen engineers have finally allowed it to smash through the 300 horsepower barrier, with the car now producing 315 horsepower and 310 lb-ft of torque. These beefier figures allow the R to make the sprint to 60 mph in 4.7 seconds, with the spiciest of all hot hatches topping out at 155 mph. A six speed manual is still standard, but buyers will have the option of equipping it with a seven speed DSG dual clutch transmission.
The horsepower number though is the highlight here, with the new model making 27 more horsepower than it did back in 2019. This increase in power could allow the R to make up some ground in sales, especially with the Ford Focus RS now out of the market in the U.S. The power is routed to all four wheels through a standard 4Motion all-wheel drive system, but this time VW claims that an all new rear differential helps improve power distribution between the front and rear axles. That includes the ability to send all the torque to the outside wheel as part of an all new Drift Mode.
The suspension has also been revised, and VW claims that it’s now 10 percent stiffer than before. The revisions also help make minimal improvements to the geometry, but VW engineers did manage to cleave 6.6 lbs of flab thanks to a lighter aluminum sub-frame.
When can I buy a 2022 Golf R?
Volkswagen did not release any pricing information for the 2022 Golf R in its release, but look for that particular detail to be revealed closer to its official launch. In our opinion, we suspect that prices will rise slightly, but still remain with in the $40,000 landscape. As mentioned, the 2022 Golf R will have a near perfect opportunity to try and regain some ground with the departure of the Ford Focus and its performance variants. With them gone, the only major threat remaining is the Honda Civic Type R which makes slightly less power from its 2.0 liter engine, and only comes with a manual transmission.
Carl Malek has been an automotive journalist for over 10 years. First starting out as a freelance photographer before making the transition to writing during college, his work has appeared on numerous automotive forums as well as websites such as Autoshopper.com.
Carl is also a big fan of British vehicles with the bulk of his devotion going to the Morgan Motor Company as well as offerings from Lotus, MG, and Caterham. When he is not writing about automobiles, Carl enjoys spending time with his family and friends in the Metro Detroit area, as well as spending time with his adorable pets.