Premium Volkswagen R models boost performance to new levels
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The Volkswagen R legend kicked off 20 years ago when the company spawned a rambunctious, deep-throated Golf hatchback that roared its way into the annals of performance car history.
The deep-chested V6-powered 4wd Golf R32 was part rally car, part German touring car, part family car and it first set the scene for an explosive new range of R-badged Volkswagens that will lob into the New Zealand market during 2022.
A new 2022 Golf R super-hatch will arrive in either March or April to pick up the cudgels of the Golf R32, and will be accompanied by the new Tiguan R, a medium sized SUV packing similar punch for those who like to fly a little higher above the ground.
Later in the year, the 2022 R-model range will become a quartet with the arrival of the compact T-Roc R crossover and the most intriguing of them all – the plug-in hybrid Touareg R SUV.
“R is a lot more than a badge,” says Volkswagen general manager Greg Leet.
“It’s a symbol that promises an intricate blend of sport, high performance, and indescribable thrills.”
The new Golf R will add extra chapters to Volkswagen’s hot hatchback playbook by lifting performance to levels normally associated with cars wearing six-figure pricetags. Driver appeal will go right through the sunroof thanks to a number of waste-gate sound effects and an engine induction roar that’ll rival the famous sound of the R32. Speaking of which, the normally aspirated V6 of the first Golf R soon got dropped in favour of a turbocharged 2.0 litre engine that delivered better performance and used less fuel while enhancing the handling of the hottest Golf with its lighter mass and better-balanced weight distribution. The adaptive 4wd system stayed to create a major point of difference with the almost-as-frisky, and more populous front-drive Golf GTI, and it is this 2.0T/4wd powertrain formula that the new 2022 Golf R builds upon.
The coming new Golf R will absolutely put the cheeky GTI in its place with an emphatic increase in engine performance, and will offer a king-hit of approximately 235kW of peak power compared to approximately 180kW of the current GTI model. The two performance hatchbacks from Volkswagen share the same legendary EA888 2.0litre turbo-petrol four-cylinder engine, now into its fourth major revamp and flexing even more muscle. The latest EA888 has durability-enhancing features like a cast-iron engine cylinder block, strengthened pistons, and a forged crankshaft, giving Volkswagen the opportunity to fully turn up the boost of the turbocharger for the coming Golf R and Tiguan R models. Both pump 235kW of power and 400Nm of torque, the latter available across a broad swathe of the rev range. This means the 2022 Golf R and Tiguan R will enjoy a brief reign as the most powerful R-badged Volkswagens ever created until the Touareg R super-SUV arrives later in the year.
First shipments of the Golf R and Tiguan R to New Zealand will be comprised of special ‘First Edition’ models, and the Golf R in particular has some special driving tricks in keeping with the appeal that the model has projected to driving enthusiasts over the past two decades.
“Twenty years of Golf R deserves to be marked with a special feature,” says Volkswagen product manager (passenger), Sang Jeon.
“And Volkswagen has delivered not one, but two, special driving modes – ‘Drift’ and ‘Nurburgring’ – for use away from public roads.”
The two extra modes of the First Edition Golf R are part of a performance pack that also includes a larger rear spoiler, and join the four standard driving modes – Comfort, Sport, Race and Individual. All modes offer different tunes for steering assistance, gear shift protocols, stability control, torque distribution, and the way the torque-vectoring rear differential allocates driving force according to the loads on the individual rear tyres.
The new Golf R will cost $76,990 while the Tiguan R will cost a further $3000, and prices of the T-Roc R and Touareg R will be released closer to their arrival late in 2022. Mr Leet says that the R range will offer a level of performance technology that has only been previously available within high-end vehicle categories.
“But Kiwis will also need to be quick if they want the chance to claim one as their own.
“The first shipment in the New Year is already 70 per cent pre-sold on Golf R alone, but more cars are expected in April.”
Soon there will be a high-performance, highly-refined Volkswagen for just about everyone. Families that would find a hatchback too cramped will be able to choose to have their performance packaged in a larger body style with the Tiguan R and Touareg R, while those with less baggage to cart who still value a higher seating position can opt for the coming new T-Roc R.
Even those who like to complete short journeys without generating emissions will soon be able to drive an R-badged Volkswagen, as the Touareg R has an EV driving mode that drives the vehicle while using the clean energy stored in the 14.3kWh lithium-ion battery alone. It will also be the first R-badged Volkswagen with a highly competitive towing capacity of 3500kg (braked), and there’s maximum driving force of approximately 700Nm available once the turbocharged 3.0litre V6 petrol engine fully combines with the electric motor whenever there’s some hard mahi to be done.
You can find out more and register your interest at www.volkswagen.co.nz/en/new-cars/volkswagen. Meanwhile, those who already own a Golf R might wish to join the Facebook group, Wookies in the Wild, if they haven’t already done so. The ‘Wookie’ refers to the distinctive Chewbacca growl that the V6 engine of the original R32 makes when cruising down the road.