When it comes to hot hatches, the iconic VW Golf R32 was an especially sizzling performer, packing a 3.5-liter V6 engine that made a rousing 250 hp when it was introduced in 2008. But Volkswagen plans to turn up the temperature even further with the reborn 2012 Golf R, which will boast more power, better performance and increased fuel efficiency as compared to its predecessor.
The game-changer here is the automaker’s award-winning 2.0-liter TSI engine, a turbocharged power plant that will feature 256 hp, 243 lb.-ft. of torque and expected EPA ratings of 19 mpg city/27 mpg highway in the new Golf R. And in addition to holstering the most powerful production engine ever used by a Golf in the U.S., the car includes standard performance enhancers like a uniquely tuned sport suspension.
Plano Volkswagen Dealers told us the sophisticated suspension setup relies on a damper-strut layout at the front, with lower control arms and a robust anti-roll bar, while the back sits on a compact multi-link arrangement that delivers coil springs, telescopic dampers, three lateral control arms, an anti-roll bar and more. As a result, the Golf R will be able to handle extreme driving maneuvers and challenging corners with aplomb, and just plain out-handle the competition.
Also in the mix – and also standard – is the latest generation of Volkswagen’s highly capable 4Motion all-wheel-drive system. With 4Motion leveraging a Haldex clutch pack that continuously adjusts the amount of torque going to the rear wheels, the Golf R offers the efficiency benefits of a front-wheel-drive car in normal driving scenarios yet can also send a full 100 percent of its torque to the back wheels for enhanced traction and true RWD performance.
To help drivers get the most out of the Golf R, the car’s spec sheet includes Volkswagen’s third-generation electro-mechanical power steering, here calibrated to deliver steering feel and performance that bests that of the VW GTI – itself no slouch in the corner-carving department. The Golf R’s engineers benchmarked the GTI’s brakes, too, then took stopping power a major step forward by adding bigger, vented 13.6-inch front discs and 12.2-inch rears.
And while those stoppers will do an excellent job slowing the Golf R, the car’s price certainly won’t. The 2012 VW Golf R is slated to go on sale in this country early next year at dealers like Hickory Volkswagen, with an MSRP that starts at $33,900 for two-door models, $35,490 for the two-door with navigation and $36,090 in the four-door body style, also with navigation.