Volkswagen release details of fastest-ever Golf R

Volkswagen has finally released details of the Golf R, the fourth-generation of the hot-hatch’s most extreme model – and it’s set to be the fastest yet.

With 296bhp from its turbocharged 2.0-litre engine, this incarnation of the Golf R is certainly potent and could arguably be placed in the firing line of some mid-range sports cars.

The engine is a reworked version of that in the latest GTI, producing nearly 85bhp more and a total of 280lb ft of torque. Changes in the application of the pistons, new cylinder heads, high pressure injection valves and a new turbocharger all help make up the power increase.

Four-wheel-drive has been implemented once more, while front and rear electronic differentials are also a highlight of the specs released by Volkswagen. Power is sent through a six-speed manual gearbox as standard and Volkswagen claim the new Golf R can reach 62mph from standstill in a rapid 5.3sec. However, this time drops to 4.9sec if the six-speed dual-clutch automatic is ticked in the options list.

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In regards to the four-wheel drive, Volkswagen has employed its 4Motion permanent all-wheel drive Haldex system, something which VW claim eradicates wheelspin and slip, while 100 per cent of the torque can be sent to each of the axles depending on which requires it the most at any given time. Meanwhile, XDS+ electronic differentials have been fitted to the front and rear axles in order to brake individual wheels if high loads are sensed and reduce understeer as a result; uprated brakes also help the cause.

Compared to the GTI, the Golf R has been lowered by 5mm and the suspension stiffened, and Volkswagen believe such changes have resulted in the R having improved comfort and agility when compared to the previous generation. Three driving modes are offered (Comfort, Normal and Sport) through the optional Dynamic Chassis Control (DCC) and a progressive steering system is also offered.

With the Golf R being a step-up from the GTI, there are also visual changes as well as technical additions. The R has various flourishes to the body, with new front and rear bumpers, wider sills, a rear diffuser and twin exhausts all being added. Standard 18in alloys can be ditched for optional 19in wheels, while inside, sports seats and a bespoke trim are also offered.

The Golf R will go on sale in spring 2014, with a sub £30,000 starting price expected for a manual three-door model; those equipped with the optional DSG gearbox will see an additional cost of around £1,200.

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