Still not as powerful as the Ford Focus RS

In November 2016, Volkswagen launched the facelifted, seventh-generation Golf, unveiling all versions of the popular hatchback save for the range-topping R. With 2017 just around the corner, the German car maker has quietly revealed the Golf R too. As expected, the beefed-up hatchback arrives with a slightly more powerful engine and an updated exterior.

Design-wise, the R model received the same updates as the rest of the Golf lineup. Up front, there’s a revised radiator grille with a chromed lower strip that extends through the new LED daytime running lights. The LED headlamps are also new and included in the standard package. Below, there’s a redesigned bumper with a larger opening in the middle and revised side vents with black-painted surrounds. The new bumper gives the Golf R a more aggressive stance compared to the outgoing model, which looked rather bland. Around back, notable changes include taillights with a new LED pattern and larger lamps in the bumper. The hatchback also rides on new, double-five-spoke wheels.

Inside, the R carried over with almost no changes in terms of styling, but got a wide array of new tech, starting with a new touchscreen with gesture control. There’s also a new fully digital instrument cluster measuring 12.3 inches and offering five different information profiles. Other novelties include the Media Control App, which provides an infotainment interface for tablets and smartphones, the Security & Service package with various apps and access to immediate assistance in the even for a crash or a breakdown, and an online anti-theft alarm.

Under the hood, the turbocharged, 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine received a mild power hike. Much like the Seat Leon Cupra, the Golf R now benefits from extra 10 PS (10 horsepower), which takes the total output to 310 PS (306 horsepower). The hatchback needs 4.6 seconds to hit 62 mph from a standing start on its way to a top speed of 155 mph. European pricing starts from €40,675 for the hatchback with the manual transmission and from €44,800 for the Variant wagon version with the DSG. U.S. pricing information is not yet available.

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Why it matters

2018 Volkswagen Golf R Comes With More Power And Better Looks High Resolution Exterior
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Although the facelift doesn’t add much in terms of horsepower and performance, which is a pretty big deal given that the Ford Focus RS comes with a whopping 350 horsepower on tap, it brings a lot of new features inside and out. The new displays, gesture control feature, and the extra apps will most definitely keep enthusiasts and tech geeks happy, while the more aggressive bumper finally gives the Golf R the menacing stance it deserves. Granted, Volkswagen could’ve done better as far as looks and performance go, but this upgrade should keep the car fresh until the next-generation model arrives.

Ciprian Florea
Senior Editor and Supercar Expert -
Ciprian's passion for everything with four wheels (and more) started back when he was just a little boy, and the Lamborghini Countach was still the coolest car poster you could hang on your wall. Ciprian's career as a journalist began long before earning a Bachelor's degree, but it was only after graduating that his love for cars became a profession.  Read More
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Press Release

Now it is possible to order nearly all versions of the new Golf. This also means that pre-sales have launched for the entry-level version with 63 kW / 85 PS. The Golf 1.0 TSI Trendline1 at this power level costs €17,850 – its price has not risen one cent despite substantially improved features. In addition, it is now also possible to order the Golf 2.0 TDI 4MOTION4 all-wheel specialist and the Golf R2 which now has a power output of 228 kW / 310 PS. Since the beginning of December it has been possible to configure all Golf and Golf Variant models of the Trendline, Comfortline and Highline equipment lines as well as the Golf Alltrack and the Golf GTI5.

2018 Volkswagen Golf R Comes With More Power And Better Looks High Resolution Exterior
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The 63 kW / 85 PS1 Golf has a 1.0-liter TSI that is being used here for the first time; the efficient turbocharged direct-injection petrol engine consumes just 4.8 l/100 km. The Golf 2.0 TDI 4MOTION4 with 110 kW / 150 PS is also launching now as the all-wheel version of the diesel models (from €29,600 / from €30,750 as a Golf Variant6). Like all new Golf cars, they too are now fitted with LED tail lights and the new Composition Colour infotainment system as standard.

2018 Volkswagen Golf R Comes With More Power And Better Looks High Resolution Exterior
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Golf R2 and Golf R Variant3 play in a league of their own. The power output of the Golf R2 (from €40,675 with manual gearbox / Golf R Variant from €44,800 with DSG3) was boosted for model year 2017. This model – the most powerful Golf – now develops 228 kW / 310 PS (10 PS increase) and transfers 400 Nm of torque (20 Nm more) to the all-wheel drive system. Fitted in this way, the Golf R2 accelerates to 100 km/h in just 4.6 seconds.

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