The Mk.8 Golf R is the hottest Golf to ever exist

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After pulling the plug on the regular Golf, Volkswagen retained the GTI and R with the new generation in the U.S. A more powerful 315 horsepower pumping 2.0-liter engine is powering the Golf R and with that comes AWD as standard. The interior gets more sophisticated as it gets a bigger infotainment display and a fully digital instrument console along with ambient lighting and other goodies. Is the new 2022 Golf R the ultimate hot hatch in the segment?


The eighth-generation Golf has already seen major upgrades over the outgoing generation with the GTI and R getting all the sportier elements and the latter being the sportiest among the bunch. As we know that the market here is SUV-biased, performance hatches have a selective fanbase and for them, the new Golf R is a big upgrade over the generation it replaces. The 2019 year saw the last Golf R until 2022 with a newer design philosophy and an upgraded performance which is even better than what it ever was. Powering the Golf R is a 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-four engine that is capable of putting out a massive 315 horsepower and drives through all four wheels as standard. The interior tech is all modern with a 10-inch touchscreen central display and a Digital Cockpit Pro which is a 10.2-inch instrument panel with a navigation system. That said, the new third-generation Golf R is now on sale and will compete with the new Hyundai Veloster N, the upcoming Civic Type-R, and the new Subaru WRX.

2022 Volkswagen Golf R Specifications

2022 Volkswagen Golf R Mk8 Exterior
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Expected Price: $45,000.

  • 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4 engine with torque-vectoring AWD.
  • 6-speed manual/ 7-speed DSG.
  • 19-inch alloy wheels.
  • Dual-zone automatic climate control.
  • Leather-wrapped sports steering wheel.
  • Nappa leather seats with power-adjustability, multi-level heating, and cooling.
  • Sunroof.
  • 10.2-inch Digital Cockpit Pro.
  • 10-inch touchscreen display.
  • Android Auto and Apple CarPlay connectivity.
  • Premium audio system.
  • Heads-up display.
  • Navigation system.

Standard safety features include:

  • Blindspot monitoring.
  • Lane-departure warning.
  • Lane-keeping assist.
  • Forward collision mitigation.
  • Automated emergency braking.

Exterior: Sportier than the GTI but similar design philosophy

2022 Volkswagen Golf R Mk8 Exterior High Resolution
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From the exterior, the third-generation Golf R looks similar to the new GTI which is its slightly tuned-down variant. The most noticeable difference is the front and rear bumpers. The front LEDs are the same as they are with the GTI with the elongated LED strip that lights up when the engine ignites. The lower grille gets bigger with more open vents on the sides which were partly hidden with the foglights on the GTI. Surely the vents do some cooling to the large brake rotors. The rear gets a bigger spoiler than the GTI which, in my opinion, is not annoying like the old Civic Type-R’s. The LED taillights are similar to the MK8 generation but this time around, there are quad exhaust pipes on the sides with a huge diffuser which wasn’t the case with the other trims.

2022 Volkswagen Golf R Mk8 Exterior High Resolution
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The “R” logo is seen twice, one on the side of the grille and one on the back. Actually, they are seen quite a few times but more in the interior. As the top-tier trim, the Golf R gets a set of beautiful alloy wheels and performance tires as standard. The overall design is the same as the standard Golf but the R gets more vents and creases to cheat air for sustained performance. As for the exterior dimensions, The Golf R is very similar to the GTI with an expected curb weight of around 4,300 pounds. A few of the notable exterior features of this new steaming-hot hatch are:

  • LED headlights, DRLs, and taillights.
  • Redesigned front and rear bumper.
  • The intake grille is now bigger and lets more air inside.
  • Rear roof spoiler.
  • Chrome sports-tuned quad exhausts.
  • Heated mirrors.
  • Adaptive headlights.
  • Keyless entry.
2022 Volkswagen Golf R Mk8 Exterior
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2022 Volkswagen Golf R Exterior Dimensions
Model 2022 Volkswagen Golf R
Curb Weight  TBD
Length 168.9 inches
Width  70.4 inches
Height 57.7 inches
Ground Clearance  5.1 inches
Wheelbase  103.5 inches

Interior: Bespoke detailing with many top-tier features

2022 Volkswagen Golf R Mk8 Interior
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If you compare it to the earlier generation Golf R, the new one feels premium and technologically advanced. There are a few R-specific details on the seats and blue-stitching that continues on the leather-wrapped sports steering wheel and even the door panels. Ambient lighting with up to 30 color choices have been added to the feature list and it provides an upscale cabin experience. The steering wheel comes with heating functions and has touch-sensitive buttons to control the 10.25-inch driver information display. There is a special “R” button to activate the most dynamic performance mode without any hassle. A pair of paddle-shifters come as standard with the DSG variant only. The front end is completely redesigned with the new Golf R but is similar to the other Golf trims. A big 10-inch touchscreen display, unlike the 8.25-inch found on the lower trims, takes the center of the dashboard.

2022 Volkswagen Golf R Mk8 Interior
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Nappa leather seats come as standard for the front row with multiple power adjustments including power lumbar support, and multi-level heating. The practicality is similar to what you would get with the GTI which means plenty of headroom for a hatchback and decent legroom even at the rear. Let us mind you that the Golf R is no family-hauler so fitting five people inside the cabin at the same time wouldn’t be convenient. Very tall individuals might find the rear seats a bit cramped. The boot has a decent capacity of 19.9 cubic-feet and can fit up to three full-size suitcases and a few duffels without any problem. That said, here are the standout interior features of the 2022 Volkswagen Golf R:

  • Dual-zone automatic climate control.
  • Sunroof.
  • Ambient lighting.
  • Leather-wrapped flat-bottomed steering wheel with touch-sensitive control buttons, and heating functions.
  • 10.25-inch fully digital instrument panel.
  • Nappa leather front sports seats with multi-level power-adjustability, and heating options.
  • Keyless ignition.
2022 Volkswagen Golf R Interior Dimensions
Model 2022 Volkswagen Golf R
Seating Capacity 5
Front Row (Headroom/Shoulder Room/Leg Room, in inches) 38.4/55.9/41.2
Second Row (Headroom/Shoulder Room/Leg Room, in inches) 38.1/53.9/35.0
Cargo Capacity  19.9 cu. ft. 
2022 Volkswagen Golf R Mk8 Interior
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The infotainment system is pretty much what we have seen with the GTI, which means there’s a 10-inch touch-sensitive display and is slightly tilted towards the driver for added convenience. The interface is user-intuitive and is quite fluid when toggled around with the options. Features like Android Auto and Apple CarPlay connectivity will come with the Golf R and so does navigation, Bluetooth connectivity, and premium audio speakers. A list of infotainment features are listed below:

  • 10-inch touchscreen display.
  • Android Auto and Apple CarPlay connectivity.
  • Bluetooth connectivity.
  • Navigation system.
  • Satellite radio.

Performance And Handling: If GTI was powerful, the new Golf R takes it to another level

2022 Volkswagen Golf R Mk8 Exterior
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Despite feeling like a slightly tuned-up GTI in the past, the outgoing generation Golf R felt quite good. The new, third-generation Golf R gets the same 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-four engine from the GTI but now the engine puts out 315 horsepower and 310 pound-feet of torque.

To be precise, that is a power bump of 74 horses and 37 pound-feet from the new GTI. If you compare it with the earlier generation Golf R, then there’s a difference of 27 horses and 30 pound-feet.

This engine sounds fruitier than before, thanks to its sports exhaust. The new Golf R will be equipped with a 6-speed manual transmission as standard but a 7-speed DSG is available too. The DSG variant gets a pair of paddle-shifters to take control over the gear shifts whenever you like, but that’s partially true. The gearbox will automatically up-shift gears if you plan to red-line the engine. As standard, the Golf R comes with a 4Motion all-wheel-drive system with torque vectoring.

2022 Volkswagen Golf R Mk8 Exterior
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Well, the outgoing generation Golf R took about 4.5-4.7 seconds for 0-60 mph which was quite impressive. Now with the substantial power bump and engine tweaks, the new Golf R is expected to perform better with less than 4.5 seconds to reach 60 mph and a second faster in the quarter-mile run. If you compare it to the competition, the Hyundai Veloster with its less powerful engine still manages to perform a knot to 60 in 4.8 seconds, as claimed by Car And Driver. The older Civic Type-R is 0.1 second behind the Veloster. So, technically The Golf R should manage to be the king in the segment but there is a new Civic Type-R that is on its way and is expected to bring some important specs.

2022 Volkswagen Golf R Mk8 Exterior
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The new Golf R should be better at handling and braking if compared to its already impressive predecessor. The variable steering ratio, adaptive dampers, summer performance tires, and the torque vectoring system come as standard with the 2022 Golf R. So you can predict how handling is a priority for the company and is the only car in the segment with all these equipment fitted as standard. There are selectable drive modes for the Golf R (Comfort, Sport, Race, Special, and Individual), which make changes to the engine responsiveness, steering profile, suspension, and vehicle electronics. There is an optional Performance Pack that unlocks two more driving modes: Nurburgring and Drift, for the former being tuned to handle Germany’s legendary racetrack and the latter shuts off the traction control and lets you go crazy over tail slides.

2022 Volkswagen Golf R Performance Stats
Model 2022 Volkswagen Golf R
Engine Type 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4
Drivetrain AWD
Transmission 6-speed manual/7-speed DCT
Power  315 hp @ 5,900 RPM
Torque  310 lb-ft @ 1,900 RPM
0-60 (MPH)  4.3-4.6 seconds
Quarter-mile 12.8-13.1 seconds
Top Speed 155 mph

Fuel Economy

2022 Volkswagen Golf R Mk8 Exterior
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Neither the company nor the EPA has released or claimed the estimated fuel economy, but the outgoing Golf R did decent. We are expecting about 21-23 mpg in the city and 29-30 mpg for the highways. The EPA rated the earlier gen beast with 23/30 for city/highways which means the figures are bound to come down due to the increase in power figures with the new Golf R. The Veloster N has been rated with 20/27 for city/highway and the newly launched WRX is estimated to return 21/27 for the city/highway.

2022 Volkswagen Golf R Expected Fuel Economy
Model 2022 Volkswagen Golf R (Expected)
MPG (City) 21-23
MPG (Highway) 29-30
MPG (Combined) 24-26
Tank Capacity (Gallons) 14.0

Safety Convenience

2022 Volkswagen Golf R Mk8 Exterior
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As the top tier model of the MK8, the Golf R should pack all the advanced driver assistance features just like the earlier generation, which means features like blindspot monitoring, lane-keeping assist, lane-departure warning, and a few more. The 2019 Golf R has been rated with 5 stars by the NHTSA and similar ratings have been given by the IIHS with “Good”. So we can expect that the IIHS might present the “Top Safety Pick” award before the new Golf R. A few of the notable safety features are as follows:

  • Blindspot monitoring.
  • Rear cross-traffic alert.
  • Lane-departure warning.
  • 360-degree camera view.
  • Lane-keeping assist.
  • Forward collision mitigation.
  • Automated emergency braking.

Is the 2022 Volkswagen Golf R the ultimate among other hot hatches?

2022 Volkswagen Golf R Mk8 Exterior
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It is too early to make a statement but the changes with the overall design and how Volkswagen did their tricks to pass more air through the body. The engine is more powerful than ever and with loads of driving modes, two transmission options, and an AWD with torque vectoring, which makes it the ultimate among the other options but on paper. So we have to wait a little longer to get our hands on the beast and update you about how it is real life.

Amreetam Basu
Amreetam Basu
Content Contributor
Experienced Content Writer with a demonstrated history of working in the automotive industry. Skilled in Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Web Content Writing, Microsoft Office, and Article Writing. Strong media and communication professional with a Bachelor of Arts - BA focused in History and currently pursuing for Master of Arts.  Read full bio
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