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Volkswagen Golf R MK8 by ABT - Making the Competition Irrelevant

ABT makes the Golf R way faster than the Civic Type R and on par with the AMG A45 S and Audi RS3

When Volkswagen revealed the Mk.8 Golf R, everyone was very impressed. The familiar 2.0-liter turbocharged four-banger was massaged to deliver 315 horsepower and 310 pound-feet of torque – a nice improvement of 27 horsepower and 30 pound-feet over the MK.7 Golf R. On top of this new Golf R brought the future with it thanks to some awesome high-end tech like that cool all-digital dashboard. In the end, the Golf became a formidable competitor for cars like the Honda Civic Type R, beating it out in almost every category except top speed, which it lost by 2 mph (167 mph vs. 169 when the Golf was equipped with the performance package.) But, what if this kind of performance isn’t enough? Wait, who am I kidding? This is TopSpeed, and it’s never enough. Well, I suppose it’s a good thing that ABT has our back, and even thought what I’m about to tell you is going to sound pretty awesome, it’s going to get better in the future too!

Volkswagen Golf R by ABT – A Product of Advanced ECU Tuning With More to Come

Volkswagen Golf R MK8 by ABT - Making the Competition Irrelevant Exterior
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The standard Golf R derives its 315 horsepower and 310 pound-feet of torque from a EA888, 2.0-liter, turbocharged, inline-four. ABT hasn’t meddled with this engine at all, but has managed to extract some very impressive numbers.

After the (somewhat) simple installation of a new, specially calibrated engine control unit (ECU), the Golf R puts down 384 horsepower and 347 pound-feet of torque – an improvement of 69 horsepower and 37 pound-feet.

These are huge numbers for the Golf R, but maybe for reasons other than what you might think at first. Unfortunately, ABT has yet to release 0-60 times or top speed figures, but we speculate that it can hit 60 mph in at least 3.9 seconds and will have a top speed of around 172 mph.

Volkswagen Golf R MK8 by ABT - Making the Competition Irrelevant Exterior
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I know, the standard Golf R is supposed to make the 60-mph sprint in 4.7 seconds, so my estimates seem off, right? Well, think again, because not that long ago, it was proven that the Mk.8 Golf R actually hits 60 mph in four-seconds flat. So, in theory, the ABT-tuned Golf R could be even faster to 60 mph, but we don’t want to get too far ahead of ourselves. As for top speed, the standard Golf R is limited to 155 mph, but with the performance pack, it’ll max out at 167 mph. so, we’ve added an extra 5 mph to the tally, which is likely very conservative.

In comparison to the Honda Civic Type R, an ABT-tuned Golf R wins hands down any day of the week, regardless of weather conditions, or the mood of the driver. The Type R is good for just 306 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque. 60 mph in the Type R comes in five seconds while top speed comes in at 169 mph. Needless to say, ABT has expanded the gap dramatically. But what about cars that are typically outside of the Golf R’s reach?

Volkswagen Golf R MK8 by ABT - Making the Competition Irrelevant Exterior
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The Mercedes-AMG A 45 S fits into that category, and even though its turbocharged 2.0-liter pumps out more power – 416 horsepower and 369 pound-feet to be exact – it also takes 3.9 seconds to hit 60 mph and tops out at 168 mph. The Audi RS3? Yeah, that’s another dog in this fight.

It’s 2.5-liter, turbocharged, inline-five sounds amazing and puts down 394 horsepower to go with 354 pound-feet of torque.

Again, this is more than the ABT-turned Golf R, but like the A45 S, the 60 mph sprint comes in 3.9 seconds. Top speed, on the other hand, is limited to a very German 155 mph. With this in mind, official figures from ABT could expose the Golf R, when properly tuned, to a position where it can take the crown from both the A 45 S and the RS3 – how’s that for a twist?

Volkswagen Golf R by ABT Performance Comparison
VW Golf R VW Golf R by ABT Honda Civic Type R AMG A 45 S Audi RS3
Engine 2.0-Liter Turbo I4 2.0-Liter Turbo I4 2.0-Liter Turbo I4 2.0-Liter Turbo I4 2.5-Liter I5
Transmission 6MT 6MT 6MT 8DCT 7DCT
Horsepower 315 HP 384 HP 306 HP 416 HP 394 HP
Torque 310 LB-FT 347 LB-FT 295 LB-FT 369 LB-FT 354 LB-FT
0-60 MPH 4.7 Seconds 3.9 Seconds (est) 5.0 Seconds 3.9 Seconds 3.9 Seconds
Top Speed 167 MPH (unlimited) 172 MPH (est) 169 MPH 168 MPH 155 MPH
Volkswagen Golf R MK8 by ABT - Making the Competition Irrelevant Exterior
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As of now, the ECU upgrade is literally all that ABT has managed to put together for the MK.8 Golf R, but it’s also just the tip of the iceberg. Of course, you’ll be able to get a selection of ABT’s in-house wheels finished in Gloss Black, muck like the black livery on the C-Pillars. However, ABT says it’s working on a new set of suspension springs which will likely offer a very humble reduction in ride height and, hopefully, even better handling in the sharper bends. Beyond this, the company is working on a new exhaust system that might make the Golf R sound even better than Audi’s legendary inline-five. But, is this as far as ABT can go? We’re guessing not. As the Mk.8 Golf R begins to acclimate into the global market, it’s entirely possible that the company could create even bigger gains with updated turbos and other internal upgrades to the engine. With the right motivation, we’re willing to bet that ABT could push output closer to the 500-horsepower mark. Whether or not that will happen is a mystery, but as they say: never say never.

Source: ABT Sportsline

Robert Moore
Robert Moore
Editor-in-Chief and Automotive Expert -
Robert has been an auto enthusiast his entire life. He started working cars at a young age, learning the basics from his father in the home garage on the weekends. As time went on, Robert became more and more interested in cars and convinced his father to teach him how to drive when he was just 13 years old. Robert continued working on cars in his free time and learned as much as he could about engines, transmissions, and car electrical systems, something that only fed his curiosity more and eventually led him to earn a bachelors degree in automotive technology with a primary focus on engine performance and transmission rebuilding.  Read full bio
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