The hottest version of Volkswagen’s hot hatch is coming back for another round. The 2022 Volkswagen Golf R stems from the eighth generation Golf, which launched in Germany late last year. The Mk7 R bowed out of the U.S. in 2019, while the Golf and GTI carried on mostly unchanged and will continue to do so through the 2021 model year. VW has confirmed that the new R and GTI variants will launch towards the end of next year.

VW is touting the next Golf R as the “most powerful and fastest version of the brand’s performance halo.” The 2.0-liter turbocharged I-4 engine sends 315 horsepower and 310 pound-feet of torque to all four wheels. This is a nice bump up from the previous generation’s 288 hp and 280 lb-ft. The German carmaker claims a 0-62 mile per hour time of 4.7 seconds and a maximum speed of 155 mph. Drivers can choose between a (huzzah) standard 6-speed manual or 7-speed DSG dual-clutch automatic transmission.

The VW Golf R has traditionally undersold its performance capabilities – no monstrous wings or hood scoops here. The sedate design carries over, though there are some new highlights. The front splitter and intake are unique to the R, as are its 19-inch wheels, blue R-badged brake calipers (with larger discs), side skirts, rear bumper with diffuser, and roof spoiler. Chrome-capped exterior mirrors project the R logo onto the ground when the doors are opened and closed. The R sits .8 inches lower than the standard Golf.

Four on the floor

Beyond the increased power output, the Golf R’s defining feature has always been 4Motion Haldex all-wheel-drive system. The R can now regulate the power between the two rear wheels thanks to torque vectoring, which helps to reduce understeer when cornering.

The latest R model will feature a “newly developed” version of the system, along with a Vehicle Dynamics Manager. The Golf R’s updated 4Motion setup has a new rear differential that can split the power between the left and right rear wheels. Power is routed in a 50:50 ratio under normal driving conditions but when things get twisty, 100 percent of torque can be applied to the outside rear wheel while taking a corner, for example. This will be an exclusive feature on the North American Golf R.

The VW GTI Mk7 will steer you toward driving heaven

The VDM monitors the 4Motion system, electronic differential locks, and the adaptive damping system, which can make 200 adjustments per second.

Tap the R button on the steering wheel to be taken to the driving profile section. From there you can select between Comfort , Sport , Race, and Individual. These modes are self-explanatory, with individual letting you rack up the comfort or performance levels beyond the standard settings.


The digital cockpit can be configured to the driver’s liking and infotainment is delivered via the 10-inch Discover Pro screen. The Golf R’s heated steering wheel incorporates touch control with haptic feedback. Nappa leather seats have blue accents to complement the blue stitching on the steering wheel. The R logo is strewn throughout the cabin, letting your passengers know that this is no ordinary Golf. Stainless steel pedal caps and driver footrest are standard along with 30-color ambient lighting.

Bragging rights

2022 Volkswagen Golf R reveal
Volkswagen of America, Inc.

Track-tuned passenger cars are nothing new and Volkswagen took its flagship hatch to one of the most revered motorsport destinations on the planet. “The new Golf R underwent its final tuning on the legendary Nürburgring Nordschleife race track, and includes new ‘Special’ and ‘Drift’ driving profiles,'” VW stated in its press release. This brings the total drive modes up to six.

The Special mode apparently knocked 17 seconds off of the car’s Nürburgring run. Drift mode changes the car’s Electronic Stability Control (ESC) to enable some tail-sliding action. We wonder how this will compare to the drift mode in the Ford Focus RS.

The 2022 Volkswagen Golf R will launch in three different colors: Lapiz Blue Metallic, Pure White, and Deep Black Pearl Effect. A sunroof is standard and it seems your choices will be limited to paint color and transmission. The 2019 Golf R’s MSRP was just over $41,000 including the destination charge and we expect the new one to be priced a bit higher than that.

No word on whether or not we’ll see the return of the standard Golf or e-Golf stateside in the future.

Hot hatch history

The Volkswagen Golf was introduced in 1974 and sold 6.99 million units, according to Volkswagen AG. The Golf II brought the first all-wheel drive variant in 1986 with the Syncro. The VR6-powered AWD Golf R32 came along in 2002 as part of the Mk4 lineup, laying the foundation for the current R. The R32 saw two generations before the the Golf R replaced it in 2009 shortly after the sixth generation Golf was introduced. The 2022 five-door Golf R marks the third iteration of the model, which offered a three-door variant in previous generations.

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