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Volkswagen Mk8 Golf R

The Volkswagen Mk8 Golf R is the latest member of the company’s large family of vehicles that have all descended from the original 1974 Mk 1 golf, yet has the distinct privilege of being the fastest and most powerful in its long line of ancestors, with a 2.0 litre, 4 cylinder engine that produces 316 brake horsepower and 310 lb ft (420 Nm) of torque. 

This not only makes it the most powerful vehicle available from Volkswagen, but also the fastest accelerating, capable of going from 0 to 62 mph in an alleged 4.7 seconds, in which this significant increase in the potential of the engine is provided by the number of minute refinements made to the evo4 generation of Volkswagen’s EA888 2-litre, turbocharged petrol engine. 

The Mk8 Golf R is able to distribute its wealth of torque to both the front and rear axles, as well as any of its 4 wheels, thanks in large part to the considerably improved torque vectoring system and the automatic, seven speed, dual-clutch gearbox. With the Golf R, Volkswagen have aspired to noticeably reduce the transition times between gears, whilst conditioning the gearbox to be more amenable, which has been achieved by enlarging the shift paddles necessary to change gears. Additionally, the new torque vectoring system, enables 100% of the accessible power generated to be transferred entirely to any of the back wheels, although this only comprises 50% of the vehicle’s total power, thus allowing for far more vivacious and exuberant handling around corners. 

In order to facilitate this enhanced handling, various changes have been made to the Golf R’s suspension system, with stiffer springs and adaptive dampers coupled with new and improved control arm mounts (which connect the suspension to the main body of the vehicle), helping to reinforce rigidity at the back of the car. This is juxtaposed by a more pliable and flexible front end as a result of its lightweight aluminium subframe, where traction has been increased due to the camber (angle) of the wheels being turned in slightly. The effect of this delicate marriage is that, during cornering, whilst the front wheels remain planted firmly into the ground, the rear end is able to exercise far more freedom and agility. 

Myriad other upgrades and changes have been made to enhance performance, whilst causing the aesthetic of the vehicle to be more appealing. For one, ground clearance has been reduced by 20 mm, in the process lowering the Golf R’s centre of gravity and centralising its weight to improve handling further. Furthermore, the brake discs have been discernibly enlarged and the Golf R now enjoys larger 18 inch alloys, a step-up on its predecessors 17 inch wheels. Perhaps more visible above all the other exterior changes are the 4 exhaust pipes instead of two,although the optional Akrapovic exhaust system, which is slightly more expensive, can be selected that decrease weight by an additional 7 kilograms because of their titanium components. 

On the interior, changes are more conspicuous and abundant. Volkswagen have installed a more sporty steering wheel and seats, with streaks of the blue unique to the R, present in most indentations, embroidered in the seats and floor mats with the signature R logo, and even emanating from the 10 inch infotainment screen, where the driver can tailor their driving experience to their own individual prerequisites. Moreover, the material used previously for the pedals has been replaced with stainless steel and an ambient light system has been integrated that can be personalised also. 

At £39,270, the R is capable of 155 mph, which it has been electronically limited to. Investing a surplus £2000, will acquire the R performance pack. This raises the top speed to 167 mph and increments the wheel size to 19 inches, in which a spoiler is also fitted to increase downforce and therefore traction. The performance pack also unlocks the “Drift” and “Special” driving modes, with the “Drift” setting enabling the rear wheel to be overridden with torque, as the vehicle turns, to allow it to drift. On the contrary, the “Special” setting simulates the track edition of the vehicle tested at the Nurburgring. 

So not only is the new Golf R Volkswagen’s fastest and most powerful production vehicle, it is an improvement by many metrics, provided by the new traction control and torque vectoring systems (both of which are attuned and adapted by the Dynamics Manager software that responds to a change in driving mode), and the plethora of other adjustments made. Consequently, it may very well be one of the best golfs available on the market

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