2025 Volkswagen Golf R: Hot hatch gets hotter

Posted on June 26, 2024Comments Off on 2025 Volkswagen Golf R: Hot hatch gets hotter

The refreshed 2025 Volkswagen Golf R is more powerful than ever, but the hot hatch hero hasn’t received all of the updates made to the brand’s wider small car range.

Volkswagen Australia has confirmed the new Golf R – along with the rest of the Mk8.5 Golf lineup – is due to arrive in the first quarter of 2025 (January to March inclusive).

Though the Golf R retains the same turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine which has featured under its bonnet for almost 15 years, it’s now been turned up to produce 245kW of power and 420Nm of torque.

These outputs are identical to the limited-run 20 Years and 333 Limited Edition models, and represent an increase of 10kW and 20Nm on the outgoing hatchback – however the Golf R wagon (no longer available in Australia) matched the new torque figure.

Volkswagen claims its Mk8.5 Golf R can accelerate from 0-100km/h in 4.6 seconds, shaving two-tenths off the sprint time of its predecessor, while enabling a top speed of 270km/h – provided the optional Performance pack is added.

There’s no change to its seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission nor its all-wheel drive system, which includes torque vectoring to allow more power to be sent to the rear wheels if needed, and the ability to use ‘Drift Mode’.

As with previous Volkswagen Golf facelifts, design tweaks to the new R are minimal, though its lower bumper intake appears to have grown.

While LED headlights remain standard on European examples, overseas buyers can add new-look matrix LED units, which are standard on the Australian-delivered Mk8 Golf R.

Volkswagen’s central grille logo is also now illuminated, tying in with the full-width daytime running light across the front end.

Pictured throughout this story are Volkswagen’s new 19-inch ‘Warmenau’ forged wheels, available on overseas examples as an optional extra. There’s no word on if we’ll receive them in Australia, or whether the ‘Estoril’ wheels from the outgoing model will remain.

Inside the cabin there’s Volkswagen’s Digital Cockpit Pro instrument cluster, measuring 10.25 inches and including Golf R-specific graphics such as a central round or horizontal tachometer.

Curiously, the R appears to not have followed changes to the wider Mk8.5 Golf range by returning physical buttons to its steering wheel controls, instead sticking with much-maligned haptic controls.

It does however appear to gain the illuminated volume and climate control sliders which sit below its 12.9-inch infotainment touchscreen.

The infotainment system now incorporates the ChatGPT-assisted IDA intelligent voice assistant.

While black Nappa leather upholstery is optional, the standard cloth seats adopt a striking blue trim.

Owners who opt for the optional Performance package also get two additional drive modes – the aforementioned ‘Drift’ setting as well as a ‘Special’ mode, said to be developed to best suit the Nürburgring.

This package also adds a GPS lap timer and G-force readout to the digital instrument cluster, as well as a larger roof spoiler. 

European buyers are also able to opt for a special Golf R Black Edition, which features darkened badges and headlights, black brake calipers, black 19-inch Estoril wheels and black exhaust tips, as well as the Performance package as standard.

Australian pricing is yet to be announced.

The outgoing Volkswagen Golf R is priced from $70,590 before on-road costs in Australia.

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