2021 Volkswagen Golf R hot hatch revealed: price, specs and release date

With 316bhp and a 0-62mph time of just 4.7sec, the new Volkswagen Golf R promises to be one of the hottest hatches yet...

Volkswagen Golf R 2021 front

On sale: Early 2021 | Price from: £40,000 (est)

If ever a car could be diagnosed with having a split personality, surely it’s the new Volkswagen Golf R. On the one hand, it’s based on one of 2020’s most sensible new family cars, the latest Golf. On the other, it’s a hard-nosed hot hatch, with 316bhp, four-wheel drive and a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox.

Volkswagen Golf R 2021 rear

2021 Volkswagen Golf R engine and performance

Like its predecessor, the new Golf R uses a turbocharged 2.0-litre petrol engine. However, this has been tuned to produce an extra 20bhp. As a result, the new R also betters the output of the BMW M135i. And while it only matches the Honda Civic Type R in this regard, the Golf R accelerates faster than both these key rivals: 0-62mph takes just 4.7sec.

That's almost two seconds quicker than the already potent Golf GTI can manage. Meanwhile, for those who have somewhere suitable (and legal) to use it, the optional R-Performance Pack raises the R's top speed from 155mph (the same as the GTI's) to 168mph.

Alloy wheels of up to 19in are available to complement the silver door mirrors, beefy body kit and quad exhausts that mark the Golf R out as something special. But it's a little disappointing that there are just three colours to choose from: blue, black and white.

Volkswagen Golf R 2021 dashboard

2021 Volkswagen Golf R interior

Inside, the R gets a 10in touchscreen as standard. Our experience with this in the regular Golf suggests that the graphics will be sharp, but the icons fiddly and the menus unintuitive.

The digital instrument cluster in the R features bespoke graphics that mark it out from the regular car, while its infotainment system also includes a lap timer.

Additionally, the Golf R comes with sports seats, plenty of R badges and an R button on the steering wheel, which lets the driver cycle through a range of different settings, including a new Race mode. 

2021 Volkswagen Golf R alloy wheels

2021 Volkswagen Golf R equipment and price

A raft of assistance systems are on hand to keep drivers from over-reaching their abilities, including a new Vehicle Dynamics Manager, while adaptive suspension promises to make the Golf R as well-suited to the motorway as it is the racetrack.

Prices haven’t been revealed yet, but we’d expect the Golf R to cost around £40,000, making this range-topping hot hatch more expensive than the M135i and Civic Type R, as well as the Audi S3.

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