Volkswagen Golf R Mk8 officially revealed – 315 hp and 420 Nm; zero to 100 km/h in 4.7 seconds; Drift mode

Volkswagen Golf R Mk8 officially revealed – 315 hp and 420 Nm; zero to 100 km/h in 4.7 seconds; Drift mode

Here it is, the most powerful Volkswagen Golf R ever built by the German carmaker. Based on the eighth-generation (Mk8) Golf, the new hot hatch takes its place at the top of line-up, above the Golf GTI that made its debut back in February.

Power comes from an EA888 2.0 litre turbocharged four-cylinder that serves up 320 PS (315 hp) and 420 Nm of torque, which is a step up from the previous Golf R Mk7 with just 300 PS (296 hp) and 380 Nm. In terms of performance, the new car takes 4.7 seconds to get from zero to 100 km/h – 0.2 seconds quicker than before – while the top speed remains capped at 250 km/h. The latter can be bumped up to 270 km/h, but you’ll need to pay for the optional R-Performance package.

The engine is paired with a six-speed manual transmission, with the option of a seven-speed DSG dual-clutch transmission. Volkswagen’s 4Motion all-wheel drive is also standard here, but has been revised to feature a newly developed rear differential that not only distributes the power variably between the front and rear axles, but also between the left and right rear wheels.

Where the previous system is capable of splitting power in a 50:50 ratio via a multi-plate clutch to the left and the right rear wheels, the new one can send up to 100% of torque to the outside wheel for increased agility – Volkswagen calls this R-Performance Torque Vectoring.

Volkswagen Golf R Mk8 officially revealed – 315 hp and 420 Nm; zero to 100 km/h in 4.7 seconds; Drift mode

Managing the distribution of torque is the Golf R’s Vehicle Dynamics Manager, which also works with the electronic differential locks (XDS) and adaptive damping system (DCC) to optimise handling. The system also handles torque vectoring by braking and comes with six drive modes – Comfort, Sport, Race, Individual, Special and Drift.

As you’d expect, each mode changes the characteristics of the car, with Comfort and Individual being pretty much self-explanatory. In Sport mode, the powertrain’s response is increase, while Race mode disables the coasting function, increases the engine sound, and adjusts the DSG, DCC, steering and all-wheel drive system to be even sportier.

The first of the two new modes, Special, sets the car up to take on the fabled Nürburgring Nordschleife, and is similar to Race mode, but with softer damper settings given the very specific track characteristics of The Green Hell. Meanwhile, Drift mode dials back the electronic stability control (ESC) and readjusts the all-wheel drive system’s power distribution to enable the Golf R, to well, drift. Of course, you can switch off ESC completely, if you’re sure you know what you’re doing.

In terms of the chassis, the Golf R has a 20 mm lower ride height compared to a standard Golf, and compared to the previous version, the spring and anti-roll bar rates have been increased by 10%. An aluminium subframe also helps shed three kg from the front suspension, which houses MacPherson struts – the rear uses a multi-link setup.

Other changes include modified transverse link mounts and hub carriers on the rear suspension, while the negative camber has been increased on the front axle (now at -1°20’) to allow for higher cornering speeds and improved stability.

Stopping power comes courtesy of 358-mm front discs, which are 18 mm larger than the previous Golf R. The discs are accompanied by two-piston calipers made of aluminium, which help to reduce unsprung mass by 60% per side.

Visually, the latest Golf is not shy about its aggressive nature, with a specific front bumper that incorporates a motorsport-inspired splitter, R-specific air intake grilles and high-gloss black elements. The slim grille between the headlamps also features a blue crossbar that lights up, stretching all the way into the fenders.

Other cues include 19-inch aluminium-alloy wheels, side skirts, matte chrome side mirror caps with R logo puddle lamps, blue-painted brake calipers, a rear diffuser, a roof spoiler and four chrome-plated Akrapovic exhaust pipes.

On the inside, you get the same layout as a regular Golf, with model-specific touches to mark it out as an R model. These include Nappa leather seats with carbon-look elements, blue accents and R logos sewn into the backrest, as well as a sport steering wheel with a dedicated R button to cycle through the various drive modes.

In other areas, there’s carbon-look and R-specific trimmings, stainless-stell pedal caps, a 30-colour ambient lighting system, ergonomically-shaped shift paddles, a 10-inch Discover Pro touchscreen infotainment system and Volkswagen’s Digital Cockpit.

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Gerard Lye

Originating from the corporate world with a background in finance and economics, Gerard’s strong love for cars led him to take the plunge into the automotive media industry. It was only then did he realise that there are more things to a car than just horsepower count.



  • Karam Singh on Nov 04, 2020 at 11:23 am

    Most powerful Golf ever? The big question now is… Is it faster than Renault Megane RS Trophy R with 1.8 litre turbo around the Nurburgring?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 10
    • Bob_B78 on Nov 04, 2020 at 1:46 pm

      Maybe. But even if it is faster, Megane will still retain the fastest FWD as Golf R is AWD

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 1
      • Fakta on Nov 04, 2020 at 3:23 pm

        Honda Civic Type R the fastest sets new FWD lap and reclaim the Nurburgring Nordschleife.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 6
        • Bob_B78 on Nov 04, 2020 at 9:55 pm

          Interesting. When did CTR reclaim back the crown. Iv echecked n it is still held by Megane since last year officially

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0
          • pojie on Nov 05, 2020 at 9:08 pm

            i guess he meant Lynk & Co 03 Cyan Racing Concept

            Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0
        • Megroz29 on Jan 25, 2021 at 1:15 pm

          Honda Civic Type R looked like it was designed by 10 ppl.. does not appeal to matured drivers whc it shd be targeting.. instead looks like it’s targeting 20s to 30s age group, whom can’t afford them anyway.

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0
  • Leafable on Nov 04, 2020 at 11:40 am

    Sell below rm200k. Ckd kat kilang Drb pekan

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 4
  • Civic Turbo 2018 on Nov 04, 2020 at 1:04 pm

    Expect 4.4s -4.6s in actual…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1
  • Bieight on Nov 04, 2020 at 1:53 pm

    1.2 negative camber is a joke…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 6
    • Hantu Raya on Nov 04, 2020 at 2:40 pm

      Yes you’re right. What do engineers and test drivers know right?

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1
  • stick on Nov 04, 2020 at 3:00 pm

    drift what? are you encouraging drifting on public road?
    totally meaningless feature

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 12
  • This will still be the best selling all wheel drive hot hatch in the world without question.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0
  • tricycle on Nov 04, 2020 at 4:50 pm

    why the power is so little compared to amg 45. isn’t it the vw stands for people’s car? with similar hp to the beemer or the merc..

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1
    • The golf 8r was head to head with a a45s in a drag race in the uk and the outcome will shock you. Search golf 8r vs a45s on youtube and you’ll get to see it :)

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0
  • TowTruck on Nov 04, 2020 at 5:39 pm

    The only thing is fast about this car, is faster let tow truck tow. 2nd comes Tow Truck number speed dial.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 3
  • When will it come to the Malaysian Market?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

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