The current iteration of the Golf R is that which is based on the eighth-generation Golf, which made its global debut in November 2020. The example shown here wears the high-performance hatchback’s signature blue paint, and was photographed in Shah Alam, Selangor by paultan.org reader Adam J. The number plate also appears to be of the square layout more commonly seen on parallel imports; would this not be an officially represented unit?

In any case, rolling stock on this particular Golf R is a set of 19-inch “Adelaide” diamond-turned alloy wheels, rather than the “Estoril” units more commonly seen on the all-wheel-drive flagship of the eighth-generation Golf. Signature blue paint aside, other Golf R identifying cues are present, such as the matte chrome exterior mirror covers, gloss black trim (here applied to the rear bumper diffuser), quad exhaust pipes, and of course, the R badge that is now centrally located beneath the Volkswagen roundel.

Under the bonnet, thrust continues to come supplied from an EA888 2.0 litre inline-four turbocharged petrol engine that produces 320 PS and 420 Nm of torque, transmitted to all four wheels via a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic and all-wheel-drive.

The AWD layout gets a more advanced version of the driveline in this Mk8 iteration, now featuring R-Performance Torque Vectoring that can send up to 100% to an outside wheel for increased agility. Here, the Vehicle Dynamics Manager controls the XDS electronic differential locks, adaptive damping and brake-based torque vectoring to influence the car’s handling, offering six drive modes in total, including a Drift mode.

2021 Volkswagen Golf R

Drift mode is one of two new modes, which as the name implies, enables the driver to slide the car with stability control wound back and a reshuffled power distribution. The other new mode is Special, intended for the famed Nurburgring Nordscheleife and which summons softer damper settings to optimise control on the undulating German circuit.

Chassis hardware specific to the Golf R includes a lighter aluminium subframe, 10% stiff springs and dampers, a 20 mm lower ride height relative to the standard Golf, increased negative camber on the front axle as well as modified transverse link mounts and hub carriers on the rear suspension, for improved stability and higher cornering speeds.

Inside, the latest Golf R carries over the architecture of the standard eighth-generation Golf, where the Volkswagen Digital Cockpit is paired with a 10-inch Discover Pro touchscreen-operated infotainment system. Blue accents throughout the cabin denote the flagship ‘R’ status.

The previous, Mk7 facelift Golf R for Malaysia packed 290 PS and 380 Nm of torque, whereas other markets retained the full 310 PS output; it remains to be seen if this Mk8 iteration will get the full stable of horses, or continue to be slightly detuned for our market.

GALLERY: Mk8 Volkswagen Golf R