The test: VW Golf R, hyperactive or clinically effective? (2021)

The new generation of Volkswagen Golf is now well established, in the meantime the introduction of sporty variants of the Golf has also been completed. This range has traditionally included the Golf GTI and GTD and, since the previous generation, the plug-in hybrid GTE and the more radical GTI Clubsport. Traditionally, it is the Golf R that ranks first in the sports range. This time too, the R is offered again in a proprietary version called the Variant, but we hit the road with the now classic 5-door.

Familiar oven

Let’s deal with numbers first. The Golf R still uses the familiar 2.0 TSI four-cylinder engine, which shares its base with GTI models and a range of other Volkswagen Group sports models. In this R, it gains power: it no longer produces 300 or 310 hp as before, but 320 hp and 420 Nm. That power is still transmitted through a seven-speed dual-clutch DSG gearbox and can reach 100 km/h in 4.7 seconds. maximum speed ? It is limited to 250 km / h. But let’s get back to that soon.

The Golf R’s power is traditionally sent to all four wheels, but for this new generation Volkswagen has made some adjustments. It is distributed not only between the front and rear wheels, but also between the rear wheels separately, thanks to the torque vectoring. Up front, the XDS electronic differential keeps everything under control. This means that, just as in the Ford Focus RS and Mercedes-AMG A 45 S, it is now possible to do some modest slippage in the Golf R.

AS24 VW Golf R 2021 fixed

fair fashion

For this you have to order the optional R Performance package (2235 euros). Not only does this increase the top speed of this Golf R to 270 km/h, but it also increases downforce on the rear wheels thanks to a larger roof spoiler, 19-inch tires (standard, Golf R is equipped with 18-inch wheels) and two driving modes. additional. The Nürburgring mode sets all the driving standards for the fast course of Germany’s most famous circuit, while the drift mode sends as much power as possible to the rear wheels and unleashes the reins of the ESP. It is also possible to completely disable the latter, but you will have to do it yourself.

These driving modes give the Golf R some extra faces. The previous generation mainly offered a low-level everyday or sporty and highly efficient driving experience, and this new generation adds a few more layers. In Comfort driving modes, the Golf R again chooses a comfortable and quiet driving style, in Sport mode, uncompromising efficiency is added. In Drift mode, the R maintains a great level of grip and you can really feel the rear coming into play when coming off the curve.

AS24 VW Golf R 2021 Back to Back


Visually, the Golf R opts for a less aggressive styling than the GTI Clubsport, for example, but for the connoisseurs, the R is the car that immediately catches the eye. This does not change with this new generation. Just like the GTI Clubsport, it gets a deeper front bumper and adds a prominent R badge on the grille. At the rear, there are again twin tailpipes on both sides, and the mirror caps in silver-gray protrude laterally.

Inside, there are fixed sports seats mounted very high, gear shift knobs larger than those of the GTI – which are better within reach – as is the small gearshift. So the latter can no longer be used to change the speed. What’s useful is that the Golf R has an “R” button on the steering wheel, so you don’t have to look for a button in the center console to change the driving modes.

AS24 VW Golf R 2021 interior


Volkswagen asks for at least €52,215 (€51,135 in France) for a Golf R. That’s €10,000 more than a GTI and about €5,000 more than a GTI Clubsport, but you get a little more power and a different personality in return. Don’t forget the R Performance Pack supplement, which we highly recommend.

Just like the Adaptive Dynamics Control (€870), but the performance exhaust can be omitted from Specialized Akrabovich (€3745) as far as we are concerned. Either way, the Golf R feels shyer than before due to current emission standards, but when you get the most out of it, the standard exhaust will give you some audio entertainment, too.

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This new R has once again found its place at the top of the sporting golf range. The clinically effective character of its predecessor gives way to the nature excessive Thanks to the intelligent all-wheel drive transmission. Just make sure to keep an extra budget available for the options needed to fully develop his character…

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