2011 Volkswagen Golf R Preview

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R32. That three-character alphanumeric code is capable of kick-starting a whole subculture of hot hatch fans into overdrive. And for good reason--the Volkswagen Golf R32 was one of the most complete packages on the market, with power, handling, features and style for a still-affordable price. The R32's successor, the 2011 Volkswagen Golf R, was first revealed last year in Frankfurt and now we have new images and details following the car’s driving launch, which took place in Ellmau, Austria over the weekend.

The 2011 Golf R features the same powerplant as the off-limits-for-us Scirocco R, as well as a 4Motion all-wheel drive system that sends the mill's power to the ground. Compared to the version implemented in the Golf R32, the system underwent significant advanced development. Above all, power transmission between the front and rear axles--especially the all-wheel differential that operates in an oil bath--demonstrates clear advantages compared to the previous generation. The most important one: activation of the all-wheel differential no longer requires a difference between the front and rear axle speeds. In extreme cases, nearly 100% of the drive torque can be directed to the rear axle, a plus in terms of active safety and dynamic performance.

Its 2.0-liter TSI engine is rated at 265 horsepower--the most powerful production Golf ever--and is capable of propelling the hot hatch to 62 mph from rest in 5.5 seconds when equipped with the optional DSG dual-clutch gearbox (the standard manual gets it done 0.2 seconds slower). Top speed is electronically limited to 155 mph.

2011 Volkswagen Golf R

2011 Volkswagen Golf R

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Average fuel consumption of the new Golf R is about 21% better than the R32, up to 27.7 mpg combined according to Volkswagen.  Average fuel consumption of the new Golf R is about 21% better than the R32, up to 27.7 mpg combined according to Volkswagen. Not bad considering the hatch tips the scales at more than 3,353 pounds for manual models and almost 3,400 pounds for DSG-equipped cars.

Also available as an option is DCC dynamic chassis control whose character was fully tuned to the Golf R. This system continually adapts suspension damping to the roadway and driving situation. In addition to the standard “Normal” mode, the driver can manually activate a “Sport” or “Comfort” mode.

The chassis consists of a McPherson strut suspension with helical springs and telesco ping shock absorbers up front and a multi-link set-up in the rear. The brake system was also modified for the Golf R’s higher level of driving performance. Instead of a 16-inch system, a 17-inch brake system is used and all brakes have internally ventilated discs and R-specific calipers that are painted a high-gloss black with R-logo. These are housed within a set of 18 inch wheels as standard or an optional set of 19 inch units.

In addition to the wheels, a full bodykit and an aggressive hood scoop help distinguish the Golf R from your run of the mill Golf models. Also featured are bi-xenon headlights, centrally mounted exhaust pipes, and a large roof spoiler.

Inside, there are heated and leather trimmed bucket seats (race car-inspired shell seats are an option), a multi-function three-spoke leather steering wheel, aluminum door sills and stainless steel pedals, plus plenty of Golf R logos littered across the cabin.

2011 Volkswagen Golf R

2011 Volkswagen Golf R

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Fans of the R32 may be disappointed the sonorous six-cylinder of the old car won't be returning, but the peppy and efficient turbo 2.0-liter may offer more potential for tuning. Hot hatch fans in general will be glad to see the car come back in any form, as the 2011 Volkswagen Golf R is expected to arrive in local showrooms in the first half of the year.


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Comments (32)
  1. Still no full time AWD? Still only 6.4s/62mph? I'll pass.

  2. Not bad really, I wish we could get the GTD, but I would try one of these out, glad they kept the awd and reduced the weight by dropping the V6.

  3. ^^ Did you read? "propelling the hot hatch to 62 mph in 5.5 seconds"
    I really wanted the Sirocco R but I might settle with this instead.

  4. wow @ 27.7 mpg (for COMBINED!) thats great MPG for such a performance oriented 4 seater! well done VW! wise choice on the turbo-4 and keeping the styling so subtle. R32 fans will rejoice! just hope the sticker price isnt outrageous...

  5. Owning an 02 MCS and 195 whp this is an excellent vehicle I used to own a VW and man was it fun!! Hope it aint to expensive

  6. Epic, this needs to make it state side. AWD, 30 mpg highway, and 0-60 in 5.5, what does that go against? uh nothing,

  7. Any word if the 2 and 4 door versions will be available in the US?

  8. Raja, you're a moron. Why in the world would you want full time AWD -- 80 mph on the highway and you want AWD? You sure you know anything about cars? Anyway, read up on the new version of the Haldex system.

  9. Raja, you are a moron! Do you know anything about the 4motion awd system? I suggest reading up on subjects you are going to make dumb comments.

  10. lol at BUMBLEFOOT and dubdub - quite obviously the same retarded guy.
    Whats with the '80mph on the highway' reasoning? I would want full time AWD for those back roads in the country.
    Oh also, 4motion isn't an AWD system - just the marketing concept that VW calls all their AWD-fitted cars.
    Some cars with the 4motion nameplate, like the R32, feature a FWD-biased, part-time AWD system.
    I leave you with this interesting tip from Bumblefoot: "I suggest reading up on subjects you are going to make dumb comments"
    Ahh, isn't irony great.

  11. jontam, you are moron as well. Bumblefoot and I are two different posters having the same idea of the OP's thoughts and now of your unenlightened thoughts. Read up on the new Gen IV Haldex system, which doesn't get its input from the differential, like the old Haldex (4Motion) system you're referring to. Instead, it uses real-time CAN-BUS inputs. Keep up with the times, old-timer. Again, why would you want full time AWD, when so much torque gets wasted on the wheels that don't need it.

  12. dubdub is right...
    What people haven't realized (and I think VW should make it more clear) is that the haldex system in this car will be MUCH better than the one on the previous r32, or any other previous haldex equipped VW. It distributes torque among the wheels without having to detect a slip (electronically). I believe it is the same system used in the Saab Turbo-X.
    Why not have the great fuel economy (and not to mention less hp loss) when cruising, and the advantages of awd in situations that call for it?
    I can't understand why that's a bad thing.
    Anyways, this car is my dream. A bigger turbo'd GTI with awd and an EVEN better interior. I don't really think people can complain much with it's projected price point either. A stage 1 will easily be at par if not quicker than an STI.

  13. I forgot to mention, although it is very unlikely, please bring them to Canada!!!

  14. Will we get 4 doors and a 6sp manual stateside?

  15. Love the sound of my 2004 R32 and will miss it's growl but it may be time to upgrade, hope they bring the manual trani but after driving an Audi little sport wagon with the tiptronic I must admit I did not hate it this time.

  16. A 265 HP engine is "peppy"? Let's leave the watered-down descriptions to Autoblog, shall we?
    It seems that this should be called the VW GTI R, as calling it a Golf R (when the GTI is just the GTI now, not a Golf GTI) makes it look like a parallel hot hatch product line. Strange.

  17. buy r4 card, read again, its 5.5 not 6.5 as you mention. Performance seems pretty decent. and we all know turbo engines have much easier tuning potential than the slug 6 cyl that's been in the R32 in the past.

  18. 0-60 in 7.5s and 5300lbs?! Ahahah, j/k...read the article before posting! This sounds HOT! I am already in line...

  19. For reference, a simple VW AWD explanation from vwvortex.com:
    "The new Golf R utilizes a newer version of the Haldex all-wheel-drive system that does not require slip to engage AWD. Rather the new system is pre-primed and looks at throttle position and torque being delivered to determine how much clutch-pack locking to initiate. What this means is if the car is floored from a standing start, the electronics automatically assume that maximum torque is required and pre-engages the AWD system to maximize grip for the launch. When the car is normally driving down the highway in a situation where AWD isn't necessary, the system disengages the AWD clutch pack to reduce frictional losses and improve economy. Overall the new system is far more responsive and progressive in its behavior."

  20. Seems pretty nice, but too heavy, and probably too expensive - Rather have the Scirocco in this spec instead. Need to decontent some and let people option how they want as well as reduce weight. Not going to talk me out of my Audi yet I don't think!

  21. you americans need to realize that is a car meant for the european masses, handling is a higher priority than outright power.

  22. When will this for sale in the USA? I want to buy one.

  23. VW of Australia is getting the R20 and VW sells 10 times more vehicles in the US, not counting Canada?! What are we doing wrong, buying too many VW's? You'd think 213,000+ US units sold last year would be convincing enough for them to just confirm its arrival...

  24. My god. This car is gorgeous. Luckily for me, I'm getting it as a first car. Life is awesome. I was looking at the WRX before (0-60 in 4.6 with the 2010) which was really nice, but I'm German, damnit. I want this in a manual. And a four door. Frankly, I'd rather have this car than an M3 for sure. Good job, VW. I love you.

  25. If I wanted a turbo, I'd get an STi. No V6, no interest.

  26. I live in u.k, turbo 2L engines are in most cars and in the real world 200+ BHP is more than enough, used to live in sacramento where most people preffered a v6 or v8 mustang both of which have less power than this golf. (pre 2005 models). there arent many cars that can out run a well sorted hatch on a country lane. Only my opinion.

  27. Will this 4WD system bias more to the rear or front of the wheel?

  28. Golf will always stay NO.1
    CO2 emissions: 163g/km
    Average economy: 41.5mpg
    For: Fast, fun, and fairly frugal
    Against: Potentially pricey to buy

  29. Any news on pricing? Love VW's but if the STi is cheaper or the same, there's no contest.

  30. The pricing has not been announced yet.

  31. Peter: You must have never had the pleasure of driving or owning an M3. Maybe before you dedicate yourself to an inferior vehicle you should get your butt into a BMW and experience what a TRUE German car feels like. Any M3 will run circles around a Golf be it an R, GTI or R32. If your gonna buy German, you might as well buy from a company that actually puts "German engineering" into its cars, rather than just its ad campaigns.

  32. I think the Golf R will be an improvement over the R32, which I have a 2008, US model. My car has plenty of power at 250 HP, however I feel the VR6 engine upfront adds much weight to the car. Perhaps that is why the US model I got, is lacking foglights, power seats (except for the lumbar pump, I'm surprised there wasn't a tube to blow in to expand the air cushion, no light in the glove box, no power headrest adjustments (I believe those came around in the late '90's. I think they did everything they could to save weight, with my car coming in over 3550 lbs. A 4 cylinder turbo engine putting out more power may be a blessing. I love the growl, and have been asked about whether that is the stock exhaust system, as others have noticed. My car has been hit twice in high speed impacts, rear ender, and drunk drive by. Yes, I know about the loss of value of my car as a result of, however, the fact that my car was so sturdy probably saved my life in the rear-ender, 70 mph glancing hit vs my zero mph, "oh f**k!!!" as I watched in my mirror. The repairs were thorough, done by the dealerships bodyshop (Porsche/Audi/BMW/VW)...and the car feels and drives solid. If the Scirocco R comes, I'm in...

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