2011 Volkswagen Golf R
Power, previously expected to reach as high as 266 horsepower, has settled for production in American trim at 256 hp, arriving at 6,000 rpm. Torque is likewise stout, at 243 pound-feet from 2,400 rpm. Premium fuel is recommended, but not required.
The engine that delivers this power is a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder built with a cast iron block and aluminum head, and a forged crankshaft. Despite the potent little engine, the 3,325-pound Golf R still rates an estimated 19/27 mpg on the highway (official EPA figures aren't yet known).
Other key stats: 18-inch by 7.5-inch alloy wheels wear 225/40 all-season tires in standard trim; all four wheels are driven through a 4Motion system with a Haldex center differential; suspension is strut-type up front and multi-link in the rear; and three-channel ABS handles stopping through 13.6-inch front and 12.2-inch rear vented disc brakes. Only a six-speed manual transmission is offered; no automatic posers need apply.
Pricing starts from $33,990 in two-door trim, while the four-door bumps the price by about $1,500. Opt for Sunroof and navigation either model and you'll add another $1,500.
For that much cash, you'll be expecting a lot of standard features, and the Golf R doesn't look to disappoint, on paper anyway: automatic dual-zone climate control, multi-function steering wheel, eight-speaker premium audio, iPod/Bluetooth/media capability, and auxiliary input are all standard. Upgrading to the Sunroof and Navigation package brings a touch-screen nav system, 300-watt Dynaudio sound system, a sunroof (obviously), and keyless entry with push-button start.
Look for more complete pricing to be released closer to the car's on-sale date early next year.