Volkswagen launched a redesigned Golf overseas late last year, and while the jury's still out on whether the regular version will end up here, enthusiast versions like the Golf GTI and Golf R are confirmed to be U.S.-bound.
The Golf GTI has already been revealed and now we have spy shots and video of a prototype for the Golf R. Both are due in the second half of 2021 as 2022 models.
The new Golf is more a heavy update of the previous generation than a true redesign (the same MQB platform underpins both generations). As a result, the new Golf R will follow a similar performance path to its predecessor which was dropped at the end of 2019.
Power will come from a 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4, though this time the peak output is expected to rise to 316 horsepower—a healthy jump over the previous model's 292 hp. A 7-speed dual-clutch transmission and all-wheel drive will likely complete the mechanical package. The latter should split torque between the axles and between the rear wheels, just like on the new Arteon R and Tiguan R models which sadly aren't U.S.-bound.
2022 Volkswagen Golf GTI
The Golf GTI has also seen a bump in power. Numbers for the U.S. haven't been confirmed but its own 2.0-liter turbo-4 is expected to be rated at a peak 242 hp, matching the output of the Golf GTE plug-in hybrid sold overseas. A hardcore Golf R “plus” model with close to 400 hp is also a distinct possibility at some point.
But getting back to this Golf R, we can see the new front and rear fascia designs thanks to the lack of camouflage gear. Also clearly visible is the Golf R's signature quad-exhaust setup.
2022 Volkswagen Golf R spy shots - Photo credit: S. Baldauf/SB-Medien
All of the models in the eighth-generation Golf family will feature a high-tech cabin packing a 10.25-inch digital instrument cluster and 8.25-inch infotainment screen, Internet connectivity, and semi-autonomous driver-assist features. Expect the Golf R to feature a few additional touches in the cabin like model-specific menus in the infotainment system, bucket seats at the front, and “R” badging.
The Golf R is expected to debut later this summer.