In Depth

Volkswagen Golf R Mk8 2021: spy shots, plus specs, price and UK release

Souped-up hatchback is spotted for the first time while testing in South Africa

A performance-focused R version of the eighth-generation Golf hatchback has been spotted in the wild by the motoring world’s paparazzi for the first time. 

A shot of the car undergoing testing in South Africa, posted by Auto Express, shows the hot hatchback in near-production form, with no visible signs of pre-production camouflage masking the final design. 

Though there are no signs of the performance model’s signature R badges, the vehicle in the grainy image sits noticeably lower than the regular model and sports the old Golf R’s optional Pretoria wheels.  

Details about the Golf R are thin on the ground, given that the standard Golf was revealed only a month ago. There are, however, a number of reports that give fans an idea of what to expect when the covers come off in just over a year’s time.

Price and release

Autocar predicts the Golf R will go on sale in 2021, alongside an even faster R Plus variant. 

There’s no word on pricing just yet, but the base model isn’t expected to cost significantly more than the outgoing model at £35,000. 

Design

Like the current model, there’s little to distinguish the performance model from its more conventional sibling. 

The new Golf R adopts the regular model’s ultra-thin headlights and low nose, while the vast grille that spans the width of the front bumper appears to have been taken from the electrified GTE version, says Auto Express. 

But unlike the GTE, the Golf R does away with the hybrid model’s illuminated badge and bar that runs along the upper section of the front grille.

Other differences include the optional 19in wheels, which “neatly” fill the arches - hinting that the car will ride lower than the standard model, the magazine adds. 

Engine and performance

The hot hatchback will be offered in two versions: the regular Golf R and faster Golf R Plus. 

According to Car magazine, the regular Golf R will be powered by the same 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine as the upcoming Arteon shooting brake. The motor is expected to produce 328bhp and 295lb-ft of torque, which is sent to all four wheels through a seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox. 

A 0-62mph dash should take just 4.3 seconds, while the car’s “road manners” should be “tidier” than the outgoing model, the motoring magazine says. 

The Golf R Plus will up that bhp figure closer to the 400 mark, slash the 0-62mph time to 3.9 seconds and boast a top speed of 174mph, says Autocar.

While the magazine says the Golf R will “eschew” electric technology, more recent reports suggest the car will employ a 48-volt mild-hybrid system to improve acceleration.

Recommended

Ford Kuga FHEV: what the car critics say
Ford Kuga FHEV
Expert’s view

Ford Kuga FHEV: what the car critics say

Gallery: best new supercars
Lotus Evija
In pictures

Gallery: best new supercars

From PlayStations to SUVs: Sony joins the electric car race
The Sony Vision-S 02 SUV prototype vehicle
In Focus

From PlayStations to SUVs: Sony joins the electric car race

CES 2022: five of the biggest technology trends
Metaverse experiences are on show at CES 2022
The latest on . . .

CES 2022: five of the biggest technology trends

Popular articles

Best new TV crime dramas of 2022
Hidden Assets BBC
In Depth

Best new TV crime dramas of 2022

Is Bosnia on the brink of another civil war?
Bosnian Serb leader Milorad Dodik
In Depth

Is Bosnia on the brink of another civil war?

Why is the UK in pole position to emerge from Covid-19 first?
A woman wearing a face mask waits for the tube in London
Today’s big question

Why is the UK in pole position to emerge from Covid-19 first?

The Week Footer Banner