Volkswagen has finally replaced its top-of-the-range Golf R32 with a Mark VI model.
The new R ditches the old model's 3.2-litre V6, as well as its engine-size related suffix, for a more powerful version of the lighter 2.0-litre turbocharged engine found in the GTI. As used in the R, the motor puts out 188kW of power and 330Nm of torque, besting both the current GTI (155kW/280Nm) and the old R32 (184kW/320Nm).
To get all this power to ground, the R is fitted with a four-wheel drive system. It can sprint from zero to 100km/h in 5.7 seconds; the GTI takes a lazy 6.9 seconds. In official testing, the R's fuel consumption is cut from 10.9L/100km to 8.7L/100km.
Standard equipment on the Golf R includes seven airbags, two-zone climate control, parking sensors with optical display, self-dimming mirrors and rain-sensing wipers. The sound system is an eight-speaker unit with a 6.5-inch touchscreen display, steering wheel controls, auxiliary jack, SD card slot and six-disc CD stacker, although Bluetooth hands-free and USB for direct iPod control are unfortunately extra cost options. Also on the options list is sat nav, reversing camera, leather upholstery and electric seats.
Externally, you can tell the R apart from the GTI and lesser Golfs by its black brake callipers and wing mirrors, LED driving lights, smoked LED tail-lights, unique bumpers and grille, dark-tinted windows, dual-centrally mounted tail-pipes and bi-xenon headlamps.
The Golf R comes as both a three- and five-door hatch. The three-door starts from AU$48,490 and the five-door begins at AU$49,990, both equipped with a six-speed manual transmission. Opting for VW's DSG dual-clutch "automatic" transmission adds AU$2500 to the asking price.
All prices include GST, but exclude dealer and statutory charges.