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20th Anniversary VW Golf R Has Manual Transmission Option in North America

2023 VW Golf R 20th Anniversary
Lapiz Blue is one of three color options.

What's happening

Volkswagen will offer a 20th Anniversary Edition package for the 2023 Golf R. In North America, it'll be available with both manual and automatic transmission options.

Why it matters

The 20th Anniversary Edition has a sunroof delete, carbon fiber trim and a few other upgrades. It's meant to celebrate two decades of all-wheel-drive high-performance Golf models.

What's next

The Golf R 20th Anniversary Edition starts at $46,035 including destination and will go on sale this fall.

There's a special 20th Anniversary Edition of the 2023 Volkswagen Golf R, and the North American version will have a unique option: a manual transmission. Yep, while the rest of the world can only spec this Golf R with a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic, North American customers can go the row-your-own route if they wish. Fun times.

Volkswagen detailed the 20th Anniversary Edition's other changes last week, including a sunroof delete, gloss black 19-inch wheels with summer tires, carbon fiber interior trim and blue "R" badging. Exterior color choices are limited to Lapiz Blue, Deep Black and Pure White.

The black wheels are unique to the 20th Anniversary Edition.


Pricing for the 20th Anniversary Edition starts at $46,035 for the manual car and $46,835 for the automatic, including destination. That's a lot, for sure, but it's only a $650 upgrade over the standard Golf R -- not bad, all things considered.

Mechanically speaking, the 20th Anniversary Golf R is the same as the standard version, with power coming from a 2.0-liter turbo I4 engine. Regardless of transmission, the Golf R makes 315 horsepower, but while manual cars have 280 pound-feet of torque, opting for the automatic gets you a slight boost up to 295 lb-ft. Adaptive dampers are standard, as is all-wheel drive.

This special edition is meant to celebrate "20 years of high-performance all-wheel-drive Golf vehicles," Volkswagen said in a statement. In 2002, Volkswagen introduced the Golf R32 in Europe. Look for the 20th Anniversary Edition Golf R to go on sale this fall.