Look at the rear, however, and you’ll notice that in addition to the large alloys and large air intakes, there’s now a large boot.
Responding to the recent trend of hot hatchback-based estates championed by the Ford Focus ST estate and the Skoda Octavia vRS estate, the Volkswagen Golf R estate packs one of the brand’s hottest powertrains into a supremely practical package.
Permanent four-wheel drive ensures maximum traction even in tricky conditions and the standard six-speed twin-clutch DSG automatic gearbox shuffles ratios quickly and effectively. Given that two-thirds of Golf R hatches are sold as DSGs, the manual gearbox isn’t being offered in the estate version.
Upgraded sports suspension means the car sits 20mm lower than a standard Golf and uprated brakes bring it to a halt.
Modifications unique to the estate include a redesigned rear bumper to accommodate the four large exhausts that protrude from it. It also gets ‘aero flaps’ fitted to the D-pillars to smooth the airflow around the car and help it slip through the air more easily (and efficiently).
What powers it?
The familiar 2.0-litre turbocharged inline four-cylinder petrol that resides in many of the Volkswagen Group’s products. In this application, it’s had its power turned up to a mildly unhinged 296hp – enough, Volkswagen reckons, to propel the estate from rest to 50mph in just 3.8 seconds and on to 62mph in 5.1.
Despite these prodigious numbers, it can return 40.4mpg on average while emitting as little as 163g/km of CO2 – impressive numbers for such a fast car. With torque of 280lb ft available from just 1,800rpm, it should be just as easy to drive when you’re just popping to the shops.
How much will it cost?
Taking the hatchback Golf R DSG 5dr as a starting point, then adding the £1,350 Volkswagen usually charges for an estate gives a predicted price of £33,570. You can order one in spring 2015 with deliveries expected later in the summer.