2021 VW Golf R spotted undisguised: price, specs and release date

Nick Lette van Oostvoorne
October 15, 2020

The new VW Golf R is gearing up to make its public debut in 2021. This all-new hot hatch will be the fastest Golf you can buy when it goes on sale next year.

  • Based on the new Mk8 Golf
  • Spotted undisguised
  • Four-wheel drive
  • DSG automatic gearbox
  • 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol
  • Could have over 330hp
  • 0-60mph in under five seconds
  • Follows already-revealed GTI model
  • Sports seats and digital dials
  • To cost around £40,000
  • Reveal due 4th November

There is a new Volkswagen Golf R on the way to join the new Golf Mk8 range, and it’s been spotted out on the road without any kind of disguise. It’s an alternative to the Audi S3, Mercedes-AMG A35 and Honda Civic Type R, and will be revealed in November before going on sale in 2021.

The new Golf R gets the same angular headlights as the standard Golf Mk8.

2021 Volkswagen Golf R Design

Spy shots of the new VW Golf R show that it’s just as subtle as the previous Golf R. Unlike the Honda Civic Type R and AMG A35, there are no huge spoilers or wings. Sure, you get a sporty body kit, sharper styling on the bumpers and bigger alloy wheels, but that’s your lot. You could be forgiven for mistaking it for a standard Volkswagen Golf in sporty R-Line trim…

The new Golf R sports a larger rear wing than the previous model.

At the back, things are more obvious: there are four exhaust tips, a rear diffuser and a larger roof spoiler above the boot lid. The new Golf R sits closer to the ground than the standard Golf, too, thanks to its lowered sportier suspension.

A tweet from racing driver Tanner Foust features a few seconds of video teasing the new VW Golf R. The dark and moody shot at the start of the above video shows it’ll come with the same full-width daytime-running lights as the standard Golf, while his tweet also confirms the new Golf R will be revealed on 4th November 2020.

Expect the new Golf R to come with around 333hp.

2021 Volkswagen Golf R engine

Documents leaked from a VW presentation suggest the new VW Golf R’s engine will have 333hp, which is 33hp more than in the old car and 33hp more than the recently revealed VW Golf GTI Clubsport. Interestingly, this would make the new VW Golf R more powerful than the 310hp Audi S3.

The Golf R will use the same basic 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine as the Golf GTI and the Audi S3 – albeit tuned to make a little extra power. Rumours suggest VW could be developing a Golf R Plus with as much as 400hp, but no official information confirms this – yet. 

Check out how the outgoing VW Golf R fared in a showdown against the a Mercedes A45S, BMWM2 and Audi RS3 in a drag race. Tap to watch the video below:

2021 Volkswagen Golf R driving

Spy shots have also surfaced of the updated Golf R testing at the Nurburgring race circuit. It isn’t unusual for new cars to be tested here – even non-performance models – but it’s likely the German manufacturer will tweak the new Golf R’s handling and performance to be more track-focussed than most.

The new Golf R will get an even grippier four-wheel-drive system.

Updates to the four-wheel drive system should mean that it’s able to put its power down better than before, and the Golf R will also include Volkswagen’s latest electronic differential and stability control systems. There’s a chance it could feature a drift mode, which sends more power to the rear wheels for some smokey skids – just like in the Mercedes-AMG A45.

The old Volkswagen Golf R could accelerate from 0-60mph in less than 4.7 seconds, and you can expect this new car to be even quicker thanks to its extra power. Unlike the old Golf R, this new model isn’t expected to come with the option of a manual gearbox, so you’ll just have to make do with a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic.

The new Golf R’s interior uses the same basic layout and infotainment tech as the latest Mk8 Golf. 

2021 Volkswagen Golf R Interior

Unusually for a prototype car, images have emerged of the new VW Golf R’s interior. You can see it’ll feature a set of R-branded sports seats and the same dual-screen infotainment system as in the rest of the Mk8 Golf range. Also visible in the image above is an identical gear shifter to the Golf GTI.

The new VW Golf R will feature a drive-by-wire gear selector, just like the new Golf GTI’s, shown above…

The new VW Golf R will be a slightly different size to the previous one but, as is the case with the standard Mk8 Golf, the change in passenger space won’t be too noticeable. Unlike the previous VW Golf R, the new model won’t be available with three doors – every new Mk8 Golf comes with five doors as standard.

As is the case with the new Audi S3, the new VW Golf R’s four-wheel-drive system will eat into boot space slightly. In the Audi’s case, you lose out on around 55 litres in the sportier S model compared with the A3 Sportback – both with the back seats up and folded down. It’s likely the Golf R’s boot will sacrifice a similar amount of space.

The new Golf R is expected to go on sale before 2022. 

2021 Volkswagen Golf R price and release date

Entry-level VW Golf R models are expected to cost from close to £40,000. A rumoured Volkswagen Golf R Plus, which could have more than 400hp, hasn’t emerged yet – but if it does, expect a hefty price tag closer to £60,000.

The Volkswagen Golf R will be revealed on 4th November 2020 and should go on sale in the UK at some point in 2021.

If you can’t wait for the new VW Golf R, check out the latest carwow offers on the current car by visiting our VW Golf deals page or check out the latest deals on the Mercedes-AMG A35 and Honda Civic Type R.

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