2021 VW Golf R: price, specs and release date

Jess Shanahan
July 15, 2020

New spy photos show the updated styling of the upcoming 330hp VW Golf R. Here are the 10 things you need to know about this new Audi S3 rival:

  • Based on the new Mk8 Golf
  • Aggressive new styling
  • Will retain four-wheel drive
  • DSG gearbox only
  • 2.0-litre turbocharged engine
  • Expected to produce 333hp
  • 0-60mph in around 4.5 seconds
  • Set to appear after GTI model
  • Likely to cost from £40,000
  • Will share parts with new S3
  • Expected in late 2020
The new Golf R gets the same angular headlights as the standard Golf Mk8.

2021 Volkswagen Golf R Design

New spy shots show an updated exterior design for the 2021 Golf R. It has the same sweeping headlights as the new Mk8 Golf, which give it a distinctive look that sets it apart from its predecessors. At the front, the rest of the styling changes are subtle with an updated grille and slightly sharper lines on the bumper.

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

It’s at the rear of this new Golf R where you really notice the changes. The four aggressive exhaust tips remain but VW’s added a bolder motorsport-inspired diffuser for a little extra drama. Further up, there’s a larger roof spoiler that adds to the sporty profile of this updated model. Overall, it’s a good-looking car that’s a bit more mature than some of the lairier-looking hot hatches you see on the road. We’re looking at you, Honda Civic

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

2021 Volkswagen Golf R Interior

The new Golf R gets a similar updated interior to the latest standard Golf and the upcoming GTI. The split-level dashboard makes it look much more modern than the old car and there are screens aplenty, but you’ll also get some snug sports seats and lots of R badging. The tidy, button-free interior is carried over from the Mk8 Golf, as is the tiny electronic switch that you use to select gears in the DSG automatic gearbox.

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

The large touchscreen in the middle of the dash is within easy reach, as is the central control point for infotainment, air conditioning and more. 

Expect the VW Golf R to come with the same touchscreen as the upcoming GTI (shown here) with some re-worked graphics.

The new VW Golf R might be a touch longer than its predecessor, based on what we know about the new Golf, but passenger and cargo space won’t change dramatically. This means you’ll still be able to carry four adults comfortably in the new Golf R with enough space left over in the boot for everyone’s luggage. Hot hatches are supposed to be performance cars you can use every day, after all.

Just like the standard Golf (show here), the Golf R will have a good-sized, practical boot.

2021 Volkswagen Golf R engine

Leaked images from a VW presentation suggest that the new VW Golf R’s engine will produce 245kw, or 333hp. That’s 33hp more than you got in the old VW Golf R and more than the 320hp the Honda Civic Type R can manage from its 2.0-litre turbocharged engine. It’ll also be on a par with the new Audi S3. Check out how the outgoing VW Golf R fared in a showdown against the Audi S3 by watching out drag-race video, below:

2021 Volkswagen Golf R driving

Spy shots have shown this updated Golf R being put through its paces at the Nurburgring, suggesting the German manufacturer’s spent plenty of time tweaking the car’s handling and performance.

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

With an updated AWD system and a with fully variable traction control system that’ll alter the drive sent to the front and rear wheels to provide maximum grip, the new VW Golf R will be faster through the corners than ever. It’ll also include Volkswagen’s electronic differential and stability control system, plus there are rumours we might see a drift mode, as in the Mercedes-AMG A45 S, too.

The old Golf R would accelerate from 0-60mph in less than 4.7 seconds, so you can expect this new car to cover the same sprint in closer to 4.5 seconds.

Expect to pay from around £40,000 for the new Golf R.

2021 Volkswagen Golf R price and release date

You can expect entry-level VW Golf Rs to cost from close to £40,000. This new Golf R was scheduled to be unveiled at the Goodwood Festival of Speed, which was postponed then cancelled this year. This means we’re likely to see this Mk8 Golf R officially released in the second half of 2020 in late summer or early autumn.

VW hasn’t yet confirmed if the new Golf R will come in 400hp R Plus guise.

There’s been no word on the long-rumoured Volkswagen Gold R Plus, which is expected to have in excess of 400bhp.

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 read our in-depth VW Golf R review for more information.