Volkswagen wasted no time cashing in on the Golf hatchback winning the country’s main car of the year award for 2013. No sooner had VW general manager Tom Ruddenklau accepted the NZ Motoring Writers’ Guild/AA gong for the seventh-generation Golf, than he confirmed the arrival in the New Year of two new go-faster Golf models. One is the Golf GTi Performance, a slightly hotter version of the front-drive GTi; the other is the all-wheel-drive Golf R, an even more powerful model again. “The Golf performance models coming through in 2014 really exemplify the extent of Volkswagen’s performance capabilities,” said Ruddenklau. “The greater engine power, advanced motoring technologies, and lower price points will excite customers who are already keen to get behind the wheel of these new models. “ The Golf R is based on the Mk 7 Golf, meaning it uses the same MQB platform with benefits including increased stiffness and a significant weight saving. Expect the Golf R to weigh around 40kg less than the old model. The hottest
of VW’s hatchbacks might carry on where the old Golf R left off – with a subtly enhanced bodykit, bigger intakes on the bumper and twin tailpipes – but its drivetrain is all new. It is powered by an Audi-developed, 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine producing 220kW and 380Nm – around 22kW and 30Nm more than its predecessor – delivered through a part-time all-wheel-drive system. Nearly 100 per cent of the power can be transferred to the rear wheels The engine is mechanically similar to the Audi S3 unit, picking up Audi’s direct injection and inlet valve timing technology, which is intended to help boost torque but not at the expense of emissions. Power goes to all four wheels via either the six-speed manual or optional DSG dual-clutch gearbox. VW claims a 0-100km/h time for the manual of 5.3 seconds and 4.9 seconds for the DSG-equipped car. Town-and-around fuel consumption is said to be 7.8 litres/100km (36mpg) for the manual and 7.1 litres/100km (39.7mpg) for the DSG, roughly an 18 per cent improvement on the old model. The R rides 5mm lower than the GTi and 20mm than the standard Golf, gets firmer suspension, quicker steering and a stability-control system that can be completely switched off. Dynamic Chassis Control (DCC) offers a Race mode for track driving, part of the Golf R’s ‘Driver profile selector’. This setting firms up the suspension, sharpens throttle response and makes the shifts of the DSG gearbox more aggressive. Like the GTi, the Golf R has progressive steering that reduces the amount of steering lock. The R only needs 2.1 turns lock-to-lock, rather than 2.75 for a regular Golf. The brakes have been upgraded, and feature 340mm front and 310mm rear discs, while the calipers are painted black and feature an R badge. Both models will arrive early in February. The manual Golf R starts at $68,500; the DSG at $70,990, a saving of $2510 on the previous model. The GTi Performance package includes a 169kW engine upgrade, larger brake discs, an electronically controlled differential lock, DCC, and Xenon headlights. The car will arrive in April, priced at $65,500.