Why VW's new Golf 8 R has so much core drive appeal

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Golf 8 R. Image: Supplied
Golf 8 R. Image: Supplied

  • VW's most potent Golf8 retains the EA888 engine architecture.
  • The company has now revealed the latest version of its Golf R.
  • It's built on the most advanced platform yet.
  • For more motoring stories, go to

As VW's definitive five-door performance car, the Golf R has a tremendously loyal following and remains an important showpiece of the brand's technical competence. The company has now revealed the latest version of its Golf R, built on the most advanced platform yet.  

VW's most potent Golf 8 retains the EA888 engine architecture, with some significant enhancements. Engineers have managed to improve the 2.0-litre turbopetrol's boost efficiency, swelling peak power to from 228- to 235kW, supported by 420Nm of torque. 

It is evident that VW is targeting AMG's A35 hatchback with its new Golf R and the Wolfsburg car has a 10kW power advantage over its Affalterbach rival. 

Golf 8 R
Golf 8 R

The six-speed remains 

Despite manual gearboxes being gradually phased-out in most of its product lines, VW remains committed to providing Golf R owners with the most tactile possible driving experience. As such, the new Golf R is available with either a six-speed manual or seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. 

Performance figures are predictably rapid, with VW claiming the Golf8 R will run a 0-100kph benchmark sprint in only 4.7 seconds. Top speed is limited to 250km/h, although VW will offer customers an unrestricted option, at cost, opening the new Golf R's true performance potential to 270km/h. 

Although the new Golf R possesses enough straight-line performance to bother many V6 and V8-powered four- and five-door performance cars, its real appeal is the core driving experience.

A very special new rear differential

VW has spent a tremendous amount of R&D funding and human resources to ensure the Golf8 R is a rewarding and engaging driver experience. 

An example of this is the Golf R's all-wheel drive system. VW has been criticized for the desensitizing behaviour that its Haldex all-wheel drive systems can have on the overall driving experience. To counter this, new Golf R borrows some of the latest torque vectoring technology developed by VW, to deliver a very agile and responsive all-wheel drive system.

What do you think of the new Golf 8 R? Tell us in the comments section below. Or, do you own a Golf R and want to tell us all about it? Please email us here.

Traditional all-wheel drive systems applied to hot hatches would try and do a credible job of not dulling the driving experience with too much understeer. Still, the engineers at VW have looked to the rear axle, for a solution. 

VW's latest all-wheel configuration allows for a 100% torque-shift to either of the rear wheels, in milliseconds. This means that new Golf R should deliver a more natural cornering poise on the limit, thanks to its trick differential at the back. 

Golf 8 R
Golf 8 R

Leveraging the potential of VW's superior all-wheel drive system is more alert steering calibration and better front-wheel suspension kinematics. Engineers have added 10% more compression damping at the front wheels, accounting for Golf R's higher corner entry speeds, and increased wheel camber too. Harmonizing these mechanical improvements is a cleverly recoded master software algorithm, which differs from that of the conventional Golf 8. 

VW's product planners gained valuable insights to its Golf R customers over the last decade, releasing that optional equipment upgrades are in-demand. The dramatic Akrapovic exhaust system, sourced from Slovenia, will be an option that not only increases the Golf R's acoustic appeal but also saves 7kg in weight. 

For those enthusiasts who don't wish to bother with an aftermarket wheel and tyre upgrade, VW will also offer 19-inch alloys, rolling Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2, on its new Golf R. 

VW is expected to introduce the Golf 8 R in South Africa by Q4 2021 or Q1 2022. This broad window for the local launch date depends on global production scheduling and any further disruptions due to Covid-19. 

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