2023 VW Golf R is one of the hottest hatchbacks from Germany, that has been hogging headlines from its birth from our shores. Based on the improvements made to the upcoming Mk8 Golf GTI, the R-rated model houses a more powerful 315-hp turbo-four and an AWD system, even with a drift mode. This car was also named on Car and Driver’s 2022 Editors’ Choice list.
As the VW’s latest and greatest high-performance hatch, it doesn’t show off as its rivals like the Honda Civic Type R and Hyundai Veloster N. VW’s more sophisticated appearance will only help beat its opponents off guard while attracting buyers who want a fast small car with minimalist looks. A slew of exclusive equipment and subtle design details also work to separate it from the GTI, with which it shares a modern interior and myriad technology.
The German Marque is celebrating the 20th birthday of R-badged Golf hot hatchbacks. But the special-edition set for the U.S. isn’t quite as cool as the version sold in Europe. While the Golf R 20 Years for Europe gets a 14-hp bump for its turbocharged 2.0-Liter inline-four. The Americans will get the Anniversary Edition with the same 315-hp as other versions of the Golf R instead. Over this period, Volkswagen has produced a limited 1,800 units for the North American market. The hatch will be offered in three colors: Lapiz Blue Metallic, Deep Black Pearl, and Pure White. The contrasting White and black models receive Lapiz Blue mirror caps, while Lapiz Blue cars get black-capped ones. It’ll ride on 19-inch gloss black Estoril wheels at all four corners.
Engine & Performance
Under the Golf R’s hood lies a turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-four-pot pumping out 315- hp and 310 lb-ft of torque. This is a massive jump from 288 hp and 280 lb-ft in the last gen R. The engine is mated with either a six-speed manual or a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. The 4Motion all-wheel-drive system is standard and features a rear differential that actively distributes torque between the left and right rear wheels. Thus, improves handling.
The Golf R’s also has selectable drive modes, which can be activated by pressing an “R” button on the steering wheel. On testing the hatch’s Drift mode, which proved entertaining on slick surfaces, it doesn’t replace an RWD muscle car’s fun factor. Every variant sports a sport exhaust system, variable-ratio steering, and larger front disc brakes. It also rides on a set of 19-inch wheels wrapped in performance tires.
|2023 Volkswagen Golf R Mileage
The hot hatch with the automatic transmission has been estimated of being the most efficient version of the Golf R, as per the EPA. This earned ratings of 23 mpg city and 30 mpg highway. Going with the manual transmission drops those numbers to 20 mpg city and 28 mpg highway, a worthy tradeoff in our opinion for the more engaging six-speed stick.
Dimensions & Airbags
|2023 Volkswagen Golf R Dimensions
Similar to the new GTI, the Golf R’s infotainment system runs via a 10.0-inch touchscreen incorporated in the center of the dashboard. Its secondary controls include touch-sensitive sliders versus physical knobs and buttons. Along with the charging ports, the system should be available with a Harman/Kardon premium stereo. We also expect popular content such as Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and a Wi-Fi hotspot.
|2023 Volkswagen Golf R Trims
|Golf R 20th Anniversary Edition
Till now, there was only 1 Golf R trim which didn’t cause any confusion. But now with the limited edition variant, we would recommend going for the Golf R 20th Anniversary Edition, which only costs $650 more than the standard model, starting at $46,035 with the six-speed manual and $46,835 with the seven-speed dual-clutch automatic. For that small sum, you get a host of visual changes and special puddle lights that project a “20R” graphic on the ground.
Specification & Top-Speed
|2023 Volkswagen Golf R Specifications