We brought you a comprehensive overview of the new-gen Volkswagen Golf R at its global reveal in Frankfurt last September, but the hottest member of the Golf VII lineup journeyed to the Motor City to makes its first U.S. appearance and offers show-goers a few new infobits about the vehicle VW now confirms will go on sale in America during the first quarter of 2015 likely as a 2016 model.
The differences between our Golf R and its Euro-spec sibling are modest to be sure. Both share more aggressively styled body bits, standard bi-xenon headlamps, a comprehensively retuned suspension, upgraded brakes and a performance interior. Equally critical, both pack a potent turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine, offer the choice of a 6-speed manual transmission or 6-speed DSG dual-clutch automatic and transfer their huge power - an estimated 290 horses for buyers here, the most of any engine ever fitted to a U.S. Golf - as well as 280 lb-ft of peak torque. Despite a blatant performance skew that let it streak from 0-60 mph in about five seconds with either transmission, this new Golf R also will be the most fuel efficient ever produced. Volkswagen estimates that despite having 34 more ponies under its hood, this upcoming variant will earn a 31-mpg EPA highway rating compared to the 27 mpg of the last Golf R sold here as a 2013 model.
Motive force in the new Golf R heads to the pavement via the latest version of VW's 4Motion all-wheel drive system that includes a new Haldex 5 coupling capable of sending nearly 100 percent of the engine's torque to the rear wheels if necessary. Golf R specs also includes four electronically controlled differential locks as well as XDS+ front/rear cross differential locks that effectively serve to vector torque, all fully integrated with its high-threshold ESC stability control that features a unique ESC Sport setting that allows the driver to fully deactivate the system during high-speed track work. VW has confirmed that U.S. buyers also will be able to order the new Golf R with Dynamic Chassis Control that can contour the damper settings to Comfort/Normal/Sport modes at the push of a button and also includes a Driving Profile Selector with a track-focused Race mode.
While both the European and U.S. Golf R will feature a suitably performance oriented passenger compartment highlighted by custom gauges, an R Sport steering wheel and Carbon Touch trim, the deeply bolstered sport seats will be covered in standard Carbon Nappa leather with light or dark inserts on cars for this market, an extra-cost option elsewhere. The American Golf R also will be available with audio and audio/navigation systems that feature a 5.8-inch touchscreen with proximity sensors. No word yet on pricing for the 2015 Volkswagen Golf R, which will only be sold here as a 5-door hatch.
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