The new Volkswagen Golf R Variant, a performance version of the SportWagen, made its global debut in Los Angeles, even though the automaker has no immediate plans to sell it in America. Except for the extra measure of cargo-handling capability, the Variant comes with all of the same powertrain and chassis enhancements found in its R-spec sibling. The Golf R Variant also benefits from the same kind of exterior tweaks that range from unique front/rear fascia and side sills treatments to bi-xenon headlamps and 18-inch alloy wheels wrapped in 225/40 performance tires.   

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Packing a 296-horse/2.0-liter TSI turbo-four engine backed by a 6-speed DSG dual-clutch automatic transmission and fitted with VW's 4Motion all-wheel drive, the new Golf R Variant can sprint from 0-62 mph in 5.1 seconds and reach a top speed of 155 mph. Like the hatch, the R Variant's lower, stiffer standard sport suspension can be upgraded with a the latest generation of VW's Dynamic Chassis Control adaptive damping system that also brings the 4-way Driving Profile Selector with a Race mode optimized for track day workouts. 

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Inside, this striking Golf gets the full-on "R" treatment including sport seats in fabric/Alcantara or optional Nappa leather with unique Carbon Race accent trim, custom gauges and modified touchscreen menu displays. As for its practical side, the new Variant offers 21.4 cu ft of cargo space with the rear seat up and 57.2 cu ft with it folded compared to 15.2/46.0 stats in the Golf R hatch. The 2016 Volkswagen Golf R Variant goes on sale in Europe next spring. 

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