Although we'll still have to wait a bit, Volkswagen has confirmed that its hottest Golf variant, the currently Euro-only Golf R, will race on to our shores sometime in 2012. Its predecessor, the VR6-powered Golf R32, made a one-year appearance here in 2008. While this Gen VI-based successor swaps its 3.2-liter V6 for a specially-tuned version of VW's ubiquitous 2.0-liter turbocharged/direct-injected inline-four, it too, significantly outstrips the new-in-2010 VW GTI model in all performance categories.

Where the current GTI ships its 200 horses and 207 lb-ft of torque to the front wheels, the more-potent iteration in the Euro-spec Golf R cranks those output stats to 270 ponies and 258 lb-ft of twist -- although VW has yet to confirm final output ratings for the U.S. market. It also sends motive force to all corners via VW's 4Motion system, which uses fourth-generation Haldex technology. Sole transmission for the Golf R will be a six-speed manual. As for projected performance, the European variant can hit 60 mph in about 5.5 seconds and reach an electronically-limited top end of 155 mph.

To help it make full use of that extra muscle and AWD, our 2012 Golf R also will come with a number of other functional upgrades, including a sport-tuned suspension with more aggressive ESP stability control programming, bigger brakes and a unique 18-inch wheel/tire fitment. Available in both two- and four-door hatchback configurations, the 2012 Volkswagen Golf R will also have its own exterior/interior trimouts. Body modifications include more aggressive front/rear fascias, side sills and dual-port center-exit exhausts while cabin enhancements include sport seats, a unique steering wheel and other R-specific accent bits.

The 2012 Volkswagen Golf R is expected to be officially revealed at the Detroit Auto Show next month. No word yet on pricing or specific on-sale date.

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