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New 2020 Volkswagen Golf R: best look yet at 329bhp hot hatch

Volkswagen isn’t finished with the Golf Mk8 unveilings yet, with the range-topping R performance model due to be shown later this year. But undisguised prototypes are already being seen in and around Germany.  

After dropping almost all camo for a day testing at the Nürburgring earlier this year, a prototype has now been caught up close, also giving us a view of the interior. It shows the new model sticks to the formula of its predecessor, with understated performance the order of the day. 

Telltale R design cues include quad tailpipes at the rear, an enlarged lower air intake and an R-specific wheel design covering performance brakes with blue-painted callipers. A new rear spoiler is also evident alongside a lowered ride height. The view inside shows us there will be R-branded sports seats to mark out the cabin, but otherwise it’ll be familiar Golf Mk8 fare. 

Although not yet confirmed, power outputs for all of the hot Mk8 Golf variants (the GTI, GTI TCR, GTD and R) leaked out earlier this year through a slideshow from a brand presentation. 

The slide revealed that the R will put out 329bhp – a 33bhp increase – from a heavily boosted version of the EA888 turbocharged 2.0-litre petrol motor. As before, this will be put through a Haldex-based four-wheel drive system and seven-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox. A manual gearbox isn’t expected to be offered.  

The new Haldex system is said to be capable of fully variable control, constantly altering the drive sent to the front and rear axles, in combination with Volkswagen’s XDS+ electronic differential locks and a stability control system that, insiders claim, will incorporate a drift mode similar to that of the Mercedes-AMG A45

Although it’s not official yet, Autocar understands that the 2020 Golf R had been planned for an unveiling at the Goodwood Festival of Speed in the UK, which has been rescheduled from July to September. It’s not yet clear if the reveal will be similarly rescheduled or if VW will simply do its own thing next month.  

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