The highly anticipated firm favourite of hot hatches, the Golf 8 R, is tantalisingly close to launch in South Africa; here are a few details that we can fill in before the halo Golf hits our shores, but be advised; the expected price tag might cause mild discomfort.
Volkswagen South Africa introduced the eternal Golf 8 GTI onto our shores last year in a bid to maximise sales numbers in the interim before we welcome the legendary R variant. We already know what it looks like and immediately one can deduce the ‘8 R’s visual distinctions from any common or garden Golf 8. Dressed up in more aggressive bodywork, the R includes larger air intakes incorporated into the bottom corners of the front bumper, flared side skirts joining the wheelbase, and a rear diffuser housing quad-exhaust pipes. A rear wing will be an optional extra as part of the R Performance package which aids in rear traction – one of the few visual cues that the Golf R has rigorously explored the Nürburgring Nordschleife during development. The firmer stance is credited to a 20 mm lowering over standard Golf models, while the ‘8 R will include 18-inch rims as standard.
The most powerful Golf to wear the R badge will feature 235 kW and 420 N.m from the seasoned EA888 turbocharged four-cylinder motor. While a 6-speed manual transmission is offered in other markets, locally the 2,0-litre motor will likely be paired to a 7-speed dual clutch transmission exclusively, with power delivered to the wheels via the “newly developed” 4Motion torque vectoring all-wheel drive system.
This system boasts selective wheel torque control on the rear axle which means that the opposing rear corner of the car prioritise extra torque while cornering, which should make the ‘8 R highly competitive around a track. If track times are not what you are after, the Golf-first Drift mode is now a standardised setting to choose from, which gives the car the ability to flick the back end out and rapidly abridge mileage from the rear tyres.
The Golf R is traditionally the most powerful model of Volkswagen’s most successful product line of all time, with consistently strong sales in the local market. The question is, is all this Golf worth six figures? Priced just under €50 000 in the European market, one could guesstimate that its likely to land on local shores anywhere between R900 000 and R1 million (including tax) depending on our exchange rate, too. This indicative number will afford you performance numbers like 100 km/h in 4,7 seconds, a top speed of 250 km/h and more street cred than you ever thought possible.
Keep your eyes peeled for local pricing and a launch review in due course.