Volkswagen Golf R Mk 8.5 Nets More Power But Loses The Stick

The 13 extra horsepower gained from this Golf R update will now only be sent through a 7-speed DSG. 

In spite of it still donning its camouflage, Volkswagen has since dropped a few more details on the soon-to-be-revealed updated Golf R before its imminent launch. And the key one is for this latest hottest trim of Golf will be most powerful ever!

Now this accolade of most powerful Golf ever comes from Volkswagen having since managed to turn up the wick a tad bit more on the existing EA888 turbo four-cylinder, to the tune of 329 hp and 420 Nm of torque. This represents a modest increase of 13 hp and 20 Nm of torque from its pre-updated predecessor, and just incidentally is identical the figures pumped out by its recently-updated Audi S3 stablemate.  

The slight power bump has also naturally seen for a slight drop in the Golf R’s century sprint time too, with its new 4.6 second time being 0.2 seconds faster than what Volkswagen quoted for the Mk8. Those who partake in frequent Autobahn blasts will meanwhile be wanting the Performance Package available in Europe, which lifts the car’s top speed from 250 km/h up to 270 km/h.

What Volkswagen giveth on one hand, it however unfortunately taketh away with the other, as much like what happened with the recently-updated GTI too, the manual gearbox option for this latest Golf R (which was once available in certain international markets) has been officially retired with this recent refresh. A 7-speed DSG is therefore now the only transmission on offer, sending power to all four wheels via the carry-over 4MOTION all-wheel drive system. 

The updated further retains its torque vectoring capabilities and Drift Mode feature from its pre-update predecessor, with the latter being touted by Volkswagen to be capable of sending up to 100% of power to the rear wheels for some sideways action. New though on the handling front of this Mk8.5 is its suspension setup, as the Golf R now sits an inch lower than its predecessor and boasts Dynamic Chassis Control adaptive suspension as standard.

As for cosmetic changes, among the alterations discerned through the camouflage wrap that are still on these pre-launch prototypes are a refreshed set of front and rear bumpers, along with upgraded LED headlights and taillights. While Volkswagen has yet to reveal any information regarding what is new within too, reports suggest for this mid-life update to net a 12.9-inch infotainment display and a 10.2-inch digital instrument cluster, with a head-up display available as an option.

This hottest Golf R to date will be officially launched on June 26th. Much like with the recently-revealed global update to its Golf GTI however, it is worth highlighting that Volkswagen in Malaysia has yet to reveal whether this updated hottest of Golfs will make its way over here any time soon. This is especially when considering that the locally assembled pre-update Mk 8 Golf R has only just gone on sale locally wearing a price tag of RM332,990, inclusive of the Volkswagen Assurance Package (VAP) that brings with it 5 years of free maintenance, 5 years of roadside assistance and a 5-year warranty with unlimited mileage.

Joshua Chin

Automotive journalist. Professional work on and Personal writing found at Instagram: @driveeveryday

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