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Drifting new Volkswagen Golf R breaks cover

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The new Golf R is not a great deal more powerful than its predecessor

WOLFSBURG – Volkswagen has pulled the covers off the eighth-generation Golf R performance flagship and it’s got the same basic ingredients as its predecessor – those being a 2-litre turbopetrol engine and all-wheel drive – but now there’s more power and the option of a drift mode.

The new Golf R is not a great deal more powerful than its predecessor, with the new model producing 235kW, which is an improvement of just 7kW, but maximum torque has increased by 20 newtons to 420Nm. This twisting force is also produced lower in the rev range, with the maximum available from just 2100rpm and all the way up to 5350rpm.

VW quotes a 0-100km/h sprint time of 4.7 seconds for the new Golf R. The carmaker also claims to have improved fuel consumption through a more efficient thermal management system that allows for a shorter warm-up phase.

Power goes to all four wheels through a seven-speed DSG dual clutch gearbox and 4Motion all-wheel drive system, and interestingly VW is offering a six-speed manual option to North American markets, although it’s not clear whether this will be available in any other regions.

The aforementioned AWD system has been given a significant upgrade and now in addition to distributing power between the front and rear axles, it can also vary the output between the left and right wheels for enhanced agility. This new torque vectoring system allows the rear differential to distribute up to 100 percent of the rear axle torque to the wheel on the outside of the bend.

What’s more, drivers will be delighted to note the additional driving modes available. In addition to the usual Comfort, Sport, Race and Individual profiles in the Driving Mode Selection, drivers can now select a ‘Drift’ mode as well as a ‘Special’ set-up, which configures all driving parameters for the Nurburgring.

The Drift profile, of course, is also only intended for track use, and it adapts the ESC stability control system and sends more power to the back wheels to allow the vehicle to drift.

The new Golf R also comes with a retuned suspension, which sees it riding 20mm lower to the ground than regular Golfs. Compared with its predecessor, the spring rates and anti-roll bar rates have both been increased by 10 percent. Engineers increased the negative camber (-1°20′) on the front axle to allow higher cornering speeds.

The new Golf R rides on new 18-inch alloy wheels and is also set apart from its humbler siblings by a unique front bumper design, with R-specific air intakes and high-gloss black elements, side skirts, matte chrome mirror caps and a high-gloss black diffuser as well as a roof spoiler round back.

The cabin incorporates all of the digitisation seen in the latest eighth-generation Golf range, and other highlights include Nappa leather sports seats with carbon-look elements a model-specific steering wheel and blue contrast stitching.

VWSA says the new Golf R is expected to hit local shores either in the fourth quarter of 2021 or the first quarter of 2022. The GTI version, however, is set to hit our shores early next year.