Impartiality be damned. I’ve got loads of love for a fast Volkswagen Golf, with the original GTI vying for top place in my list of dream project cars alongside a Porsche 365 (the Golf is the affordable option). So I’m a little bit excited about the new Golf R, a car that pushes the German hatchback even further up the performance pecking order.
This is the first production Golf to crack the 300PS barrier (sounds better than 295bhp) and, like previous Rs, will use all-wheel drive to channel that power and the 380Nm of torque (or 280lb/ft in proper units) onto the tarmac. The performance figures are suitably rapid for what is not the fastest ever production Golf. 62mph arrives in just 5.3 seconds. Not quick enough? Choose the optional six-speed DSG and it’ll do it in just 4.9 seconds. That could shame a lot of so-called supercars and it certainly kicks sand in the face of the Renaultsport Megane, Focus ST, Astra VXR and even the mighty BMW M135i.
The four-wheel drive uses the fifth generation of Haldex systems and can, in theory, transfer all power to the rear wheels. It’s unlikely to turn the Golf into an oversteering hooligan but it’ll make the Golf devastating quick in damp conditions.
Volkswagen say it’ll do 39.8 mpg (40.9 mpg for the DSG) and the EU boffins have rated it at 159 g/km. It’s up to you how much faith you have in those figures but it should mean that the turbocharged 2.0-litre is a bit more economical than the last Golf R. The engine is carried over from the latest GTI but uses a modified cylinder head, exhaust valves, valve seats and springs, pistons, injection valves and turbocharger to produce the extra grunt.
Expect to see more of the Volkswagen Golf R as it breaks cover at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September.