Remember the Volkswagen commercial from 1984 that played Ronny and the Daytona’s “G.T.O.” sung in German, but with “Rabbit GTI” substituted? Volkswagen’s hot hatch has come a long way since then, gaining stature, turbos and even an upgrade to VW’s VR6 engine with the Golf R that appeared in 2002. To celebrate 20 years of the Golf R, Volkswagen is producing the Golf R “20 Years” anniversary edition.
It’s the fastest Golf R ever, as you can imagine. Thanks to the standard Performance package and 13 more Euro-spec horsepower from the 2.0-liter turbo-4, the 2022 Golf R “20 Years” improved its lap time on Nürburgring-Nordschleife by an impressive four seconds compared to the regular Golf R, officially clocking in at 7:47.31 minutes.
Volkswagen credits the improved time to the increased horsepower, “exclusive standard equipment and optimized driving dynamics” thanks to the R-Performance package, Driving Dynamics Manager and R-Performance Torque Vectoring. “With this car, I can drive here on the Nürburgring and the next stop is then the baker’s or the DIY store. The vehicle is really an all-rounder that can do everything,” says Benjamin Leuchter, touring car race driver.
Since you’re probably going to drive yours on I-95, perhaps the stat of 0-62 mph in 4.6 seconds may be more relatable. That’s a tenth quicker than the 2020 version, and it’s a mighty impressive time considering the GTI’s lineage: in 1983, the American-spec version went 0-60 in 9.7 seconds, which was considered “brisk” at the time by Car and Driver. The magazine claimed this was nearly a second quicker than the four-speed 5.0-liter Trans Am they tested earlier.
This special-edition Golf adds “Special” and “Drift” settings to the usual “Comfort,” “Sport” and “Race” driving profiles. There are also 15 possible settings for the shock absorbers to “guarantee optimum road contact on tracks with a large number of bumps.” Sounds like Nürburgring more than the New Jersey Turnpike, no? And much to the chagrin of the “save the manuals” folks, the track run was done with a Golf featuring a 7-speed gearbox, which is another way of saying “paddle shifters.”
For now, let’s call it “progress.”
20 years of the Golf R – an overview of the model history
|Year of manufacture/ Model||Drive||Engine output||Torque||Acceleration |
from 0 to 100 km/h
|177 kW |
|320 Nm||6.4 seconds||247 km/h|
Golf 5 R323
|184 kW |
|320 Nm||6.2 seconds||248 km/h|
Golf 6 R3
|2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo||199 kW |
|350 Nm||5.5 seconds||250 km/h|
Golf 7 R3
|2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo||221 kW |
|400 Nm||4.9 seconds||250 km/h, optionally 270 km/h with Performance package (from product upgrade)|
Golf 8 R
|2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo||235 kW |
|420 Nm||4.7 seconds||250 km/h, optionally 270 km/h with R- Performance package|
Golf R “20 Years”
|2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo||245 kW |
|420 Nm||4.6 seconds||270 km/h|