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HomeNews and EventsAnniversary-Edition Volkswagen Kills It at Nürburgring

Anniversary-Edition Volkswagen Kills It at Nürburgring

New Golf R “20 Years” improves time by four seconds

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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. 

2022 golf r 20, Anniversary-Edition Volkswagen Kills It at Nürburgring, ClassicCars.com Journal

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. 

2022 golf r 20, Anniversary-Edition Volkswagen Kills It at Nürburgring, ClassicCars.com Journal

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 
Top speed 
2002 
Golf R323 
3.2-litre  
six-cylinder 
177 kW  
(241 PS) 
320 Nm 6.4 seconds 247 km/h 
2005 
Golf 5 R323 
3.2-litre  
six-cylinder 
184 kW  
(250 PS) 
320 Nm 6.2 seconds 248 km/h 
2009 
Golf 6 R3 
2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo 199 kW  
(270) PS 
350 Nm 5.5 seconds 250 km/h 
2013 
Golf 7 R3 
2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo 221 kW 
(300 PS) 
400 Nm 4.9 seconds 250 km/h, optionally 270 km/h with Performance package (from product upgrade) 
2020 
Golf 8 R 
2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo 235 kW  
(320 PS) 
420 Nm 4.7 seconds 250 km/h, optionally 270 km/h with R- Performance package 
2022 
Golf R “20 Years” 
2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo 245 kW  
(333 PS) 
420 Nm 4.6 seconds 270 km/h 
Diego Rosenberg
Diego Rosenberg
Lead Writer Diego Rosenberg is a native of Wilmington, Delaware and Princeton, New Jersey, giving him plenty of exposure to the charms of Carlisle and Englishtown. Though his first love is Citroen, he fell for muscle cars after being seduced by 1950s finned flyers—in fact, he’s written two books on American muscle. But please don’t think there is a strong American bias because foreign weirdness is never far from his heart. With a penchant for underground music from the 1960-70s, Diego and his family reside in the Southwest.

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