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2014 VW Golf R priced from £29,900

Mon, 11 Nov 2013 00:00:00 -0800

Volkswagen has announced the UK pricing for the new Golf R. Arriving in showrooms in March 2014, the R becomes the new range-topping Golf, above the GTI. It comes in three- and five-door variants, and is priced from £29,900.

Powered by a 2.0-litre turbo engine that provides 300hp via a four-wheel drive system, it is not only the most powerful Golf ever, but also mighty similar to the latest Audi S3. Which will probably come as a surprise to absolutely no one.

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The latest Audi A3 and Volkswagen Golf are both built on the VW Group’s MQB-platform, and already share a number of engine variants.

In both the Golf R and S3, peak power is available 5,500-6,200rpm; same with the 280lb ft torque max 1,800-5,500rpm. But according to the latest stats, the Golf is the (marginally) faster machine.

For example, not only is the six-speed manual Golf R a whole half-second quicker to 62mph than its predecessor, at 0-62mph in 5.2 seconds, it’s also 0.2 seconds faster than the equivalent Audi S3.

Same with the six-speed twin-clutch Golf R DSG automatic, which does 0-62mph in 4.9 seconds, compared to the S3’s 5.1 seconds. Though looking at our original S3 first drive review, it would appear the Audi has slipped back a bit (the original figures pegged it at 5.1 for the manual and 4.8 for the automatic – curious).

Still, out in the real world, the difference probably only counts in the pub.

Usefully, the 2014 Golf R is also as much as 18% more efficient than the old one, claiming 39.8mpg and 165g/km CO2 for the manual and 40.9mpg and 159g/km CO2 for the DSG. Not bad at all, given the performance.

Compared to the rest of the Golf range, the R is 20mm lower (5mm lower than the GTI) and its fifth-generation Haldex 4motion four-wheel drive can direct ‘almost 100%’ of power to the rear axle. Which sounds rather exciting.

Also exciting is the new Race mode for the optional Adaptive Chassis Control. VW has never offered a Race mode before, and promises this will really increase the damping for flatter cornering, as well as increasing throttle response. We fear it may be practically unusable on bumpy British roads, but still.

Like the GTI, the Golf R has an ESC Sport stability control setting, but in addition to this you can also turn the safety net all the way off. VW says this is best suited to ‘track driving’.

The Golf R also features the same  ‘progressive steering’ as the GTI (and GTD), which reduces the turns from lock-to-lock from 2.75 to 2.1.

Visual updates include new bumpers, lights, grille, side sills and matt chrome door mirrors. 18-inch alloy wheels are standard, 19s optional. It weighs up to 46kg less than before, and as little as 93kg more than a Performance Pack equipped GTI. The interior gets lots of Alcantara, R logos and blue detailing.

Prices start at £29,900 for the for the three-door manual, rising to £31,970 for the five-door DSG, making the 2014 Golf R around £740 cheaper than the Audi S3. And you get more equipment, too.

The current Golf R Cabriolet continues as it is for the time being, in line with all other convertible versions of the Golf.

Volkswagen Golf R review (2010-2013)

Volkswagen Golf R Cabriolet review (2013 onwards)

New VW Golf R revealed – the most powerful Golf ever

Volkswagen Golf R stars at the 2013 Frankfurt Motor Show

Audi S3 review (2013 onwards)