Here in the U.S., we’re still waiting on the Volkswagen Golf R, the 270-hp, all-wheel-drive über-GTI, but VW already is working on its replacement. The current, sixth-generation Golf, after all, is not much more than an extensive face lift of the previous generation, and the U.S. is chronically late to receive new VW product.
While we fully recommend that those searching for a hot hatch take a close look at the GTI—and that patient shoppers wait to drive the Golf R—the Golf VII is a good reason to extend the wait perhaps a bit more. Built on the Modularer Querbaukasten (or MQB) platform, the Golf VII will share its architecture with a large number of VW Group models, including the third-gen Audi A3. The next Golf not only will be more angular and aerodynamic, it will be entirely new under the skin, which means lighter and more agile.
These characteristics also pertain to the next GTI and R. Our photographers caught these two mules—wearing Golf VI bodies—testing in Europe. The new car will be slightly longer and wider, the latter evidenced by the plastic fender flares needed to accommodate the swollen rear track on these cars.
VW won't tinker with the formula of the GTI and the Golf R. The GTI will keep its EA888 engine, a 2.0-liter turbo four that drives the front wheels. It currently makes 200 hp in the U.S.—210 in most other markets—but could see a slight bump to 220 hp or so. That boost will be a welcome (and small) step in lessening the gap between the GTI and competitors such as the 263-hp Mazdaspeed 3. The XDS, a function of the stability control that mimics a limited-slip differential, will stay in place.
The changes to the Golf R are slightly more significant, in that this model will lose its current 2.0-liter EA113 engine and move to the coming third-generation 2.0-liter EA888 architecture. The EA113 is an older and somewhat sturdier design, but the next EA888 will easily handle the 300 hp that VW has envisioned for the Golf R. This model will remain all-wheel-drive, its 300 hp bringing it into the rally-bruiser territory occupied by the Mitsubishi Evolution and Subaru WRX STI. The Golf R, however, should be the most refined of the group.
Thanks to: Car and Driver