2022 Volkswagen Golf R Variant Mk8 debuts – 315 hp and 420 Nm; 0-100 km/h in 4.9 seconds; Drift mode

Following the debut of the Volkswagen Golf R Mk8 last November, the German carmaker has now unveiled the wagon version of the performance model. The new Golf R Variant (or Estate as it is known in certain markets) joins another hot wagon in Volkswagen’s line-up, the Arteon R Shooting Brake, which was revealed in June 2020.

Mechanically, the wagon is pretty much identical to the hatchback, with an EA888 2.0 litre turbocharged four-cylinder delivering 320 PS (315 hp) and 420 Nm of torque. There’s only a seven-speed DSG dual-clutch transmission available here (the hatch gets a manual option as well), with drive going to the wheels via a 4Motion all-wheel drive system.

Said AWD system is identical to the one in the Golf R hatch, featuring a rear differential that not only distributes the power variably between the front and rear axles, but also between the left and right rear wheels.

The new R-Performance Torque Vectoring setup is now capable of sending up to 100% of torque to the outside of either wheel for increased agility. By comparison, the previous approach could only split power in a 50:50 ratio via a multi-plate clutch to the left and the right rear wheels.

Managing where the torque goes is the duty of the car’s Vehicle Dynamics Manager, which also works with the electronic differential locks (XDS) and adaptive damping system (DCC) to optimise handling. The system also handles torque vectoring by braking and comes with four standard drive modes – Comfort, Sport, Race and Individual.

Performance-wise, the Golf R Variant takes 4.9 seconds to complete the 0-100 km/h sprint, which is 0.2 seconds more than the hatch. The top speed for both is the same at 250 km/h, or 270 km/h with the optional R Performance package. Springing for the option will also net you 19-inch wheels and additional Special (Nürburgring mode) and Drift (for powerslides) drive modes.

So, the standout figures aren’t that far off a regular Golf R, but the main appeal of the Variant model is the added practicality. With a wheelbase that is 66 mm longer, maximum legroom expands from 903 mm to 941 mm.

Additionally, there’s 611 litres of boot space available (the hatch has 340 litres), which increases to 1,642 litres (the hatch has 1,233 litres) with the second-row of seats folded down. Volkswagen also offers an optional ball coupling that has a permitted maximum trailer weight (braked) of up to 1.9 tonnes and a drawbar load of 80 kilograms.

Compared to a regular Golf Variant, the ride height is 20 mm lower, just like it is on the hatch equivalent. The company also says compared to its predecessor, the new model has brake discs that are 25.4 mm larger at the front, coming in at 457.2 mm. Built with pin discs and aluminium brake pots, the setup is 2.4 kg lighter as well, and is marked out by a striking blue finish on the calipers with the R logo on top.

Moving inside, you’ll find model-specific touches applied to a familiar Golf cabin, with blue R logos on the headrests. Meanwhile, the seat centre panels are covered with fabric seat covers in black-blue, with the inner side of the seat cushion bolsters made of ArtVelours microfleece in Flint Grey – Nappa leather is a cost option.

The R-specific Digital Cockpit Pro also comes with displays that let you keep track of your vehicle status during spirited driving, while the MIB3 infotainment system offers connected service, voice control and access to vehicle functions. Presales of the new Golf R Variant will begin from July 8 in Germany and Europe, with prices starting from 51,585 euros (RM253,879).

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