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At the heart of the R is a newly developed version of the four-cylinder 2.0-litre turbocharged EA888 TSI petrol engine used in the latest Golf GTI, but in this application producing 300 PS from 5,500 to 6,200 rpm and 380 Nm (280 lbs ft) from 1,800 to 5,500 rpm. Compared with the GTI’s powerplant, the Golf R’s engine has a modified cylinder head, exhaust valves, valve seats and springs, pistons, injection valves and turbocharger.
Zero to 62 mph takes 5.2 seconds (versus 5.7 seconds for previous Golf R), or 4.9 seconds with optional DSG gearbox. In 3rd-party testing, it has been recorded at 4.7 seconds using Launch Control. The top speed is electronically limited to 155 mph. Despite this increased performance, a combined fuel consumption of 24 mpg, and CO2 emissions of 165 g/km (159 g/km DSG) make the Golf R up to 18 per cent more efficient than its predecessor.
The R uses a fifth-generation Haldex 4MOTION four-wheel drive system. Under low loads or when coasting, the rear axle is decoupled, helping to reduce fuel consumption. Drive to the rear axle can be engaged in fractions of a second via the Haldex coupling, which is actuated by an electro-hydraulic pump. 50 percent of power can be transferred to the rear axle.
The ride height is 20 mm lower than the standard Golf. For the first time, this offers a ‘Race’ mode, which increases damping, thereby reducing body movements. Race mode also increases throttle response, and alters the shift pattern of the DSG gearbox (where fitted).
On top of ESC Sport mode, as found on the GTI and GTD, which delays intervention of the electronic stability control system, the R offers the option fully to disengage the ESC, for track driving.
A limited edition Golf R was rumored in August 2015.