2011 Volkswagen Golf R


When the special-edition R32 retired, the new-and-improved GTI returned to the top of the Volkswagen Golf range. Not for long, though, as Volkswagen is introducing the R32’s successor — the Golf R — at the hometown Frankfurt auto show.

Powered by a direct-injected, turbocharged, and intercooled 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that produces an impressive 270 horses and 258 pound-feet of torque, the Golf R is far and away the most powerful production Golf Volkswagen has ever offered. Despite being down two cylinders on the R32, the Golf R boasts more power and torque than the 250-horse V-6 R32 and considerably more power than the 210-horse Mk VI Golf GTI, thanks in part to a healthy 17.4 psi of boost.

Naturally, the power boost correlates with a boost in performance and the Golf R will hit 62 mph in 5.7 seconds with a manual transmission and 5.5 seconds with Volkswagen’s DSG dual-clutch gearbox and an electronically limited top speed of 155 mph, VW says. Either car handily outaccelerates the R32, which needs 6.5 seconds to get to 62 mph. And the Golf R does it all using less gas, getting roughly six more mpg than the R32. It also offers an improvement in emissions, emitting only 0.71 pounds of CO2 per mile compared with the R32’s 0.91 pounds per mile.

After power leaves the engine and travels through either the manual or DSG transmission, it’s routed into the latest version of Volkswagen’s 4MOTION AWD system. Unlike previous generations, the latest AWD unit doesn’t need to wait for a speed differential between the front and rear axles to leap into action and can vary the power split between the axles continuously. If needed, it can even route nearly 100 percent of the power to the rear wheels.

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