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2015 Volkswagen Golf R to Debut at Frankfurt Motor Show

By Jeff Youngs, August 27, 2013
Volkswagen has steadily introduced new variants of its redesigned Golf and GTI models, which go on sale as 2014 model-year vehicles in Europe and as a 2015 model-year vehicle in the United States. Now, in preparation for the 2013 Frankfurt Motor Show, VW has unwrapped the latest Golf variant--the flagship of the series--the all-new 2015 Volkswagen Golf R.

Visually, expected modifications to set the new Golf R apart include a restyled front end with larger air intakes, revised rear end with a diffuser panel and four chrome-tipped exhaust outlets, and lower-body side skirts. Matte-chrome mirror caps, bi-xenon headlights with LED running lights, dark red LED taillights, and several "R" badges also hint as to the performance awaiting the driver, and the Golf R rides on standard 18-inch aluminum wheels wearing 225/40 performance-oriented tires. Optionally, the Golf R is available with 19-inch aluminum wheels.

Pop the hood to find a new turbocharged, 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine. More powerful and more fuel-efficient than before, this engine generates 296 horsepower at 5,500 rpm and 280 lb.-ft. of torque between 1,800 rpm and 5,500 rpm. A 6-speed manual transmission is standard, with a 6-speed Direct Shift Gearbox (DSG) dual-clutch automated manual offered as an option.

According to Volkswagen, the 2015 Golf R accelerates to 60 mph in about 5.2 seconds with the manual gearbox and in 4.8 seconds with the optional DSG. Top speed with either transmission is a governed 155 mph.

The new Golf R is equipped with a standard next-generation 4Motion all-wheel-drive system. To help conserve fuel, this version of 4Motion decouples the powertrain from the car's rear axle under relaxed driving conditions. When necessary, though, nearly 100% of the engine's power can be directed to the Golf R's rear wheels.

Additional fuel-saving measures include standard start/stop technology, which shuts the engine off when the car is idling in traffic or at an intersection, and a brake-energy regeneration system for the battery. All told, Volkswagen says the Golf R gets 18% better fuel economy than the vehicle it replaces. A standard Driving Profile Selector with an Eco driving mode assists in achieving those gains, but it also offers Normal, Individual, and Race settings. A Comfort mode is included when the car is fitted with the optional Dynamic Chassis Control (DCC) system.

Every 2015 Golf R is equipped with a sport suspension that positions the car even closer to the pavement than the GTI. Upgraded braking components include black calipers with an "R" logo stamped into them, and a new progressive variable-ratio steering system reduces effort when parking while delivering more direct response at speed. The Golf R's traction and stability control system includes an ESC Sport mode that provides a greater threshold before engagement, and the system can be completely deactivated for track driving. The Golf R is also equipped with a new version of its Cross-Differential Lock (XDS Plus) system, which now works as a transverse differential lock compensating for understeer during fast cornering.

Slip inside, and the driver finds front sport seats with black fabric inserts and gray Alcantara bolsters facing a sport steering wheel, unique R-style instrumentation, and Carbon Touch dashboard trim. The pedals offer the look of stainless steel, and the Golf R is equipped with ambient cabin lighting, illuminating doorsill plates, automatic climate control, and a touch-screen audio system. Choose one of the two optional infotainment systems, and the screen expands to 5.8 inches or 8 inches while gaining proximity-sensing technology. Premium leather upholstery is also an option for the new Golf R.

Volkswagen has not announced pricing, final specifications, or an on-sale date for Golf R models bound for the United States as this article is written.

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