2016 Volkswagen Golf R Variant Preview

Christian Wardlaw | Dec 02, 2014
  • Wagon body style
  • Turbocharged, 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine
  • 292 horsepower, 280 lb.-ft. of torque
  • 6-speed Direct Shift Gearbox transmission
  • Standard 4Motion all-wheel drive
  • Accelerates to 60 mph in 5 seconds
  • Top speed of 155 mph
  • Lowered sport suspension
  • Progressive variable-ratio steering system
  • Sport stability control system
  • Optional adaptive-damping suspension
  • Up to 57.2 cu. ft. of cargo space


Calling it "a sports car in a station wagon body," Volkswagen introduced the 2016 Golf R Variant to the world at the 2014 Los Angeles Auto Show. The venue is key; this vehicle is not a Europe-only model, and will be available to American families that like to go fast and have fun.

Exterior Features

The clues that give the R version of the new Golf Variant away include redesigned bumpers, unique grille, lower side sills, matte chrome mirror housings, four exhaust outlets, dark red taillights, and unique 18- or 19-in. aluminum wheels. There are eight different "R" logos, too.

Interior Features

Given the Golf R Variant's performance intent, it is not surprising that it comes with sport-bolstered seats wrapped in a cloth and Alcantara mix. Automatic climate control, blue ambient cabin lighting, and Volkswagen's latest touch-screen infotainment system are also standard equipment. Additional highlights include stainless steel pedals, Carbon Race dashboard and door panel trim, and doorsill kick plates with blue illumination.

Equipped with seating for five, the Golf R Variant can simultaneously carry 21.4 cu. ft. of cargo. Fold the rear seat flat and Volkswagen says this performance car can handle up to 57.2 cu. ft. of cargo.

Optional Features

Nappa leather upholstery is offered as an option for the new Golf R Variant, in a 2-tone treatment with light gray contrast stitching. Additional detail on standard and optional equipment for Volkswagen's new sport wagon will be announced at a later date.

Under the Hood

A turbocharged, 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine is standard equipment on the Golf R Variant, rated to make 292 horsepower between 5,500 rpm and 6,200 rpm, and 280 lb.-ft. of torque from 1,800 rpm to 5,000 rpm. Translated, the engine is generating either peak torque or peak horsepower in a nearly continuous arc from 1,800 rpm to near redline.

A 6-speed Direct Shift Gearbox (DSG) automated manual transmission with paddle shifters is standard for this car, and Volkswagen says it will add a traditional manual gearbox with a clutch pedal in the future. It feeds engine power to the Golf R Variant's standard 4Motion all-wheel-drive system.

Under normal driving conditions, this is a front-wheel-drive car, because 4Motion disconnects the rear axle from the powertrain in order to conserve fuel. In "fractions of a second," according to Volkswagen, power can be sent to the rear wheels to improve traction.

Volkswagen's Cross-Differential Plus (XDS+) technology is standard, reducing understeer in fast, tight corners. A sport-tuned stability control system is also included and can be deactivated completely in the event an owner takes the Golf R Variant on a racetrack.

Additional performance enhancements include progressive variable-ratio electric steering, sport suspension with ride height nearly an inch lower than stock, and a Driving Profile Selector with Eco, Normal, Individual, and Race settings. Opt for the adaptive-damping suspension and the Golf R Variant also offers a Comfort setting.


Given what is likely to be a price tag of more than $40,000, based on the fact that a standard Golf R is priced just under that threshold, it is not surprising that the Golf R Variant will offer a number of safety-related features including rain-sensing wipers, automatic bi-xenon headlights with an adaptive front-lighting system, reversing camera, and front and rear park-assist sensors.

A forward-collision warning system is also onboard, and in the event that the Golf R Variant is involved in a collision, the braking system stops the car as soon as is possible in order to prevent secondary collisions, VW says.


Volkswagen's 5.8-in. touch-screen infotainment system is standard for the Golf R Variant; it includes Car-Net connectivity and services, HD Radio, Bluetooth with streaming audio, and iPod connectivity. A navigation system is optional, along with a Fender premium sound system.

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