2022 Volkswagen Golf R

Release Date: Fall 2021
Estimated Price: Around $42,000 (estimated)
  • Redesigned for 2022
  • 315 horsepower from turbocharged four-cylinder engine
  • Torque-vectoring AWD system for improved handling
  • Digital instrument panel and R-specific steering wheel are among interior enhancements
  • Launches the third Golf R generation for 2022 (eighth-generation Golf platform)
Contact your local dealers about upcoming availability and pricing details.
2022 Volkswagen Golf R Review
Still the Grown-Up Hot Hatch
What is the Golf R?

After spending 2020 and 2021 on hiatus, Volkswagen's über Golf finally returns to our shores. The 2022 Volkswagen Golf R is based on the newest eighth-generation Golf, though curiously VW has decided to not sell the base Golf anymore in the United States. For us, it's just the Golf GTI or Golf R.

The redesigned Golf R promises greater performance than before, courtesy of a beefed-up engine, bigger brakes and a true torque-vectoring all-wheel drive system. It also benefits from the new Golf's tech and interior upgrades, though there are plenty of differences to separate these two like-minded hot hatchbacks.

From the front, the Golf R is distinguished from the GTI by its unique lower valence, larger air intakes, matte chrome mirror caps and the R's signature blue grille accent (now backlit!). The Golf R also features 19-inch wheels, summer-rated tires, blue-painted brake calipers, a gloss black rear diffuser, a larger spoiler and chrome-plated exhaust pipes. As with the previous Golf R, a four-door hatchback is the only body style offered.

What's under the Golf R's hood?

Volkswagen's tried-and-true turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder remains the Golf R's sole powerplant. It produces 315 horsepower and 310 lb-ft of torque, an increase of 27 hp and 30 lb-ft versus the previous Golf R. It will be considerably more powerful than the 2022 Golf GTI, which is slated to make 242 hp and 273 lb-ft.

Volkswagen claims the Golf R will accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in 4.7 seconds, which is 0.2 second quicker than VW's estimates for the outgoing model. We think real-world results might be even quicker, as we've recorded a 4.7-second sprint time in the previous Golf R. Braking performance should also improve since the front brake rotors grow by 0.7 of an inch in diameter. They're also drilled, which, if nothing else, just looks cool. Once again, both a six-speed manual transmission and a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic will be available.

Golf R improvements aren't limited to the extra power under the hood, of course. All-wheel drive is standard, as before. Similar to the previous generation, the Golf R can send up to 50% of its power to the rear wheels. But the 2022 Golf R is now equipped with a torque-vectoring rear differential. It can direct extra torque to the outside rear wheel when going around a turn, which thereby makes the Golf R turn in more eagerly. 

Three levels of stability control (including completely off) allow the driver to fine-tune the amount of electronic intervention to match personal ability. Additional customization of the behavior of the adaptive suspension dampers, active exhaust and steering is available via selectable drive modes.

How's the Golf R's interior?

The Golf R doesn't stray too far from the formula established by the redesigned GTI. The most significant changes to the cabin will be immediately apparent from behind the wheel. The digital Driver Cockpit instrument panel is once again standard and has a few more tricks up its sleeve this time. The screen can be configured to display a variety of information, including torque output, a g-meter and lap times. It'll even light up to let you know when to shift.

Standard leather seating, an R-specific steering wheel, carbon fiber-like trim and blue accents throughout differentiate the Golf R's interior from the standard GTI's. Otherwise, the Golf R shares many of its smaller sibling's details. It'll come standard with ambient interior lighting (with 30 color selections), a heated steering wheel and a 10-inch touchscreen with navigation.

How's the Golf R's tech?

Volkswagen hasn't said much about advanced driving aids for the Golf R specifically. But since the previous model hewed closely to the contemporary GTI's offerings, we think it's safe to say the new Golf R will do the same with respect to the redesigned GTI. The 2022 Golf GTI is already confirmed to come standard with lane keeping assist, forward collision warning and automatic emergency braking, with some additional items offered as options. Since it will be offered in a single trim level, we expect the Golf R will come standard with all of the GTI's optional features.

EdmundsEdmunds says

The redesigned 2022 Volkswagen Golf R aims to be faster, more high-tech and even more exciting to drive than its already superlative predecessor. Though still a year away from its U.S. release, the Golf R looks to be worth the wait.

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