2022 VW Golf R specs reveal a 315-hp track weapon with unassuming looks

5 generations of the Golf R leads to the most powerful model yet...with new Drift mode.

According to Volkswagen, the 2022 Golf R gains the biggest performance jump from one generation to another of any VW model, ever. In other words, this completely redesigned hot hatch sporting the Golf nameplate since 2002 is no joke, built as a 5-door track weapon that’s equally content on everyday roads with its modest, clean looks.

Here are the key specs you need to know:

  • 0 to 100 km/h in 4.7 seconds
  • top speed of 155 mph or 250 km/h, as standard
  • Up to 270 km/h with optional R-Performance package
  • 315-hp and 310 pound-feet of torque from new 4-cylinder turbocharged engine
  • new 4MOTION all-wheel drive with torque vectoring
  • 18-inch high performance brakes
  • 18-inch alloy wheels, premium sports seats, navigation system, and background lighting come standard
  • Drift mode and Special mode new for 2022

Powered by a new 2.0L 4-cylinder TSI engine (part of the the legendary EA888 product line), the 2022 Golf R will put down 315-hp and 310 lb.-ft. of torque — that’s a 27-hp bump from the outgoing Mk7 generation sold in North America (and a 10-hp increase across other markets); torque is up from the previous 280 lb-ft.

Overall, VW worked hard improving the new Golf Mk8’s direct-injection, 1,984 cc turbocharged powertrain efficiencies while still offering buyers that coveted manual transmission option. 

All-wheel drive with new torque vectoring

Perhaps the most significant performance update is the Golf R’s new 4MOTION with R-Performance Torque Vectoring — an all-wheel drive system with selective wheel torque control on the rear axle. Sporting two clutches, torque is distributed to each wheel individually, where 100-percent of rear wheel torque can be dished out to a single rear wheel. 

2022 volkswagen golf r rear view
The new Golf R is a true track warrior, tried and tested at Germany’s Nordschleife establishing a best 7:51-minute lap time. Photo: VW

Based on this factoid alone, it’s abundantly clear this rocket belongs on the track — like the Nordschleife in Germany where the 2022 Golf R was extensively tested, nailing a 7:51-minute lap time beating the previous Mark 7’s 8:10-minute marker. 

Vehicle Dynamics Manager

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Also new is the Vehicle Dynamics Manager controlling the XDS (electronic differential locks), DCC (adaptive chassis control), and of course, the R-Performance torque vectoring. VW says the setup will yield a more neutral feel with faster steering inputs and increased traction. But we’ll be the judge of that once we’re in the Golf R’s cockpit, dubbed Digital Cockpit Pro, that has been especially programmed for this car and comes standard. 

Next-level handling and bigger brakes

With all this comes better handling, kicking it off with a 10-percent spring rate increase compared to its predecessor, paired to massive 18-inch high performance brakes for improved stopping power. 18-inch rims come standard, wrapped in grippier tires for 2022.

R-Performance package adds Drift and Special drive modes

Drift mode and Special mode are new to the Golf R for 2022. Photo: VW

Expect 4 drive modes (including Custom) for more granular driving dynamics. But the big news here? It’s the Drift mode for what VW assured us is “for off public roads” because this magical setting applies the Golf R’s maximum power to the rear wheels for some some proper sideway action — off the public roads, of course. 

Also new is the Special drive mode (also known as the Nürburgring mode) we’re told is “like a weapon.” With a name like Special and named after arguably the best track in the world there’s not much more to say. Both Drift and Specials modes with in conjunction with the optional R-Performance package.

Takeaway: say hi to the most powerful production Golf of all time

Entering its fifth-generation since hitting global markets in 2002, the overhauled and track-focused 2022 Golf R marks most powerful production Golf of all time. Sporting an all-new all-wheel drive setup, torque vectoring, a Drift mode, 18-inch brakes, and big power, we can see why. 

Release Date and price

Pricing will be announced closer to the availability date slated for sometime late 2021, when both the 2022 Golf R and sibling GTI will simultaneously hit the market for the first time. 

2022 Volkswagen Golf R Pictures:

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