Volkswagen has finally released official U.S. pricing and specs on the 2012 Golf R. The meanest hatch in the company's stable will set you back $33,990 (*plus destination). That's a sizeable chunk of change, to be sure, but it will net you the most powerful Golf production engine to be sold in the States. At 256 horsepower and 243 pound-feet of torque, the turbocharged 2.0-liter turns out six more horsepower than the 2008 Golf R32 VR6 while sucking down less fuel. Volkswagen says that the company's internal estimates put the 2012 Golf R at 19 mpg city and 27 mpg highway. That's an impressive jump compared to Environmental Protection Agency estimates of 18 mpg city and 23 mpg highway for 2008 R32.

The 2.0 TFSI four-cylinder engine is bolted to a six-speed manual transmission and a Haldex all-wheel drive system, and the car will be offered in both two- and four-door bodystyles. Volkswagen has also taken the time to sharpen the vehicle's suspension even beyond what the already lithe GTI has to offer. Changes include a larger, tubular anti-roll bar up front and a four-link rear with three lateral control arms. Hit the jump for the press release.
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VOLKSWAGEN ANNOUNCES PRICING FOR THE NEW GOLF R: $33,990 FOR THE TWO-DOOR MODEL

With 256 horsepower, the Golf R is the most powerful VW sports performance vehicle ever sold in the U.S.-and Volkswagen's new performance icon is now available in two- and four-doors

• Well-equipped two-door model starts at $33,990
• Sunroof and Navigation models have MSRPs of $35,490 (two-door) and $36,090 (four-door)
• Most powerful Golf production engine to be sold in the U.S.
• Six-speed manual transmission and all-wheel drive standard
• Predicted fuel economy of 19 mpg city, 27 mpg highway
• Bi-Xenon headlights and LED DRLs standard on all models
• On-sale early 2012 as a 2012 model, in both two- and four-door versions

Herndon, VA – Intelligent downsizing. That's what the new Golf R represents. The heir to the 2004 and 2008 Golf R32 models, the new R manages to have more power, more performance, and consume less gasoline than its illustrious iconic performance forebears. And it offers all this for just $33,990, plus destination, for the two-door Golf R model.

Whereas the R32 models used 3.2-liter VR6 engines, the new Golf R is fitted with a high-output version of the award-winning turbocharged 2.0-liter TSI® engine. This engine makes 256 horsepower, six more than the VR6 fitted into the 2008 R32. As well as offering more power and performance, the Golf R is also more economical, with manufacturer estimated fuel economy of 19 mpg in the city and 27 mpg on the highway compared with EPA estimated mileage of 18 mpg in the city and 23 mpg on the highway for the prior model.

Like the previous R32 models, the Golf R is equipped with Volkswagen's 4Motion® all-wheel-drive system: the latest generation of this system can divert up to 100 percent of the torque to the rear wheels, if needed. All Golf R models sold in the U.S will be equipped with a close-ratio six-speed manual transmission. For the first time, the Golf R will be available in two- and four-door guises as well as in two trim levels: well-equipped Golf R and luxurious Golf R with Sunroof and Navigation.

Exterior

The Golf R is a refined vehicle that's marked by clean, minimalist lines that are mixed with sharp, intricate detailing. The style is sleek and contemporary, yet timeless and elegant.

The changes made for the Golf R are subtle yet striking, in keeping with the car's mission of providing sophisticated and understated performance. Up front, there's a new bumper that incorporates LED daytime running lights and three large black air intakes that help cool the engine. The radiator grille is finished in gloss black and features an "R" logo that sets the front of the car apart from the rest of the Golf range. Unique Bi-Xenon headlamps that are framed in black also have the Adaptive Front-lighting System (AFS), whereby the lights turn with the steering wheel, up to a maximum of 15 degrees, to provide better visibility around bends.

The car's streamlined profile continues toward the rear, with a pair of subtly flared side skirts running along the lower edge of the body. The new 18-inch aluminum-alloy wheels expose gloss-black-painted brake calipers that incorporate the "R" logo; the exterior mirrors also have a gloss-black finish.

There's further differentiation at the back of the R, where a new rear bumper was needed to accommodate the central twin pipes for the exhaust system, similar to the tailpipes fitted on the original 2004 R32. The bumper also features a gloss-black diffuser. The back end is highlighted by a slightly larger tail spoiler than that of the GTI and a subtle "R" badge. The R is available in five colors: Rising Blue, Candy White, Carbon Steel Gray, Black, and Tornado Red.

Interior

Just like the exterior, the interior has been enhanced to make it even more purposeful and demonstrate its role at the apex of the Golf range.

On opening the door, the driver and passenger will note aluminum "R" kickplates on the sills, before sliding into deep bucket seats. These are adorned with an "R" logo on the head restraint and are upholstered in supple leather.

The squared-off steering wheel is also swathed in leather, with gloss-black-finished spokes that carry through from the exterior design. Other R-specific features include: blue pointers for the instruments; the shifter knob with an "R" motif; aluminum trim for the dashboard and doors; and aluminum pedals.

The Golf R comes extremely well equipped, even in base form. Fully automatic dual-zone climate control is standard, along with a multifunction steering wheel, Premium VIII audio with eight speakers, aux-in, a Media Device Interface with iPod® connectivity, and Bluetooth®. The Golf R with Sunroof and Navigation adds the RNS 315 touchscreen navigation system; a 300-watt Dynaudio® sound system; a sunroof; and Keyless Entry with push-button start.

Just like the rest of the Golf range, the R is practical and versatile. The high-lifting tailgate provides easy ingress and egress to a load area that offers 15.3 cubic feet of space. And with the folding rear seat back split 60/40-and featuring a pass-through-there's real flexibility for load carrying.

Engine and Transmission

The Golf R is fitted with the most powerful Golf production engine ever seen in the U.S. The car uses an updated version of the EA113 2.0-liter turbocharged inline four-cylinder engine, rather than the EA888 engine used in the current GTI. Like the EA888, the EA113 uses direct fuel injection and double overhead camshafts with variable intake timing. Because the Golf R develops more power and torque than the GTI-256 horsepower and 243 lb-ft compared with 200 hp and 207 lb-ft-a number of changes have been made. The cylinder block is reinforced, stronger connecting rods are fitted, and a BorgWarner K04 turbocharger is used, boosting at up to 17 psi. With manufacturer estimated fuel economy ratings of 19 mpg in the city and 27 mpg on the highway, this is the most fuel-efficient Golf R model ever sold in the U.S.

The Golf R is offered with a slick shifting, close-ratio six-speed manual transmission that features a magnesium selector housing and cable operation with very short lever movements. The latest-generation 4Motion all-wheel drive is also standard on the Golf R. This system uses a Haldex® clutch pack that continuously varies the amount of torque sent to the rear wheels, depending on whether slippage is detected at the front. In normal driving, the Golf R acts like a front-wheel-drive machine, which has benefits for fuel economy. However, if needed, up to 100 percent of the torque can be directed to the rear wheels for traction on more challenging surfaces.

Suspension

The Golf R has unique calibration for its suspension, even compared with the GTI. At the front, it uses a damper-strut layout with lower control arms and a stiff, tubular anti-roll bar that combine to help keep the front tires planted during hard cornering, reducing body roll and heightening steering feedback.

At the back, there's a compact multilink independent layout that features coil springs, telescopic dampers, and an anti-roll bar. The four-link layout features three lateral control arms-the spring mounting, the track rod and upper control arm, and a trailing link at each wheel. Suspension assemblies are attached by way of a rear-axle subframe and, as at the front, rubber and metal mountings that are soft in torsion but stiff radially are used to help ensure the anti-roll bar responds immediately and suppresses body roll effectively.

The spring and damper units are located separately on each side of the car at the rear, with the coil spring bearing directly on the trailing link and the damper attached to the wheel hub assembly. This enables the suspension geometry on the compression stroke to generate a toe steering effect that maintains neutral behavior, or some slight understeer, in all driving and load-carrying situations. It also helps ensure excellent driving stability on rough, uneven road surfaces. Stylish 18-inch-diameter aluminum-alloy wheels are shod with 225/40 all-season performance tires.

Steering and Brakes

The Golf R uses a third-generation electro-mechanical power steering system that is able to vary the feel of the steering to suit the speed and driving situation. It is firm and direct when driving at highway speeds, requiring less effort at parking speeds. Other advantages of the system include its mild self-centering action, and its ability to help compensate for driving hazards like crosswinds and steep road cambers. In the Golf R, the steering ratio is quicker than the GTI's for an even sportier on-road feel.

The brakes were modified to cope with the Golf R's higher level of performance as compared to the GTI. Golf R gets vented 13.6-inch-diameter front and 12.2-inch rear discs, up from the GTI's 12.3-inch-diameter vented front and 10.7-inch solid rear discs. Naturally, anti-lock brakes (ABS) are standard, along with electronic brake pressure distribution (EBS) and hydraulic brake assist (HBA). The latest version of HBA is able to discern whether the braking is "normal" or an emergency according to the speed with which the pedal is depressed. In the event of an emergency, HBA helps increase the brake pressure and activates the ABS.

Safety and Security

The 2012 Golf R comes with an array of standard safety features. For driving security, enhancements include Electronic Stability Control (ESC), Anti-Slip Regulation (ASR), and an Electronic Differential Lock (EDL). A hill holder function automatically applies the parking brake when the vehicle comes to rest and the brake is depressed in traffic, preventing the car from rolling backwards or forwards. The brake is released once the driver presses the accelerator pedal. This is especially useful in slow traffic on long inclines.

Should the car be involved in a crash, the occupants are protected by driver and passenger front and front side thorax airbags together with Side Curtain Protection® head airbags for front and rear passengers. Volkswagen's advanced Intelligent Crash Response System shuts off the fuel pump, unlocks the doors, and even switches on the hazard lights if the car is involved in certain types of collisions.

Like all 2012 Volkswagen models, the Golf R is covered under the no-charge Carefree Maintenance Program. All scheduled maintenance is covered for the length of the New Vehicle Limited Warranty-three years or 36,000 miles, whichever occurs first.

Model Line-up

The base Golf R is a sophisticated and luxurious performance car, with a high level of standard equipment.

Golf R

Starting at $33,990, the two-door Golf R comes equipped with Bi-Xenon headlights; dual-zone Climatronic® air conditioning; cruise control; leather-trimmed multifunction steering wheel; power windows with auto up/down function; leather seating surfaces; 60/40-split folding rear seat with pass through; aluminum pedals; a leather shifter knob and brake lever; and Bluetooth® technology. The eight-speaker sound system has an in-dash six-CD changer, AM/FM/SiriusXM™ Satellite Radio, and auxiliary input jack along with an iPod® adapter.

Golf R with Sunroof and Navigation

Starting at $35,490 for the two-door model, this adds: a power tilt-and-slide sunroof; Keyless Entry with push-button start; the RNS 315 touchscreen navigation system; and the eight-channel 300-watt Dynaudio® premium sound system.

About Volkswagen of America, Inc.

Founded in 1955, Volkswagen of America, Inc. is headquartered in Herndon, Virginia. It is a subsidiary of Volkswagen AG, headquartered in Wolfsburg, Germany. Volkswagen's operations in the United States include research and development, parts and vehicle processing, parts distribution centers, sales, marketing and service offices, financial service centers, and its state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Volkswagen is one of the world's largest producers of passenger cars and Europe's largest automaker. Volkswagen sells the Beetle, Eos, Golf, GTI, Jetta, Jetta SportWagen, Passat, CC, Tiguan, Touareg and Routan vehicles through approximately 600 independent U.S. dealers. All 2012 Volkswagen models come standard-equipped with Electronic Stability Control. This is important because the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has called ESC the most effective new vehicle safety technology since the safety belt. Visit Volkswagen of America online at www.vw.com or media.vw.com to learn more.

Notes:

This press release and images of the Golf R are available at media.vw.com.

"TSI", "VW", "Volkswagen", "4MOTION", "Climatronic", all model names and the Volkswagen logo are registered trademarks of Volkswagen AG. "Carefree Maintenance" is a registered trademark of Volkswagen Group of America, Inc. "Bluetooth" is a registered trademark of Bluetooth SIG, Inc. "Dynaudio" is a registered trademark of DYNAUDIO International GmbH. "iPod" is a registered trademark of Apple, Inc. "SiriusXM" and "SiriusXM Satellite Radio" are trademarks of SiriusXM Radio, Inc. "Haldex" is a registered trademark of Haldex Traction Systems, Sweden.

Features and technical data apply to models offered in the USA. They may differ in other countries.

Where stated, fuel economy values (mpg) are EPA estimates. All other fuel economy values are forecast manufacturer values for the USA; those EPA estimates were not available at time of release.

MSRPs exclude taxes, title, transportation, options and dealer charges.

The Intelligent Crash Response System (ICRS) will only activate in a collision where the airbags deploy or safety belt pretensioners activate. Not all collisions cause airbags to deploy or safety belt pretensioners to activate.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 161 Comments
      lorenzo
      • 3 Years Ago
      The 4 door "Autobahn" GTI trim spec is $30,535 - so the extra 56 HP & AWD & suspeneion tweaks - for around $3k sounds like a good deal. While not the top of the heap in any catagory, this is a solid quality ride
        jamiescale
        • 3 Years Ago
        @lorenzo
        Its not that the Golf-R, at $3k more, is a good deal...its that the "Autobahn" GTI is a ripoff
          Larry
          • 3 Years Ago
          @jamiescale
          You're right - lorenzo's numbers are a little off. A 5-door GTI with Autobahn package is almost $31K. The comparable 5-door Golf R is $36K and change. That $5K price difference (almost 20%) gets you 28% more HP, the 4-motion AWD system (very valuable here in New England), a much nicer body kit and interior trim (in my opinion), and a few other little differences (including limited production, which has certainly helped keep previous-generation R32 prices inflated far above comparable GTI resale values). The fact is, most Golf R buyers are going to be people who already appreciated what the GTI had to offer, but wanted AWD or more power or just something more special than a regular GTI. For these people, the Golf R will be a pretty easy sell.
        jcr847
        • 3 Years Ago
        @lorenzo
        compare apples to apples, the 4door top spec of this car is 37k, so it's actually 7k for what you mentioned. Suddenly it doesnt seem like as good a deal...
      BJMcGee
      • 3 Years Ago
      I'm really excited to see these on the road! I have been waiting for this car to come since 2007 (2.0T AWD). I don't usually compare the Golf R to an STI, Evo, or MS3; I think of it more as a practical hatch back version of an Audi TT-S for ~$8k less.
      jcr847
      • 3 Years Ago
      I really like this car in theory, and was waiting on the price as I plan on buying something new in the next 3-6 months. However, it's priced about 5k too high for me personally. I would be interested in the loaded four door in the 30k range rather than the 36plus destination they're going to sell it for. 37k just buys too much elsewhere for me to seriously consider this.
      farizY
      • 3 Years Ago
      NO thanks to the bloody taxes that we have in Malaysia, this car is going to cost us at least RM300k or in 100k USD (if it ever comes here)....you Americans are really lucky, I envy the car prices over there, what we are left with are the bloody Protons and Peroduas!! one is a cheaply build so called national car, the other one is a rebadge Daihatsu, even these cars cost a lot, effing government leeches!
        Gerardo Cruz
        • 3 Years Ago
        @farizY
        Sorry man. I saw the Perodua on Top Gear. It was not as nice as the Protons. US$100,000 for a VW Golf? Damn!!
      DC Mike
      • 3 Years Ago
      Paltry power. Bland style. High price. Way to miss every mark possible VW.
        Krishan Mistry
        • 3 Years Ago
        @DC Mike
        Easily tunable engine (makes 270hp Euro, detuned to run on US regular) Style for those older than 14 An interior for those who dont want 10 year old rental car vibes A fantastic 4WD that grips the road like a leech Slick manual gearbox Do I really need to go on?
        Phontsolo
        • 3 Years Ago
        @DC Mike
        You've never driven or owned an R32 have you? You have no idea what you are talking about.
          Compliance
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Phontsolo
          I've seen one show up at a track day and he was getting passed by everything. Some of those were pretty spiff rides, but it wasn't hanging with the S2ks or anyone else that day. Didn't seem like the driver's fault either.
      Scurvy
      • 3 Years Ago
      Nothing like sub WRX level performance for STi pricing... Even if you are a VW fanboi, why would you buy this over a nicely optioned A3. And for all the 'class leading interior' people, how much time do you really get to spend in that interior when the car will be at the dealer most of it's life having the electrical system worked on.
        th0mb0ne
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Scurvy
        I'd buy this because its AWD and manual. Sadly, you can't get that combo in the A3.
        Lachmund
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Scurvy
        yawn
        Justin Campanale
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Scurvy
        The GTI which has the same engine as this, only deturned, was named the second most reliable vehicle in the hot compact class.
      Maxximtl
      • 3 Years Ago
      I'm sorry, but VW needs to stop making corporate decisions that are based on VWVortex polls. This car can stay in Europe. We make much better $35k cars.
        Quen47
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Maxximtl
        Pretty sure the Jetta and Passat indicate that they don't pay too much attention to the VW Vortex crowd.
      Andrew
      • 3 Years Ago
      it'll take a g37 with 330 hp for a few grand more and doesnt look a losermobile thank u very much ^_^
      The Steve
      • 3 Years Ago
      I don't really think it's overpriced. The Golf is renowned for its build quality, quiet cabin, and ride/handling balance. The STI and Evo are known for none of this. I have an '06 STI and while it's a beast of a car, it's not a practical daily driver. This car should appeal to those who want a quick AWD hatchback that you won't tire of during your daily commute.
        Legione13
        • 3 Years Ago
        @The Steve
        The '04-'07 STi was deemed as pretty harsh, but the '08 STI is a much more civil machine (if the I-drive is set to "I" or "S", and "S#" is avoided like the plague). I owned an '08 STI as a commuter vehicle, and it was solid, comfortable, and performed just you'd expect. Point being, the current STI is probably closer to this new Golf R than your '06 STI.
          The Steve
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Legione13
          Good point. I've heard good things about the '08+ STI's. Switching over to the multi-link rear suspension was a good move.
        The Steve
        • 3 Years Ago
        @The Steve
        Almost forgot... those seats look awesome. They look like they might be based on the Recaro Sportster CS, which is a $1,200 seat.
          rsxvue
          • 3 Years Ago
          @The Steve
          You wish the USDM version will get those seats. They're secks but the US version will probably be watered down to meet crash standards.
      • 3 Years Ago
      [blocked]
        Phontsolo
        • 3 Years Ago
        Your comment is also stupid. You're reason we don't get hot hatches in the states.
      Design1stCode2nd
      • 3 Years Ago
      Why on earth would you buy this over a speed 3 or WRX for $8k less?
        Justin Campanale
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Design1stCode2nd
        The Golf R has many benefits It has better performance, almost up to Evo level, it has an interior comparable to an Audi, and the handling and overall feel are vastly superior to the WRX and MS3. Yes, it is priced high, but th prenium is completley worth it.
        MJC
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Design1stCode2nd
        Becuase it's not built like a tin can.
        Lachmund
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Design1stCode2nd
        looks and feels
        jcr847
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Design1stCode2nd
        I agree completely. This is essentially a WRX in a nicer package. It's not worth 8k, or nearly 33% more though.
        Jaylgo
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Design1stCode2nd
        People that will just lease the car, people that will get rid of the car after warranty expires. I haven't known a person yet that have kept their newer VW or Audi for longer than 3 years.
      bonamana
      • 3 Years Ago
      Golf? $34k? r u kidding?
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