Volkswagen has been making R-badged Golfs for longer than you might think. In fact, what you're looking at here is the fourth such model. But while previous generations have moved the power game incrementally forward, this latest version moves it on by leaps and bounds.
Set to debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show, now just weeks away, the new Golf R packs a prodigious 296 horsepower. That's not just more than the 286 hp we expected or more than a proportionate increase over its predecessors: Compare that figure to the 237 hp in the first Golf R32, the 247 hp in the one that followed and the 261 hp in the outgoing Golf R, and you'll realize that the new output doesn't just represent a bigger leap than Volkswagen R GmbH has ever taken before, it's bigger than the entire progress of the line until now.
The power (and its accompanying 280 pound-feet of torque) is once again channeled to all four wheels through a Haldex system and either a six-speed manual or dual-clutch transmission, although it remains to be seen which will make the transatlantic voyage Stateside and when. The suspension is dropped by 0.78 inches compared to the Mk7 Golf upon which it's based (0.2 inches lower than the GTI), the aero kit looks similar to the R-line package we've seen before, dual exhaust pipes protrude from the diffuser in the back and buyers can opt for 18- or 19-inch wheels.
Volkswagen hasn't let us inside just yet, having revealed just two exterior shots and a pair of design renderings. However, VW specifies textile seats with Alcantara bolsters and optional Nappa leather, replete with carbon trim and R logos abounding. Scope out the full press release below and watch this space for more as Frankfurt approaches as quickly as a 300-horsepower hot hatch in your rearview.
Volkswagen reveals new 296-hp Golf R - Autoblog