[UPDATE: Volkswagen SA says we can expect the new Golf 8 R to hit the local market in either the final quarter of 2021 or the first quarter of 2022...]

The new Volkswagen Golf 8 R has finally been unwrapped, positioned as the most powerful Golf model yet and gaining a fresh “drift” mode.

The halo Golf offers 235 kW and 420 N.m (the latter from 2 100 to 5 350 r/min) from its familiar EA888 turbocharged 2,0-litre, four-cylinder petrol engine, delivered to all four wheels via either a six-speed manual (highly unlikely for South Africa, of course) or a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. According to the Wolfsburg-based firm, that’s enough for a sprint from zero to 100 km/h in 4,7 seconds, with a top speed of 250 km/h.

Interestingly, the peak power output matches that of the engine in the Tiguan R and Arteon R, and is a seven-unit improvement over the SA-spec version of the outgoing Golf 7 R (with an extra 20 N.m, too). However, VW's figures suggest the new model is a tenth slower to the three-figure mark.

VW says the latest Golf R has gained a “newly developed” torque-vectoring 4Motion all-wheel-drive system featuring selective wheel torque control on the rear axle. Thus, the new rear differential distributes power between the front and rear axles, and also between the two rear wheels.

The all-paw system is furthermore “networked” via a vehicle dynamics manager with other running gear systems such the electronic differential locks and the adaptive damping system. The result, according to Volkswagen, is “optimal traction, neutral handling with the utmost level of precision, and maximum agility and driving pleasure”.

In terms of exterior styling, the new Golf R features a model-specific front bumper with a “motorsport-style” splitter and air intake grilles, as well as gloss-black elements. There are also 19-inch alloy wheels, chunky side skirts, matte-chrome side-mirror caps and blue brake callipers.

Round back, the rear bumper incorporates a gloss-black diffuser framed by the chrome-plated twin tailpipes of the sport exhaust system. A roof spoiler ensuring the “necessary level of downforce” is also included.

Inside, we can expect the new Golf R to ship with the 10-inch Discover Pro infotainment system and VW's digital cockpit. The front sport seats are trimmed in Nappa leather and feature “carbon-look” elements with blue accents in the side sections, as well as a blue R logo in the backrest. The multifunction leather-wrapped sports steering wheel likewise gains a model-specific design, along with blue contrast stitching and an “R” button for direct selection of the driving profiles.

Speaking of driving propfiles, the new Golf R gains fresh “Special” and “Drift” modes in addition to the usual Comfort, Sport, Race and Individual settings. In Special mode, VW says all of the main drive system parameters are “configured” for the Nürburgring Nordschleife, resulting in a 17-second quicker time for the DSG model in “internal tests”.

In Drift mode, which the German firm points out is “meant for track use only”, the parameters for the electronic stability control and the distribution of power via the all-wheel-drive system enable the Golf R to, well, drift.

Original article from Car