By on January 9, 2014
The U.S. version of the 2015 Golf R will be a five door, unlike the three door Euro spec model.

The U.S. version of the 2015 Golf R will be a five door, unlike the three door Euro spec model.

Volkswagen of America confirmed that the U.S. spec 2015 Golf R will debut at the Detroit auto show next week. While at 290 horsepower, it’s down 6 HP from the Euro spec Golf R shown at the Frankfurt Motor Show last September but that still will be enough power driving through all four wheels to tick off 5.3 seconds in a zero to sixty run with a six speed fully manual transmission and an even quicker 4.9 seconds in the DSG dual clutch equipped R. That’s correct, U.S. consumers will finally have a choice of gearboxes in the R. Starting with the 2004 R32, VW has only offered either the six speed manual or the DSG transmission on American versions of the Golf R.

The U.S. Golf R will only be available as a five door hatchback and will go on sale in the first quarter of 2015. No official EPA rating is yet available but VW says that the car will show an improvement of 4 MPG (highway) over the 2013 Golf R’s 27. All 280 lb-ft of torque is available from 1,800 to 5,500 RPM.

In addition to more boost than in the GTI, the 2015 Golf R has significantly quicker steering, 2.1 turns lock to lock versus 2.75 on the lower powered Golfs, along with progressive variable ratio steering. The Golf R sits on an upgraded suspension that’s 0.2 inches lower than the GTI and 0.8 inches lower than the standard Golf. The U.S. Golf R also comes with 18-inch wheels, a more aggressive body kit, and bi-xenon headlights with LED daytime running lights. Out back there is a four-tip exhaust. Stability control can be deactivated for track use. The brakes are also upgraded with 13.4-inch rotors and 2.4-inch brake pistons in the front along with 12.2-inch rotors in the rear with 1.7-inch pistons.

There are four driver selectable modes: comfort, normal, individual and race that adjust shock absorber damping, shift points and engine throttle mapping.

The interior gets upgrades as well, with nappa leather trimmed sport seats, “carbon touch” dashboard inlays, a three-spoke steering wheel and a gauge cluster unique to the Golf R..

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31 Comments on “VW Will Debut U.S. Spec 2015 Golf R at Detroit Show...”

  • avatar

    Great, but when are they going to debut a volume car? The Golf R is a nice car, but it is expensive and will sell in very small quantities. Kind of like the current North American VW lineup.

    • 0 avatar

      I believe the Golf (like the Golf GTI) is roughly six months away from arriving in North America. But a Golf R will generate more buzz at NAIAS, so I expect that’s why it’s being debuted there rather than the more pedestrian Golf.

  • avatar

    Just so we’re clear on this:
    the VW version of the S3 (this car) has a choice of manual or DSG transmission.
    the Audi version only comes with the DSG.

    What happened to the idea of a ‘bespoke’ premium vehicle?

    • 0 avatar

      Audi, sadly, is in the process of eliminating the manual transmission across their lineup. At this point the only options from Audi are the R8, A4 and S4.

      My expectation is that the B9 A4 will drop the manual for North America altogether (the S4, ironically, dropped the manual for Europe but we got to keep it!) and the next generation R8 will probably do the same if recent comments from Audi execs hold true.

      The lack of a manual transmission in the A3/S3 is a real buzzkill for what otherwise would be my first choice for next car.

  • avatar

    On paper this looks like the best R yet. We’ll have to wait for the drive reviews of the US-spec car when it arrives. In addition to the dilemma of the take-it-or-leave-it transmission (2004 R32 was manual only, 2008 R32 was DSG only, 2012 Golf R was manual only), the common and valid complaint is that the R has been down on power compared to its competition (WRX, Evo). Finally approaching the 300 HP mark, the Golf R should offer a realistic alternative to the Japanese AWD speedsters.

  • avatar

    That’s likely 296 hp DIN vs 290 hp SAE, basically the same actual output.

    • 0 avatar

      I’ll bet you’re right. The Mk6 Golf R was rated at 270 hp in Europe, but only 256 in North America. However, APR claimed that they could find no difference in the stock power output between the two versions.

      I’d like to better understand what accounts for the rating difference.

  • avatar

    Ignorant questions here, but are they still cranking up the boost on the 2.0t to achieve these crazy new numbers? Or the new 1.8t? Even in its best Audi guise, the 2.0t sounds tinny and cheap to me…at least compared with a VR6.

    We’ve had 5 or 6 Golf/Jetta models in my extended family over the past 30 years (2 currently: a 2004 R32 and a 2003 GTI) and it’s no doubt why they’re among the top 3 best-selling cars of all time. The choice of 5-door in the US also makes me happy — IMO, much like the Honda Civic, the modern 2-door versions always looked a little unfinished and awkward to me.

    Long story short, I think this should pose a nice alternative to the WRX shoppers, and finally a little more directly competitive with Subie.

    • 0 avatar

      The VR6 in the R32 was one of the great sounding sixes of all time. Based on the early promo video, this four cylinder doesn’t hold a candle to it musically.

      But I agree that, for the first time, this should finally be a direct competitor to the STI. It looks a lot better to me, and the performance gap should be pretty small, given that it looks like the Golf R will weigh less.

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    All of that power and speed in such a small, yet practical package. You could have a lot of fun with that…

    • 0 avatar

      My brother does… he tracks his Golf R. AWD with an ECU tune, plus 18″ Oz wheels makes for a very quick car. He claims the brakes are better then his C5 ‘Vette. For awhile mhe had an Golf 337 and that thing had amazing brakes as well. His current Golf R is a five door with the 6 speed.

      • 0 avatar

        There’s something about the way VW does brakes.
        I had a ’68 Bug, with shoe brakes all around no less, and that thing could stop quickly and repeatedly with no problems (like fade) whatsoever. (But I didn’t “track it” either.)


  • avatar

    Lemme know if they do the lease deal that makes it cheaper than the GTI again, and I’ll forgive them the lack of the VR6 soundtrack.

    • 0 avatar

      I had an MKV R32 and the buy was cheaper than the 4 door GTI. So many discounts because no one wanted them. I think there was $7000 on the hood of a $33000 car.

      • 0 avatar

        My wife got her Mk V R32 for $28,500 — not quite as good as the $7k discount that you mention, but we felt it was quite a deal. I agree, at the time it was cheaper than the Autobahn package GTI with DSG.

        We loved that car, but a chronic Check Engine Light (with four N-80 evaporative valve replacements, a new gas tank, and more emissions hardware that came with all the national recall of all US R32s) caused her to dump it for a 328i in frustration. Big mistake — within six weeks she was back in a 2010 GTI, which we still have and enjoy today. No major problems with this current one in the past four years.

        Yeah, I know — Volkswagens…

        • 0 avatar

          I bought a demo that had a few thousand miles on it, so that was part of the discount. I got the check engine light often as well. My wife and I moved from Detroit to Arizona and the R32 decided to get vaporlocked all the time in the desert. Once we bought a GTI, the VW dealer would call me every few weeks to sell them the R32. They eventually made an offer I liked, and gave me a good deal on a GLI.

        • 0 avatar

          Really worth to get a VAGCOM cable whenever you buy a VW/Audi.

  • avatar

    This is Vee-Dub’s Evo X MR fighter…I am guessing the buy-in is @ $40k.

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