By on August 7, 2019

It’s tumultuous times for fans of the long-running Golf nameplate. As Volkswagen slowly births an eight generation of the popular compact (an official European debut is scheduled for this fall), Golf devotees in North America find themselves having to say goodbye to a number of variants.

The Golf SportWagen and Alltrack? They’re gone after the current model year. There’s a strong possibility that the plain-Jane Golf itself will fade from view in the near future, leaving only the sportier versions to tempt hatchback buyers of greater means.

Speaking of sporty Golfs, the hottest of VW’s compact hatches will also stage a disappearance for 2020.

Unlike the Sportwagen and Alltrack, however, this vanishing act might have a happy resolution. With production coming to an end on various seventh-gen Golfs, the top-flight Golf R will take a powder for the 2020 model year, leaving American Golf buyers with a significantly slimmed-down lineup from which to choose.

According to Volkswagen of America, the only Golfs on offer for the coming model year are the e-Golf, available in SE and SEL Premium trims, a singular Golf Value Edition  that lumps certain niceties (leatherette, sunroof, Wi-Fi, etc) into a carefully tailored package, and the hot-hatch GTI. Buyers of the GTI can expect additional standard safety equipment (blind spot monitoring, front brake assist, rear traffic alert) on their S and SE trims, the only trims available for 2020.

Image: VW

As you can see, the Golf R has all the presence of Jimmy Hoffa in this lineup. A spokesperson for the automaker confirmed to Motor Authority that production has ceased on the current R, but wouldn’t offer an assurance that the model will return when eighth-gen Golfs appear on these shores. If it doesn’t, it doesn’t seem like there’d be much in the way of Golfs to choose from.

Indeed, sales figures show the regular Golf in a downward plunge, with more stable figures for the better-selling GTI and low-volume-but-high-margin Golf R. Surely, VW isn’t about to let a hot hatch die. At last report, earlier this year, the automaker said it was considering “other Golf models” for the North American region — referring specifically to models other than the regular, unboosted Golf.

With 288 horsepower and 280 lb-ft on tap from its turbo 2.0-liter, the Golf R is viewed as the elder statesman of Hot Hatchland, though the model faces growing competition from the likes of Honda and Hyundai.

[Images: Volkswagen of America]

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9 Comments on “There’s Yet Another Volkswagen Golf You Can’t Get Your Hands on in 2020...”


  • avatar
    tomLU86

    That’s great news for those of us who like Golfs with manual trans, or even lower-priced GTIs, but for whatever reason can’t get a new one.

    Now we don’t have to worry.

    In 2020, I’m sure it’s a logical business decision. But German companies have often not sent us their more modestly version of cars (Mercedes for decades) better or best cars (VW waited 7 years to give us a depowered GTI, BMWs 2nd gen M3 had 90 hp less in America), or perhaps to mock our collective ignorance, cars they would never sell in Germany or Europe (BMW 528e and 325e)

    • 0 avatar
      Superdessucke

      The R will come here in 2021. GTIs from the start. Just more propaganda to make it look like lower margin passenger cars are dead to get more people into higher profit mainstream products. Yawn. Next please (should be later today).

    • 0 avatar
      ToddAtlasF1

      The 528e was called the 525e in Europe, where it was the best-selling of all the E28 variants. The 325e wasn’t offered in Europe, but far worse cars like the 315 were, which was an E21 with a single carburetor on a 75 hp 1.6 liter four cylinder made into 1984. Ignorance is a matter of perspective.

      • 0 avatar
        ThomasSchiffer

        The 315 was also marketed as a ‘gas saver’ special model and aimed specifically at drivers who wanted a sporty (well-handling) compact BMW which delivered the most kilometers per liter. In short, a purist BMW driver would have skipped it and gone for a more powerful engine, of which there were quite a few choices.

        In fact the 315 was not very popular and was only around for a very short time; produced from March of 1981 to December of 1983. The 318i, which had been around since 1979, offered more power and roughly the same fuel economy, if not better.

        • 0 avatar
          ToddAtlasF1

          The dealer in Hilversum still had a couple of new E21 315s on the lot when I lived there in 1984. Its place was then taken by the slightly better equipped 316 E30. In the US, we started getting 318i E21s in 1980, but BMW kept putting 320i badges on them.

          The 323i never came to the US, probably because the eta engine was better suited to automatic transmission use. We did get the E30 M20 325i from the ’87 model year. We also had more 533i and 535i E28s than Europeans ever saw on their roads, but the FOMO crowd worry about cars that would have had yuppies running from US dealers when they saw the cheap interiors, noticed the missing features, and smelled their dirty exhausts.

          • 0 avatar
            ThomasSchiffer

            Most of the 3er range in those days weren‘t big on power as we would see it today. They were, however, rather light, so from an acceleration perspective they would have been fine. This was true for many sporty cars from this time.

            But I have no experience with BMWs from this era, even though I am from Munich.

        • 0 avatar
          tomLU86

          I remember the 315 from the late 70s, carbureted, TWO headlamp 3-series. It was the most inexpensive BMW.

          So, if I was 22 in the late 70s, and had the money, I would consider, and probably buy a 315 (or was it 316? no matter..) if that was the most I could afford.

          A 318i was a lot better, but it was pricier.

          However, if was 30 or 35 in when the 528e or 325e, and money was no object, and I liked BMWs, I would never buy a BMW with an six-cylinder engine that had a red line of 4750 rpm. I just think that is wrong, to have a reputation as a drivers car, and to build a car with an engine more suited to a Ford Maverick or Fairmont (obviously, BMW’s engine design was much more effective and elegant than Ford’s anemic 200 six).

          Showing my ignorance, I did not know BMW sold 5-series E cars in Europe. I never spotted any in two visits to Germany, or in three visits to Greece in the 80s and 90s.

  • avatar
    Urlik

    No surprise for those in the know. The Mk7 Golf Rs were built in Germany and that assembly line has just retooled to build Mk8s. All other Golfs for North America were made in Mexico and that line is not retooling this year so one more year of Mk7s. VW often makes the US wait a year or two for model upgrades done in Europe.

  • avatar
    Garrett

    I considered a Golf R, but couldn’t justify the price for what I was getting.

    I would have been perfectly content picking up a GTI and paying a bit extra if AWD was available.

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