2022 Volkswagen Golf R - Hail the Halo Car

Tim Healey
by Tim Healey
2022 volkswagen golf r hail the halo car

Volkswagen’s Golf R has always sat among the top of the hot-hatch class, along with the Subaru WRX STI and Honda Civic Type R.

And it’s re-done for 2022.

The big news here is an increase of nearly 30 horsepower – 27 to be precise – to 315. Torque from the 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder with variable valve timing jumps 30 lb-ft from 280 to 310. The all-wheel-drive system adds torque vectoring, and the brakes are larger. Volkswagen is claiming a 0-62 mph time of 4.7 seconds and a top speed of 155 mph.

Not only does the AWD system add torque vectoring, but a computer system called Vehicle Dynamics Manager allows it to “talk” to the adaptive damping system and the electronic differential locks.

Speaking of differentials, the rear differential distributes power from between the front and rear axles, as well as between the two rear wheels.

Outside, the front bumper is new with a splitter and air-intake grilles that are specific to the R model. These have gloss black trim. A LED light bar that actually lights up when the engine fires crosses the top of the grille.

All Golfs are five-doors now, and the R is no exception. A sunroof is now standard on American models (bout time at this price point), and the wheels are 19-inchers that wear summer tires. Side skirts adorn the car, along with matte chrome side-view mirror finishes that project the car’s R logo when the door is opened or closed. The car gets blue brake calipers with the R logo painted on, and the R is dropped 0.8 inches compared to other Golf models.

A gloss-black rear diffuser is part of the rear bumper, and there’s a roof spoiler. Lapiz Blue Metallic remains the “signature” color for Golf Rs, but white and black will be available.

Inside the car are a 10-inch infotainment screen and digital gauges, including R-specific gauge layouts (including a lap timer and other performance-related metrics) and a horizontal rev counter. There are shift-indicator lights for the DSG transmission.

Buyers get leather seats, a heated steering wheel, interior ambient lighting, R-specific trim, and haptic-touch controls on the steering wheel.

Manual fans, don’t fret at the mention of a DSG – that seven-speed gearbox is an option, and a six-speed manual is standard. That fancy all-wheel-drive system has another trick up its sleeve we haven’t mentioned yet – it can use torque vectoring to put up to 100 percent of the torque to the wheel on the outside of a corner, helping to reduce understeer and reduce cornering radius.

There’s variable-ratio steering and several drive modes including Comfort, Sport, Race, and Individual). An R button on the steering wheel lets the driver access the best mode for their mood.

Upfront sits a strut-type suspension, and out rear, a multi-link setup. Spring and anti-roll bar rates are increased by 10 percent. A new aluminum suspension subframe helps the car shed 6.6 pounds, negative camber on the front axle is increased, and other rear suspension bits have been tweaked.

The Vehicle Dynamics Manager can use targeted braking to reduce understeer and set up handling to be slightly rear-biased. It has all sorts of tricks up its sleeve, so to speak, to reduce understeer and oversteer.

As is often the case with sports cars these days, the Golf R got put through its paces on the Nordschleife at the Nürburgring. A Special driving mode sets the car up with the settings used for the drive around the Ring (including softer damping than Race to account for undulations), while a Drift mode – meant for non-public roads, natch – allows the driver, to, well, drift.

Drivers can turn the electronic stability control to either butt in less often, or butt out completely, unless Front Assist activates it in a true emergency.

The brakes are now 14.1 inches in diameter and 1.3 inches wide, compared to 13.4 and 1.2 before. The pistons in the two-piston front calipers are aluminum to reduce mass.

If the next Golf R gets your hot-hatch blood flowing, hang in there, Sparky. The car won’t be on sale until late 2021 as a 2022 model.

[Images: Volkswagen]

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2 of 23 comments
  • Inside Looking Out Inside Looking Out on Nov 04, 2020

    It looks like Kingdom of Darkness. Everything is dark and gloomy - exterior, interior, wheels, spirit, vibes. I am scared to death even to approach this car. The kingdom of darkness has Satan as its ruler. You know his name. Amen.

  • Monkeydelmagico Monkeydelmagico on Nov 05, 2020

    Really want to like this car. Current gen is O.K. but doesn't really get my adrenaline flowing when driving it. Make the new one more neutral and keep the asking price the same might change my mind.

  • Jeff S The question is how long will Ford offer the Mustang as a pony car? Dodge is sun setting the Challenger at the end of this year and it is doubtful if the Challenger will come back as an EV. Rumors are the Camaro name will be used on an EV and that will mostly likely be a crossover. There is not enough market for a Detroit muscle or pony car. It is sad to see not only the last of the cars like the Camaro and Challenger go but to see most cars go. Soon this site will have to change its name to The Truth About Trucks (TTAT).
  • Oberkanone Does GM build anything to compete with this? Does GM build any competent hybrids?
  • Dukeisduke So, it'll be invisible, just like all other Gen 6 Camaros?
  • Alterboy21 The gov't has already mandated control of your vehicle. 10 years ago they required cars to have ABS and traction control.I am not sure I agree that automatic breaking is ready for primetime, but taking control of a cars driving behavior is not new ground for the NHTSA. 
  • Parkave231 Collector's Edition hood ornament or GTFO.