Sedans & Coupes

The 2022 VW Golf R Has Evolved Into Its Highest Form

Hot hatches are the coolest. Full-stop. They hit all the major food groups; fast, efficient, practical, and good looking. In almost every other segment in the automotive industry, you end up sacrificing something to get something else. The hot hatch group, in general, doesn’t really feel that way. So, we agree; hot hatches are the coolest. Of all the hot hatches, the VW Golf is clearly in the running to be one of the all-time coolest of them. Of the Golfs, the 2022 VW Golf R is undoubtedly the King

What’s new for the 2022 VW Golf R?

As noted by Car and Driver, what was once called the R Golf has been ripping around the states since 2004. It had a 3.2-liter V6. After VW made the switch to the 2.0-liter inline-four, the name changed to the Golf R. What is now the eighth generation of the Golf is going to get its very own R. Even though our European friends will have the Golf R available to them soon (as well as all the other versions) we have to wait till late next year to see them stateside. 

Although the VW Golf R still has the same old 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, it now makes 315 hp and 310 lb-ft of torque. VW has juiced the little engine up pretty good. The old one only made 288 hp and 280 lb-ft of torque. 

2022 VW Golf R
2022 VW Golf R | Volkswagen Group

Car and Driver reports that we can expect to see the 0-60 mph times in the low- to mid-four-second mark with the dual-clutch automatic transmission. Although the automatic version will be quicker, real Golf heads won’t consider the automatic when the six-speed manual is coming back. Sadly, for our friends in other parts of the world, the manual is only here in the states. The tester reports that although there’s more power than the old one, the power delivery isn’t explosive or hard to manage. When you put your foot in it, the power is long and consistent across the rev range. 

The 2022 VW Golf R is proving its supremacy 

Even though the new super Golf has a hopped-up motor, in normal mode, it tries to save fuel by early shifting (if you have the automatic). You can put it in Race mode, and the transmission shows a different side of itself full of high revs and downshifts on hard braking. The Golf R keeps the same diaphragm to amplify the engine sound in the cabin. You even get a delightful crackle from the exhaust if you pull off the throttle. Of course, if you aren’t trying to hear all that, it can be toned down for a quieter ride. 

As the Golf has long been known to do, the chassis is tuned to perfection. According to Car and Driver, the steering is crisp and precise. The tester used by C&D was the German spec performance package, which featured two extra driving modes.

2022 VW Golf R
2022 VW Golf R | Volkswagen Group

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Special mode was made specifically to help the driver navigate the complexities of the Nürburgring. This sharpens the throttle and gear shifts but softens the suspension a tad. 

Of course, no hot hatch would be complete without Drift mode. This allows the AWD system to loosen up enough to permit some tire-burning oversteer. If you so choose, you can turn off the stability control altogether. 

The hot hatch remains the most practical/fun thing on four-wheels

The 2022 Golf R will only come with four doors. Car and Driver say, “There is ample room for passengers in the front and the rear, and the cargo area is SUV-like. Not only is it sporty and have plenty of leg and storage room, but the interior has also been seen to. 

The new Golf’s interior has been dressed up a bit. The Golf R further establishes its dominance over the other sub-par Golfs with a futuristic and well-equipped interior. The tester only got to drive the dual-clutch version, but we hope the manuals’ pedal placement is better than the previous GTIs. The Tester notes that the old Golf’s pedals were set up in such a way that made heel-toe nearly impossible. 

The Golf R remains a powerhouse in the hot hatch world. It still competes with the Subaru WRX STI and the Civic Type R but seems less showy and loud. It is practical and rowdy, and that is what makes it special.