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Volkswagen is launching a special Golf R 20th Anniversary Edition this year. Built to commemorate the 2002 debut of the Golf R32, only 1,800 of these cars will be produced for the U.S. market. While the 20th Anniversary model won’t mark the return of the legendary VR6 engine, it will feature a lot of cool touches that celebrate the history of VW’s high-performance hot hatch.  

Golf R 20th Anniversary Edition Highlights

A blue Volkswagen Golf R 20th Anniversary Edition parked indoors in front of large windows.
Volkswagen Golf R 20th Anniversary Edition | Volkswagen of America, Inc. Newspress Limited

Starting with the standard Golf R, the 20th Anniversary Edition adds gloss black 19-inch Estoril wheels fitted with Hankook Ventus S1 Evo 3 rubber. Inside, genuine carbon-fiber trim accents the cabin decked out in leather with blue trim and unique R badging. A special flat-bottomed steering wheel and key fob also highlight this special edition, as do a choice of three paint colors: Lapiz Blue Metallic, Deep Black Pearl, and Pure White.

The 20th Anniversary Edition also uses the standard Golf R’s chassis, adaptive suspension, and VW’s torque-vectoring all-wheel drive system. It retains the  315-hp turbocharged four-cylinder and seven-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox. A six-speed manual transmission is also available and is an option exclusively for North America. Surprisingly 40% of Golf Rs sold in the U.S. are equipped with manual transmissions. The addition of the six-speed manual on the Anniversary Edition model is a nod to those enthusiasts who still prefer to row their gears.

A sunroof is one thing you won’t see on the Golf R 20th Anniversary Edition. Volkswagen deleted it to shed a few pounds off the standard Golf R’s 3,400 lb. curb weight. Look for the car to go on sale this fall with a base price of $44,940 for the manual transmission or $45,740 for the dual-clutch transmission.    

Specs & Performance of this hot hatch

According to Car & Driver, the 2022 Volkswagen Golf R 20th Anniversary Edition shares the same specs and performance as the standard Golf R:  


  • Wheelbase: 103.5 in
  • Length: 168.9 in
  • Width: 70.4 in
  • Height: 57.7 in
  • Weight: 3,360 lbs

Engine/Drivetrain Specs: 

  • 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder
  • Horsepower: 315 hp
  • Torque: 310 lb-feet
  • Transmission: 7-speed dual-clutch automatic or six-speed manual 

Performance Specs: 

  • 60 mph: 3.9 sec
  • 1/4-Mile: 12.5 sec
  • Fuel Economy: 23 – 30 mpg

What Makes the Golf R 20th Anniversary Edition Special?   

The hot hatch phenomenon traces its roots back to the original Volkswagen Golf GTI from 1976. Offering impressive real-world performance, it was a genuinely fast, fun, practical car. The Golf R32 took this concept a step further in 2002 by adding higher-performance engines and all-wheel drive. 

The new Golf R 20th Anniversary Edition debuts in a landscape vastly different from the one 20 years ago. Gone are natural rivals like the Subaru WRX STI, Ford Focus RS, and Hyundai Veloster N. Only the Toyota GR Corolla and Honda Civic Type R remain. But if the remaining cars constitute the survival of the fittest, then the rare VW Golf R 20th Anniversary is in rare but good company.  


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