Volkswagen New Zealand’s highly anticipated 2022 performance R Range – that’s R for Racing – has landed and the new Golf R is hot on the tail of last month’s Tiguan R release.

“Golf R represents new technology – ignited by driving passion,” says Greg Leet, General Manager of Volkswagen Passenger Vehicles.

“The new Golf R is Volkswagen’s most powerful iteration yet, and it will be the most powerful model on our passenger fleet until the new Touareg R plug-in hybrid arrives later in the year. It represents the absolute gold standard of technology within its class, and we’re excited to see it here in NZ.”

Leet says the R badge – proudly worn by the iconic Volkswagen Golf R for 20 years and now in its fifth generation – is much more than a badge.

“After just one trip behind the wheel of the Golf R, you’ll understand it was made by people who care about the driving experience.”

The Golf R delivers extensive ride and handling upgrades alongside its 2.0L TSI petrol engine. Boasting 235kW of power, 400Nm of torque and a 7-speed DSG with a launch control drivetrain – all contributing to a 0-100km/h acceleration in less than five seconds.

But what helps set it apart is its all-new drive system – 4MOTION with R-Performance Torque Vectoring. VW New Zealand says this technology ensures power is brought to the road as effectively as possible. It delivers an extensive ride and handling upgrade, distributing drive not just between the front and rear axles, but also variably between the two rear wheels. This enables a new dimension of agility and sportiness with maximum grip and stability, particularly when cornering.

Twenty years of the Golf R also deserves its exclusive features and Volkswagen’s delivered this courtesy of the 1st Edition.

The Golf R 1st Edition has additional special driving modes: ‘Drift’ and ‘Special – Nürburgring’. The ‘Drift’ profile distributes 100% of the rear torque to one wheel for optimal cornering away from public roads. This feature opens a new level of driving dynamics and further exploits the potential of Torque Vectoring by provoking oversteer instead of neutral vehicle handling. The ‘Special – Nürburgring’ mode is optimised for track duty,  featuring softer suspension settings to help keep the tyres in contact with the tarmac.

“With this technology improvement, the 1st Edition is ready to open the next chapter of the R’s success story with a truly cohesive driving thrill,” says Leet.

“The 1st Edition – including a panoramic sunroof and Harman Kardon premium sound system- is also responsible for 80% of Golf R’s pre-sales activity.”

VW New Zealand says the fifth-generation R is even more imposing on the road than its predecessors. A lowered stance, super-sized front intake, R exclusive brake callipers, and body-coloured side sills afford it a powerfully stylish presence. The trademark Lapiz blue colour option adds the sizzle.

The interior features further R exclusives like a leather-wrapped, multifunction sports steering wheel providing responsive feedback and precision control, and Nappa leather front sport-seats (power-adjustable with memory function) with both heating and ventilation.

Competitively priced and backed by Volkswagen’s five-year/150,000-kilometre warranty, the all-new Golf R and Golf R 1st Edition also include five years of roadside assistance.

  • Golf R: From $77,990
  • Golf R 1st Edition: From $82,990

DriveLife will be attending the New Zealand launch of this car in a few weeks.

More information can be found on the Volkswagen New Zealand website.

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How on earth to start this? I've been car/bike/truck crazy since I was a teen. Like John, I had the obligatory Countach poster on the wall. I guess I'm more officially into classic and muscle cars than anything else - I currently have a '65 Sunbeam Tiger that left the factory the same day as I left the hospital as a newborn with my mother. How could I not buy that car? In 2016 my wife and I drove across the USA in a brand-new Dodge Challenger, and then shipped it home. You can read more on We did this again in 2019 in a 1990 Chev Corvette - you can read about that trip on DriveLife. I'm a driving instructor and an Observer for the Institute of Advanced Motorists - trying to do my bit to make our roads safer.


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