Based on the new seventh-generation Golf, the range-topping R version is seen here lapping the track at the hands of 2013 World Rally Championship leader Sebastien Ogier, who gives an unsuspecting cleaner the ride of his life.
The new Golf R pushes small-car performance to a new level, courtesy of a new Audi-sourced 2.0-litre turbo-four that generates no less than 221kW (300hp) and some 380Nm.
Claimed 0-100km/h acceleration is a staggering 4.9 seconds when combined with the car’s optional dual-clutch DSG automatic transmission – down from 5.3 seconds for the manual and 5.7 seconds for the previous Golf 6 R.
Compared to the latest Golf GTI engine, the R powerplant gains a modified cylinder-head, exhaust valves, valve seats and springs, pistons, injection valves and turbocharger.
Unlike the front-wheel drive GTI, the Golf R drives through a fifth-generation Haldex all-wheel drive system and is stopped by ventilated brake discs measuring 340mm at the front and 310mm at the rear. Standard 18-inch alloy wheels are shod with 225/40 tyres and reveal black-painted brake calipers featuring ‘R’ logos.
The Golf R is also distinguished from its siblings by a new front bumper, revised radiator grille with 'R' logo, larger air intakes and daytime running lights integrated with the standard bi-xenon headlights. A distinctive rear end features smoked LED tail lights, an ‘R’ diffuser and four chrome-tipped exhaust pipes.
Inside, the sports seats are trimmed with a cloth centre section and Alcantara bolsters, while R-branded sports instrument dials boast blue needles.
The ride height is 20mm lower than the standard Golf's and 5mm lower than the GTi's and in Europe the car will be offered with optional Adaptive Chassis Control.