Volkswagen Golf R: Up Close

By Joe Bruzek  on January 15, 2014

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Volkswagen teased us at the 2014 North American International Auto Show in Detroit with its new 290-horsepower Volkswagen Golf R in two-door form.

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We'll definitely see the new Golf R in the U.S., but this time around it will only be available with four doors. The previous Golf R gave U.S. buyers the choice of four or two doors, and customers overseas will still get that option with the new version. Volkswagen told us that the two-door Golf R was shown in Detroit because it was the same model originally introduced at the 2013 Frankfurt Motor Show.

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The new Golf R, like the previous generation, shows off its performance pedigree on the outside with a slightly more aggressive exterior package. The Golf R's bumpers, side skirt and rear diffuser are R specific, and a quad-tipped exhaust exits the rear.

It's actually a subtle package for Volkswagen's most powerful production Golf ever, which is capable of zero to 60 mph in 4.9 seconds with a dual-clutch automatic transmission option and all-wheel drive. Owners will have fun surprising unsuspecting sports cars in their Golf.

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The modest aesthetic package is mirrored on the inside. The most significant differentiation is the leather-covered sport seats with Nappa leather inserts in the center. The Golf's high-quality interior with soft-touch materials is highlighted in the Golf R with the front seats' supportive side bolsters and soft cushioning that doesn't poke your ribs like other sport seats commonly do.

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Carbon Touch trim panels are found on the dashboard and doors, but it isn't the most convincing carbon-fiber look.

The regular Golf and GTI four-door variants we've seen give the compact car an elongated, more proportional look, while the two-door has a stubbier appearance. The Golf R sits even lower than the GTI — by 0.2 inches — and should look lower and longer with four doors.

2015 Volkswagen Golf R Photo Gallery

More on the 2015 Volkswagen Golf R


Road Test Editor Joe Bruzek covers Cars.com’s short-and long-term fleet of test cars and drives a 1998 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am.  Email Joe


Volkswagen Volkswagen Golf 2014 Detroit Auto Show