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Volkswagen launches two high-performance Golf R models and a special edition

The original hot hatch is hotter than ever.

2025 vw Golf R Black Edition.
Volkswagen launched the 2025 VW Golf R with two models sure to please hot hatch enthusiasts worldwide. The most powerful Golf versions ever, the Golf R and Golf R Variant, produce 328 horsepower, 14 hp more than the 2024 model. VW also introduced a new R-Performance option for both Golf R versions plus a special Golf R Black Edition.

Why Golf R models are important

2025 VW Golf R01.
Volkswagen invented the hot hatchback category with the 1976 VW Golf GTI. It’s hard to believe it’s been nearly 50 years. During those decades, Volkswagen introduced additional performance-focused hatchbacks, such as the GTI Autobahn and the Golf R.

Like most automakers, VW focuses most of its current development efforts on electrified vehicles, such as the ID.x EVs. We’re also looking forward to the VW GTI EV, but Volkswagen isn’t leaving money on the table from the many GTI and Golf R gas-powered performance hatchback fans.

What the 2025 Golf R and Golf R Variant offer

2025 VW Golf R 02 Variant.
The 2025 Golf R’s 328 hp engine with 310 lb-ft of torque is electronically limited to 155 mph, although opting for the R Performance package increases the limit to 168 mph. Golf Rs have a 7-speed dual-clutch DSG transmission and VW’s 4Motion all-wheel drive. Standard R-Performance Torque Vectoring distributes the power to individual rear wheels as needed for stability and control in cornering.

The Golf R models also include VW’s Digital Cockpit Pro, which features a 10.2-inch diagonal measure display and an added rev-counting Sport Skin. You can also use ChatGPT with the integrated voice assistant IDA to get answers to questions. The new Golf R Variant model adds more cargo space, increasing from 35 cubic feet to 58 cubic feet of available cargo space when the rear seats are folded.

The R-Performance package does more than raise the top speed to 168 mph. The option bundle also includes a larger roof spoiler for added downforce.  The package also adds a GPS lap time and a G-meter to the Digital Cockpit Pro and two driving modes most drivers won’t use of-track: Drift and Special. The special mode configures the car to drive the Nürburgring Nordschleife.

The Golf R Black Edition includes the R-Performance package and has an ominous dark appearance with dark VW badges and R logos, black R brake calipers, black 19-inch Estoril wheels, and four black tailpipe rims. Darkened IQ.Light LED matrix headlights are also included.

The 2025 Golf R and R Variant will be available in Germany first, with preordering starting July 3. The starting prices are $57,683 for the Golf R, $59,045 for the Golf R Variant, and $62,663 for the Golf R Black Edition. No date or prices are available at this time for U.S. availability.
2025 Golf R interior.

Bruce Brown
Digital Trends Contributing Editor Bruce Brown is a member of the Smart Homes and Cars teams. He also writes technology news…
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