IS THE 2017 Volkswagen Golf R, due to arrive in Australia in less than two weeks' time, about to gain a performance pack?
Prospective European Golf R buyers are waking up this morning to news that the German premium car maker has launched a performance pack for the hi-po hatch and wagon, tapping its motorsport experience to equip the 213kW, all-wheel-drive R with an Akrapovic titanium sports exhaust system, beefier disc brakes offering even more stability, and semi-slick tyres optimised for track days.
The exhaust system alone sheds seven kilograms from the R’s circa-1400kg heft, and provides “completely new acoustics, which extend, depending on driving mode, all the way to that of motorsport”, VW said.
“Especially at high revs and when shifting gears, a sound is generated that is typical of Akrapovič systems – tight, finely tuned and yet not too loud.”
The expanded stoppers, meanwhile, shed another two kilograms in unsprung weight by incorporating aluminium pots, race-spec front pads and a floating disc.
“Even on the racetrack the system is extremely stable,” VW said. “The front brake discs are what are known as 'built pin discs'. In this construction, the brake pot is made of aluminium, while the friction ring (the classic 'disc') is cast steel and is joined to this aluminium brake pot by cast pins. This allows it to expand radially when heated.”
According to Volkswagen, another benefit of the performance-honed braking system is “its very precise metering”. The beefier calipers will stand out from the standard red ones via a silver “R” insignia stamped on them.
The performance pack was offered on the previous generation 7.0 of the Golf, with VW Australia keen to see if it will be a part of the heavily revised generation 7.5 Golf R due on sale in mid-August.
Also up for consideration is the Oettinger kit offered on the previous-generation Golf GTI and R range that added performance parts and more visual bling to the range.
The Oettinger aero kits for both the Golf GTI and R comprised splitter and spoiler up front, side skirts for the flanks, and a motorsport-inspired diffuser lower bumper with quad exhaust system – doubling the number of pipes traditionally seen on the GTI.
Volkswagen’s Golf GTI has traditionally accounted for about one in four sales for the small hatch and wagon range. VW hopes to capitalise on this strength by expanding its Golf-based performance range to appeal to a wider range of buyers.
Limited-edition Wolfsburg-badged versions of the Golf R hatch and wagon – about 300 in total – start to arrive from September, while from January, the R wagon will become a permanent member of VW’s showroom for the first time.
As well, a Golf GTE with up to 50km of all-electric range – expected to be marketed as a clean and green performance alternative to the GTI – will join the Australian range in 2018. More details on its timing are expected to emerge from September’s Frankfurt motor show.
The 169kW/350Nm Golf GTI will be priced from $41,490 for the six-speed manual version, with a six-speed dual-clutch gearbox adding $2500. A GTI Performance Edition 1, celebrating the much improved model’s arrival, will cost from $47,990 but will step performance up to 180kW/370Nm sent to the front wheels via a seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox and a diff lock, among other things.
The Golf R, meanwhile, will start from $52,990 for the hatch version, while the limited-run Golf R Wolfsburg Edition will start form $57,990 for the hatch, with the wagon adding $2000.