Power boost for

hottest Golf

Volkswagen Golf R, 2017, front, action
Volkswagen Golf R, 2017, front
Volkswagen Golf R, 2017, side, action
Volkswagen Golf R, 2017, rear, action
Volkswagen Golf R, 2017, rear
Volkswagen Golf R, 2017, interior
Volkswagen Golf R, 2017, side
Volkswagen Golf R, 2017, boot

YOU may have heard there's a new Volkswagen Golf about.

But, don't fret, it's a very subtle refresh of the Mk VII which was launched in September 2012.

There's new bumpers front and rear, new halogen headlights with LED daytime running lights or full LED headlights - standard on performance models, optional for others - instead of xenon headlights; new front wings; and new full LED rear lights as standard.

There's also some new technology, new wheel designs and body colours. Fresh trim panels and materials also upgrade the interior.

However, probably the most exciting news about the facelift is reserved for Golf's ‘performance' models - the GTI, GTI Performance and range-topping R.

The latest 1.0 TSI might have virtually the same power as the original 1976 Golf GTI but, things have moved on since then.

Priced from £27,865 on-the-road, the new GTI 2.0-litre - an engine exclusively reserved for it - now produces 230ps. This makes it precisely as powerful as the previous Golf GTI Performance.

The car sprints to 62mph in 6.4 seconds and on to a top speed is 155 mph.

With a manual six-speed gearbox it officially returns 44.1mpg with a CO2 output of 148g/km.

The optional six-speed dual clutch gearbox (DSG) improves fuel consumption to 44.8mpg and CO2 to 145g/km for the three-door car.

That's not all. A 245ps GTI Performance version will be available from May.

However, the daddy of them all, remains the 2.0-litre Golf R, which now boasts a peak output of 310ps - the same as the Nurburgring record-breaking GTI Clubsport S. It's enough to smash the Rs off 0 to 62 mph in as little as 4.6 seconds when matched with VW's newly-developed seven-speed DSG. Top speed is limited to 155mph.

Experienced drivers who take the new Golf R onto the track can tune the car's performance to this specific use by choosing the Race Mode driving profile, which has been added specifically to the R models. Don't forget to deactivate the ESC...

With a six-speed manual gearbox the car officially returns 37.7mpg, rising to 40.9 mpg for the new seven-speed DSG. CO2 is measured at 180g/km and 160g/km respectively.

For the first time, too, the Golf R has two different torque peak figures, depending on gearbox choice. The manual car peaks at a phenomenal 380Nm while the DSG-equipped model stretches further still to 400Nm.

As well as all-wheel drive, the Golf R is, as you'd expect, packed full of wonderfully useful gadgets and safety equipment including VW's Active Info Display, a 12.3-inch high-resolution digital dash display screen, which just adds instant sexiness.

There's ABS, traction control, an electronic differential lock for improved traction and handling, adaptive cruise control including Front Assist, a city emergency braking system, speed limiter and driver alert system.

Comfortable, snug sports seats keep you in place at speed and the ride is surprisingly subtle. It's not as teeth-rattlingly firm as you would expect from such a venomous sportster as this.

Be warned though. Don't drive the Golf R unless you can afford it. With all that power and blistering speed on tap, everyday comfort and sumptuous, stick-to-the-road handling it is an enchanting car to drive.

Even the bellow from the exhausts when accelerating is addictive. You'll never achieve 37.7mpg - even if it was achievable in the real world - because you'll be too busy prodding the speed pedal to feed that addiction.

And you can do the school run or supermarket sweep in it too. What's not to like.

Prices for the Golf R start at £31,865 for the three-door manual rising to £33,935 for the five-door DSG.

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