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Volkswagen Golf R Wagon 2022: more grunt, sharper handling and drift mode


While the Golf R hatch is an equally ferocious and practical machine, for many buyers there is simply no replacement for the wagon version.

Volkswagen has unveiled the Golf R Wagon which largely mirrors the handling and power upgrades seen in the previously unveiled hatch but wraps it in an even more practical package.

The eighth-generation Golf R Wagon is set to arrive early next year alongside the hatchback version, with an exact delivery date hovering around February for the long roof.

Volkswagen Golf R Wagon 2022 rear 3/4 driving 2
Volkswagen has revealed the new eighth-generation Golf R Wagon that will come to Australia early next year

Breaking down the performance:

Under the bonnet sits the faithful EA888 engine, a 2.0L turbocharged four-cylinder unit that has dialled up outputs to 235kW of power and 420Nm of torque this generation. 

For Australians, this represents a notable 22kW increase over the successor after we got a detuned version thanks to our hot climate, a stance which has since been rectified for the current generation.

Volkswagen has coupled the engine to a seven-speed dual-clutch DSG which feeds into the heavily revised 4Motion all wheel drive system.

Volkswagen Golf R Wagon 2022 rear 3/4
The Golf R Wagon features a new torque vectoring system that makes it more agile in the bends

The new drivetrain is able to send 50 per cent of the power to the rear wheels and a new multi-plate clutch pack on the back axle means the car can divert 100 per cent of that allocated power to each wheel.

Engineers say the end result is a far more agile machine than its predecessor and they are so confident in the rear-bias nature that they’ve added a new ‘Drift mode’ which tweaks the ESC setting to allow drivers to swing the back end out with ease.

Also joining the fray is a new ‘Special’ or ‘Nürburgring mode’ specifically designed for the iconic race track – and while Australian buyers are unlikely to ship their Golf up to Germany to test it out the setting first hand, it should come in handy on many of our torn-up backroads. 

While the official specification has yet to be confirmed for Australia, the European version wears larger brake discs on the front axle, with the overall package weighing 600 grams less on each side than the previous version.

Volkswagen Golf R Wagon 2022 front
Volkswagen has programmed in a new Drift and Nürburgring mode which are fairly self-explanatory

Why buy the wagon over the hatch?

Armed with the new power upgrades the Golf R Wagon is capable of a blistering 0-100km/h time of 4.9 seconds, which is actually 0.2 seconds slower than the hatch but the long-roof makes up for this loss in its superb practically. 

The wagon has a 66mm longer wheelbase than the hatch which opens up rear legroom by an extra 38mm. Likewise, the boot swells to 611 litres in the wagon and can expand to 1,642 litres when the rear seats are folded down.

Volkswagen says the wagon is also capable of towing 1.9 tonnes braked, which is enough to pull most small to medium-sized boats and caravans – matching the capability of many midsize SUVs.

Volkswagen Golf R Wagon 2022 boot
With a longer wheelbase, the boot swells to 611 litres in the wagon and can expand to 1,642 litres when the rear seats are folded down

Aside from the dimension changes, the interior of the Golf R Wagon largely mirrors the hatch with specialised features such as a leather steering wheel and sports seats trimmed in a black and blue design.

Other upgrades include the new digital instrument cluster that can even keep track of your lap times as the track without mounting an additional device. 

Volkswagen will release the official specification for the hot Golf model closer to the reveal early next year.