In the realm of hot hatches, the undeniable top dog is the Volkswagen Golf R. Sure, you get new cars in the same segment that have more power, more torque and even better performance stats, but they still somehow manage to play second-fiddle to the Golf R. The most recent incarnation of the car has just been spotted playing in the snow, and while the car wears a wrap that purposely camouflages the car, we can still see that it’s been updated from the Mk8 R that was released in 2019. This one will always be referred to as the 8.5 R, the .5 denoting a mid-life facelift, and it’s quite possibly the very last of these cars as we know them. When the 9th-generation eventually surfaces it will still likely be an all-wheel drive affair, but will take power from a pair of electric motors and not a petrol-fed internal combustion engine. This is news that upsets purists, but that is the way of the world and there’s just no way to stop the progress the Mk8 R was the obvious replacement for the Mk7.5 R, and while the technologies, components and accessories were all an evolution of what was, the Mk8 R didn’t really wow enthusiasts as much as Volkswgane would have hoped. There were some changes that were better, but not all were appreciated. The full spec list of the new facelift hasn’t yet been released, but word on the net is that the issues have been addressed and even improved on. On paper, that’s awesome, but we’re going to have to wait until the car ends up in the hands of the motoring press for some proper scrutiny to see if things have changed for the better. The actual release date of the car is still to be confirmed, but seeing as the Mk8 R launched at the end of November 2019 and owners in SA only started taking delivery in 2023, we expect to see these in SA by 2030. Maybe.
The first outing of the new Golf R was at the annual Ice Race in Zell am See. Racing legend Hans-Joachim Stuck and six-time World Rallycross Champion Johan Kristoffersson showcased various new Volkswagen cars by thrashing them around on the ice and snow. In this massive event that looked like heaps of fun, the lineup of cars included The cars included in the test also featured the Mk1 GTI from 1975 along with the granddaddy of all modern R models, the timeless Mk4 R32 from 2002 that must have been the best-sounding car on the ice by a long shot. There was even a rally version of the Mk1 GTI and two rally versions of the Mk 2 Golf. There’s definitely some epic content coming from Volkswagen that was captured at this event, and will likely be distributed through the media site stretched out as long as possible to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the world’s favourite hatchback.
According to Reinhold Ivenz, Head of Volkswagen R, “Volkswagen R is Volkswagen’s premium performance brand and has stood for sportiness and dynamic performance for more than 20 years. Here at the Ice Race, the past meets the future. We can hardly wait for the Golf R, still disguised here, to celebrate its premiere this summer.”
Hans-Joachim Stuck says: “The Ice Race is a real spectacle. Other drivers would be putting on snow chains in these conditions, but for us racing drivers, this is when the fun really starts.” Stuck is a two-time Le Mans winner, former Formula 1 and sports car driver and German touring car champion. “At the Ice Race, you meet true motorsport fans and also many people who otherwise have little contact with motorsport – but go home with a lot of enthusiasm for it,” says Stuck.
Johan Kristoffersson says: “I love driving a powerful all-wheel drive car on ice and snow – especially if it’s an R model.” The Swede won five of his six World Rallycross Championship titles with Volkswagen. He reveals: “It was great fun to sit in the brand-new Golf for the first time. I can only say that even though the Golf R has not yet been revealed, there is a true sports car under the camouflage that fans of the R brand can already look forward to.”
Take a look at the YouTube video that only really cycles the images you see above while giving some information and speculation on the new range-topping Volkswagen hatchback. Being a mid-life facelift it doesn't have too many changes, and some will be slightly obscured thanks to that camouflage wrap, but by all accounts, it looks like a decent update and will also no doubt be a sought-after car: 2025 Volkswagen Golf R with camouflage Teased | DPCcars
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