New Volkswagen Golf R Estate spied without camouflage

The 2021 Volkswagen Golf R Estate is hot on the heels of the recently launched high-performance version of VW’s hatchback and has been spotted winter testing undisguised.

It’s our first look at the new hot estate model, which is clearly sporting the same deeper front bumper as the five-door Golf R, incorporating a larger grille to help cool the tuned engine.

Bigger alloy wheels cover the R department’s trademark blue brake calipers, which clamp bigger discs, signifying an upgraded braking system compared with lesser Golf Estates. This late-stage prototype version of the R is sporting some chunkier side sills too.

At the rear there’s another Golf R trademark, as the souped-up Mk8 model is sporting a quad-exit exhaust housed in a more aggressive rear bumper. Interestingly, the car in our pictures is fitted with a towbar too, so the Golf R should be able to tow a trailer.

That’s no surprise, given the likely power on offer. The five-door Golf R uses a 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine that produces 235kW and 420Nm.

Coupled to a seven-speed DSG dual-clutch automatic gearbox and four-wheel drive, it propels the regular R from 0-100km/h in 4.7 seconds. Given the increased size and therefore weight of the Estate, we expect it to be a few tenths of a second slower, but performance should still be punchy.

Expect the same range of chassis adjustments for the Golf R Estate, including a 15mm drop in ride height compared with a regular Golf Estate. Torque vectoring for the 4MOTION four-wheel drive system should also feature, with a new set-up that can distribute torque between the rear wheels (as well as the usual front-rear variable split) to help improve agility.

Volkswagen’s Vehicle Dynamics Manager – a feature fitted to all Mk8 performance Golfs so far – integrates the Golf R’s XDS electronic differential lock and the Dynamic Chassis Control adaptive dampers, which offer 15 different settings for the suspension, so expect it to feature here as well.

On the Golf R hatch buyers can spec an R-Performance package, which increases the car’s top speed from an electronically limited 250km/h to 270km/h, and adds larger 19-inch wheels (18-inch alloys are standard), a bigger rear spoiler for more downforce, and two extra driving modes – including a Drift setting to make the most of the rear-axle technology as part of the four-wheel drive set-up.

The big benefit this Golf R Estate will bring is practicality. The regular Mk8 Golf Estate offers up 611 litres of luggage space but only comes in front-wheel-drive form. It’s not yet known if the 4MOTION system and associated multi-link rear suspension set-up will see this figure decrease slightly for the R, but there’ll still be plenty of room.

Sean Carson

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