Get your checkbooks ready, Volkswagen fans: the German automaker has announced the uber-hot 2012 Golf R hatchback will start at $34,160 -- including destination -- when it goes on sale stateside early next year.
What does that money buy you? The most powerful Golf ever sold in America, for starters. The Golf R uses a version of the company’s 2.0-liter direct-injection turbocharged I-4. Thanks to a larger turbo and some stronger internal components, the engineers managed to crank output up to a stout 256 hp and 243 lb-ft of torque – roughly 56 ponies over the current GTI and 6 hp more than its successor, the 2008 R32. Thanks to a smaller engine, the Golf R bests the R32 when it comes to fuel economy: the new model is rated at 19/27 mpg (city/highway), which trumps the R32 by one and four miles per gallon, respectively.
Power is sent from the 2.0T through a six-speed manual gearbox (no automatic is available) and to a Haldex all-wheel-drive system, which can send up to 100 percent of the engine’s torque to the rear wheels. The Golf R is available in either three- or five-door hatchback configurations; adding an extra pair of doors to the Golf R will increase the aforementioned price by a scant $600.
Predictably, the Golf R comes with most Golf options boxes ticked: the $34,160 three-door base model is equipped with leather seats, dual-zone automatic climate control, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, Bluetooth and iPod connectivity, and an eight-speaker sound system with an in-dash six-CD changer. Outside, the car features LED running lights and adaptive Bi-Xenon headlamps, which swivel up to 15 degrees left or right based on steering input.
Options are limited to a single package.The Sunroof and Navigation pack adds both a power tilt-and-slide sunroof and RNS 315 touchscreen navigation system, along with keyless entry and ignition, and an upgraded 300-watt Dynaudio sound system. All told, the Sunroof and Navigation package adds $2100 to the Golf R’s window sticker.
Like what you see? As long as you’re fine with purchasing your hot hatch in one of five colors--blue, white, gray, red, or black--it might be time to put in a call to your local VW dealer. If you’re lucky, you’ll see the new sporty hatchback some time early next year.