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.