So-called ‘special edition’ models without any improvements to the vehicle’s performance have become far too common (we’re looking at you, BMW M3 Edition 50 Jahre and Hyundai i30 N N-Drive). However, Volkswagen is bucking this trend with the launch of the new Golf R 20 Years, celebrating two decades since the arrival of the Golf R32, with performance and aesthetic modifications making it the most potent production Golf ever.
The upgrades begin under the bonnet, with the turbocharged 2-litre four-cylinder engine now producing 328bhp, a 12bhp increase over the regular model. Tweaks to the car’s turbocharger improve the engine’s responsiveness, while a new “Emotional Start” function produces an aggressive 2,500rpm blast of revs at startup, nicely amplified by the Akrapovic exhaust system. Further tweaks have been made to the vehicle’s software, enabling snappier and more responsive shifts from the seven-speed DSG gearbox. As a result, an improvement over the standard Golf R’s 4.7 seconds 0-62mph time is likely, though there’s no official confirmation.
The new Golf R 20 Years now sits on standard-fit 19-inch wheels, which can be painted in a unique Lapiz Blue shade and wrapped in optional Michelin Cup 2 tyres. You’ll notice bespoke “R 20” badging scattered across the car‘s rear bumper and door pillar, while a sleek application of carbon fibre has been applied to the car’s interior dashboard to remind you you’re driving something special. The Mk8’s £2,050 R Performance Pack now features as standard, adding an eye-catching rear wing and raising the electronic speed limiter from 155mph to 167mph.
Prices and final UK specifications are yet to be confirmed but expect the Golf R 20 Years to start from more than £50,000 ($62,534.50). Production numbers aren’t likely to be limited, but Volkswagen has confirmed it will stop producing this upgraded Golf R variant in the middle of 2023.