The hot hatch was sharing the track with the not-for-America Golf R wagon.
In the Golf world, the ICE age is nearly over. The upcoming Mk8.5 will be the last hurrah for the ever-so-popular hatch with combustion engines, as Wolfsburg has said the ninth-gen model will be an EV. Before the last drop of gas goes into the fuel tank, Volkswagen is giving the compact car a final update. Our spies have already caught the regular versions and the GTI, so it’s only natural we’re now getting the opportunity to see the R.
Dust off the magnifying glass to see what’s different on this Golf R because the changes are discreet. The good news is that VW didn’t even bother to camouflage the skinnier headlights. These have a flatter look and appear to be slightly narrower near the grille, but you must be a Golf enthusiast to notice the change. There seems to be body-colored camo on the front bumper judging by the crinkled tape, although the changes are likely nothing to write home about.
The 2024 model year marks the end of the six-speed manual gearbox in the United States, not just for the R, but also for the front-wheel-drive GTI. However, there is a glimmer of hope the clutch pedal might not be dead after all. According to Autocar, VW had a change of heart about discontinuing the 6MT in the wake of loosened Euro 7 regulations. It’s only a rumor at this point, so take it with a proverbial pinch of salt.
The Golf GTI and R in the United States are already 2024 models, so the facelift won’t arrive sooner than the 2025 model year. With the ninth-gen Golf due around 2028, it means you’ll have three to four years to get a hot hatch with a turbocharged gasoline engine.
The Golf Mk 8.5 Is Coming Next Year:
VW has said the GTI and R will live on in the electric era and has already introduced a conceptual GTI without a combustion engine.