2022 Volkswagen Golf R – Bottom Line Review

2022 Volkswagen Golf R: Second Heir to Throne of Teutonic AWD High Performance Hot Hatches satiates Jr. Executive Hoonigans with an MSRP of $44k

PEOPLE’S PREMIUM UBER HEISS HATCH NU. 3 : Jason Bourne, novelist Robert Ludlum’s unassailable assassin who knows too much, has been famously portrayed on the silver screen by actor Matt Damon. However, the Jason Bourne who expertly evades with 180° J-Turns on Moscow streets in a Volga 3110 taxi is winning rallycross driver Tanner Foust.

When German carmaker Volkswagen sought an ambassador for the “R” division Foust got the nod. Either a Volkswagen Polo R WRC and 900 horsepower Rallycross Beetle GRC might be appropriate for hoonigan shenanigans. However, in the Mr. Foust is required to drift into a more gathering, might the new Mark VIII 2022 Volkswagen Golf R über heiss performance hatchback be suggested.

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WHAT: 2022 Volkswagen Golf R 4Motion (VW Group MQB Evo Transverse Matrix Evo platform) performance all-wheel drive compact hatchback. This is the third generation of high performance EA888 turbocharged 4-cylinder 4Motion Golf, which began with the Mk6 Golf R, not counting Mk4 and Mk5 VR-6 propelled Golf R32s.

2022 Volkswagen Golf R: larger turbo inlet and higher fuel pressure on EA888 Evo. 4 engine delivers 315 hp, but the news is new dual rear wheel torque vectoring differential offering Drift capability

Standard Power: EA888 Evo4 transverse 2.0 L intercooled turbocharged DOHC 16V DI gas I-4 = 315 hp/ 280 lb-ft @ 1900 rpm (295 lb-ft @ 2000 w/ optional 7-speed DCT)

  • 6-speed manual helical gear transaxle, optional 7-speed automated dual-clutch helical gear transaxle
  • open front differential, front axle PTU
  • electronic rear viscous wet clutch to dual worm gear + ring gear torque vectoring rear differential 4Motion all-wheel drive
  • variable exhaust

Drive Modes x 5 = Comfort, Sport, Race, Nurbürgring, Drift (traction control disengaged), Custom

WHAT (A) DIFFERENCE(S): Dimensions of the 2022 Golf R to sit on a Volkswagen MQB platform, shadows the preceding Mk7 Golf R footprint. The heritage high beltline, yet tall greenhouse with non-sloping roof, imitate a truncated wagon, with wheels pushed to the corners comes across more as truncated sport wagon than coupe, moreso now that it is exclusively offered in 5-door configuration.

2022 Volkswagen Golf R: Mk. 8 uber heiss hatch is sharper but still dapper

The major distinguishing new cues for ’22 Golf R revolve around a new clamshell dual tandem creased hood, a beltline body crease raised to the door handles, a cheatline crease moved lower, and a mid liftgate bevel crease for a more pronounced Kammback effect.

2022 Volkswagen Golf R: new lateral boomerang segmented LED taillamps provide more angular rear quarters


Other Styling Stand Outs: Horizontal chrome bands bleed into overlapping headlamp tandem DRL’s; Front bumper camouflaged by similar horizontal banding; Exaggerated inboard arrows pinch lower front fascia corners; Raised front wheel arches marry the clamshell hood sides; Muscularly flared beltline creass span to trunk lid; Wide lower body spats; Door mount wing mirrors.

WHY: Supposed last gasp of gas powered People’s “R” sold in the U.S., [before the transition to “R – EV”], is an Uber Mature Uber Heiss Hatch.

WHEN: On-Sale (in the U.S.) since late Winter 2022

WHERE: Volkswagen new car dealers

WHERE MADE: Wolfsburg, Germany (engine: Györ, Hungary)

HOW STRONG: With nary a displacement change or turbocharger boost enhancement to the EA888 evo4 16 valve inline four, higher fuel injection pressure, revised air intake tumble and less restrictive exhaust bump power from the Mk. 7 Golf R by 3% to 315, while torque figures don’t budge from 280 lb-ft, unless a DCT is opted for. An electronic wastegate gets the impeller up to speed with less lag.

• Accelerative prowess is available over a broader demand range without feeling overtaxed. In characteristically VW fashion, 2022 Golf R transmission shifter throws, which are light and positive in casual commuting, seem long and less connecting when hurried. A paradigm of clutch action is found in firmly modulating pedal tension to engagement / disengagement without excessive stiffness.

2022 Volkswagen Golf R: new driver selectable Nurburgring + Drift drive modes displayed on the new Digital Cluster complete the Hoonigan Package

• The steering wheel “R” button does more than merely enhance throttle mapping for Sport or Race modes. It showcases the new Continental supplied e- rear differential capable of locking all engine torque to the wheel with the most grip, helpful in the blistering Nurbürgring track mode. Drift mode goes one step further defeating stability control for tail outs.

+1 Four levels of exhaust attenuation employ resonator valves to augment sounds from non-plussed gurgle to ebullient backpressure pop.

2022 Volkswagen Golf R: drive mode settings include adaptive damping, variable throttle, steering & active exhaust

HOW LIMBER: The Mark 8 VW Golf R has taken the holy grail of compact “Ultra Hot Hatchback” up a noticeable notch. It eases more comfortably into whichever of the multi-environment roles it is tasked with than it’s Mk. 7 Golf R predecessor. Reinforcements to the already brilliant MQB architecture embraces 15 degrees of variable DCC adaptive damping. Comfort settings can match any pedigreed grand tourer for rebound control. On the opposite end chassis dial, a notably stiff “Race” mode tightens compression for maximum tire contact. Still the bumps dispatched by the Mk. 8 Golf R never become full backside whacks available from the late Subaru WRX STI.

2022 Volkswagen Golf R: DCC adaptive suspension damping can be varied from comfortably taut to not quite uncomfortably stiff.

• The contrast blue French stitched, D-shaped perforated leather helm is a wonder to hold. It winds with near prescience but the Bridgestone Potenza S005 gumballs are happier touring grandly, wincing a bit when lateral forces build.

• Amply cooled cross-drilled oversized brake steel discs, squeezed by 4-pot binders in front, dispatch an aggressive bite on short pedal travel.

HOW FAR: 23 miles per gallon combined fuel economy; Premium 91 octane gas = 400 highway miles range.

HOW BIG/ LITTLE: family compact cabin accommodates 2+3 adult seating, though thick front sport seat backs cut into some 2nd Row knee space.

2022 Volkswagen Golf R: front sport bucket seat backs feature split upper and lower map pockets

By Comparison:

HOW USEFUL: 60/40% split flat folding rear seat backs, outboard back releases; Rear seat cargo pass through accommodates one golf bag; Hatch area holds 4 stacked golf bags, width-wise capacity; Hatch area suspended parcel shelf; √ 8 bottle & large cupholders; Center console saddle net pockets

2022 Volkswagen Golf R: center cargo bay pass through supplements split folding 2nd Row seatbacks


  • +1 Front seat backs panels split upper pockets and lower pockets
  • +1 Felt lined long door pockets & glove box; Solid resin cargo floor cover opens to locking wall latches
  • -1 No overhead console sunglasses bin

HOW SAFE: IIHS Top Safety Pick Plus: 6 airbags, Generous hot formed weight saving steel used in structure; -1 Easy to overrun LED headlamp light broadcast

Driver assist technology: Rear camera w/ park gridlines, Blind spot + rear cross traffic warning, Forward collision warning & avoidance; Pedestrian & cyclist avoidance braking; Automatic high beam LED headlamps.

2022 Volkswagen Golf R: driving w/ HUD and ADAS ACC + LDW

Travel Assist Level 2.0 highway autonomy (Std): Adaptive cruise control (rare w/ a manual transmission); Lane keep assist; Side traffic avoidance; +1 the exceptionally parallel space capable Park Pilot Assist.


Perforated leather seats, “R-Line” Shell-style performance front bucket seats w/ exceptional hip and shoulder bolstering; Heated & cooled front seats, driver’s 8-way power w/ lumbar + 2 position memory, passenger’s 2-way power, 4-way manual (incl. height) adjust; R-Line” D-shaped, heated leather tilting, telescoping steering wheel; Front passenger’s height adjustable seat; 2-Zone automatic climate control; SPECIAL MENTION: Personalized multiple drivers preferences; Row 2 digital climate control + heated seats

2022 Volkswagen Golf R: power adjusting heated & cooled supportive leather sport bucket seats w/ heated steering wheel


Cool Gizmo(s): 10.25″ selectable map zooming color LCD Digital Cockpit Pro instrument cluster; Haptics tap / slide smooth panel media, climate control & steering wheel switches; Variable color display, instrument & door panel spanning & footwell ambient light; Soft LED lighting X 2 overhead console, x 2 Row 2 outboard seating positions; Heads Up Display; Row 2 digital 1-zone climate control; “R” front door puddle lamps

2022 Volkswagen Golf R: variable faces of the 10.25″ Digital Cockpit Pro instrument cluster

Details Done Right: Tight grained soft material upper dashboard; Distinctive rocker action integrated steering wheel horizontal spoke driver assist & redundant media switches; Stainless steel covered large pedals and dead pedal; Carbon-fiber dash & door panel accents; Blue seat accents + blue contrast stitched steering wheel + seats; 10-color variable LED cabin ambient lighting; Felt lined oversized door pockets; Durable ballistic cloth at high wear seating points.

2022 Volkswagen Golf R: ambient LED cabin at night

Nearly Non-Descript: -1 Coarse dark gray below waist and wall cabin panels; No transmission shifter illumination; Center console missing switch blank caps.

HOW “APP” -LICABLE: MIB 3 in-dash 10.0″-inch capacitive touch/ gesture LCD infotainment display; HDD GPS Navigation w/ guidance; Voice learning hands-free communications; SMS text messaging; wireless Android Auto/ Apple Car Play / MirrorLink projection; CarNet Apps; 9-speaker, 480 Watt Harman Kardon streaming & HD radio premium audio.

2022 Volkswagen Golf R: MIB 3 voice command + guidance GPS HDD navigation projects onto Digital Cockpit Pro

Subscription based: Sirius XM & Sirius XM TravelLink (90 days included trial); (3 years included), CarNet Info telematics valet

USB-C x 4, 12V x 1; +1 Deep lower center stack mobile device pocket, Qi inductive charging pad; Simple switching between smart device overlay and native navigation;

+/- SMS connectivity requests permission at each start; Native navigation map cannot be simultaneously displayed on Virtual Digital Cockpit and Media Screen; Digital CD Player inside glovebox; the H-K audio is bass heavy but not as airy as the old Dynaudio systems.

-1 Media display = fingerprints never seemed so greasy; Busy infotainment screen icons and drop-down sub-menus; TravelLink app locks out Digital Cockpit map mode; Tiny MIB 3 infotainment display direct access center stack buttons

HOW MUCH: $44,640 = 2022 Volkswagen Golf R 4Motion manual list price

WHAT’S MISSING: Bring back the media, climate control old knobs and buttons (a wish being granted in 2023); More door panel & dash padding or ornamental contrast panels; Some nice old USB-A power ports

ANY COMPETITION: Audi S3 (7-speed DCT only) +1 cabin trim and displays ; Mini John Cooper Works Clubman (8-speed automatic only) +1 wagon utility, road feel

FINAL WORDS: Americans get their discounted Audi S3 sportback by another badge.

(Contributing Editor: Tomasz Paluch)


    • The enthusiast within us can’t resist a true Hoonigan’s Q-Car which doubles as a dapper grand tourer. Cheers, Dimitri.

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