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First Drives

The Golf VI’s Last Hurrah Is Pure Niche

This was in the heart of the ultra-chic Côte d’Azur during winter. The car to be tested was the not-for-North America 2013 Volkswagen Golf R Cabriolet. Prevailing weather conditions here this time of year are bizarrely pleasant, as though a dome of Swarovski crystal has been placed over the entire region to protect it from any real winter spoiling things. And the zippy Golf R Cabriolet is a sports car designed precisely for this area’s preciously narrow winding streets, as well as for the lofty budgets of its property owners.

So then why was it snowing like we were in northern Michigan? The weather front hit from the north like a swift kick to the Jordaches. The roof was open on this Candy White Golf R Cabrio and I, as is my wont, was determined through thick or thin to keep it retracted. It had been raining and sometimes sleeting like the End of Days, but I kept the lid cracked because the 261-horsepower cabrio – the most powerful convertible ever built by Comments

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2012 Volkswagen Golf R - front three-quarter view

The seventh-generation Golf R will be more powerful than the current version, producing 268 horsepower and 280 pound-feet of torque, making it the most powerful production Golf ever.

Powering the new Golf R will be a further evolution of Volkswagen’s well-liked 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-four, and when mated to a six-speed dual-clutch transmission, the hotter hatch will reportedly be able to sprint to 62 miles per hour in five seconds flat. That’s over half a second quicker than the current US-spec model.

Other updates for the new Golf R include the addition of VW’s Haldex 5 all-wheel-drive system found in the latest iteration of 4Motion. Furthermore, thanks to the use of lightweight materials, the new R is expected to weigh in around 2,650 pounds – that’s a massive 675 pounds less than the current US-spec car. The exhaust has reportedly been reworked to provide more aural delight, as well.

Herein lies the rub, though: It’s unclear whether or not Volkswagen will offer this same power upgrade in the States. After all, the current US-spec Golf R is rated at 256 hp and 243 lb-ft while its Euro counterpart produces 270 hp and 258 lb-ft. What’s more, European versions can be had with the delicious six-speed DSG, whereas US models are only available with the six-speed manual ‘box. Volkswagen’s US arm tells Volkswagen Top News that since the car is still so far off, “there is no final decision” on whether our car will be identical to the Euro model.

Autocar reports that the Euro-spec Golf R will make its debut at the Comments

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2014 Volkswagen Golf R prototype spy shot - front three-quarter view

We’re waiting to see the genuine Mk VII A prototype of the hot version of VW’s hatch was spotted in a wild camo party dress a few weeks ago, and now the snappers at CarPix have caught it again without the camo and in basic black.

The adjustments we’d expect are there, in unfinished form, such as the larger intakes in front and quad pipes in back, and the cruise-control radar gets a prominent spot in the middle of the lower intake. The all-black low-profile routine certainly ups the stealth quotient, and perhaps it’s just our eyes, but the five-door seen here doesn’t look as intense as the outgoing model. We’ll know for sure when we get a look at it at the Comments

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The Mk VII about 150 pounds lighter than the Mk VI, but a graphic that looks like an indication of where high-strength steels are used is captioned with “More comfort. More safety. -100 kg,” meaning an even more impressive 220-pound drop is apparently in store.

As one would expect, dimensions have grown all around. Overall length is up by 2.2 inches, wheelbase grows by 2.3 inches, the stretch meaning a mite more room for passengers in front and back with a cabin length increased by 0.56 inches. Even with the added girth, fuel economy is said to rise by as much as 23 percent.

The available feature set has also grown, with cylinder deactivation, the front transverse differential lock Comments

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2014 Volkswagen Golf R prototype - front three-quarter spy shot

Here we have spy shots of the 2014 Mk7 Golf will be about 150 pounds lighter than the current model.

The present Golf R makes 256 horsepower from its 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder, but with The future is diesel and all-wheel-drive,” so if there’s an oil-burner under the hood, don’t be surprised. Either way, power will get to all four wheels via six-speed manual or a dual-clutch DSG gearbox.

Even the snakeskin camo on this Comments

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