The VW Golf R Mk8.5 Is On The Way With A ‘Black Label’ Version

With the arrival of the facelifted Golf comes a new R, and this camouflaged mule is our first look
The VW Golf R Mk8.5 Is On The Way With A ‘Black Label’ Version

With the arrival of the Mk8.5 Volkswagen Golf GTI last week, it was only a matter of time before the R version would make an appearance. It turns out VW isn’t hanging around, giving us an early look at the high-performance hatch with this camouflaged mule which we saw during January’s F.A.T Ice Race in Austria.

Set to arrive later in 2024, the R will follow the rest of the range’s updates. There are a few styling tweaks evident even with the camo wrap - namely a reworked front bumper with a light-up VW badge, plus new head and taillights.

VW Golf Mk8.5, rear
VW Golf Mk8.5, rear

The Akrapovic exhaust, raised spoiler and rear diffuser look to remain untouched, though, along with the original Mk8 R’s wheels carried over.

The biggest changes will come inside the car. Much like the rest of the Mk8.5 VW Golf range, we’re expecting the R to come with the 12.9-inch infotainment system with ChatGPT built in, plus the return of physical buttons to the steering wheel as well. The bizarre omission of backlighting for the original car’s temperature shortcut slider should be rectified too, although it’d have been better still to see some physical controls.

The VW Golf R Mk8.5 Is On The Way With A ‘Black Label’ Version

Mechanical changes are likely to be non-existent, although an ECU rework could see the base car’s power lifted from 316bhp to as much as 329bhp as seen in the recent R 20 Years special edition. If that’s the case, expect a 0-62mph sprint of 4.6 seconds as with the special edition, shaving a tenth from the current base R.

Car Throttle sat down with Kai Grunitz, VW’s head of technical development, at a roundtable interview, who mentioned a “Black Label” version could see some visual changes to the car. When asked to elaborate further, he added: “You will see”. Presumably, this will be little more than a trim package but we’ll hold out some small hope for an AMG-esque Black Series special edition.


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