The most versatile fast VW Golf 8 of all is on the way. Yep, VW is prepping a new Golf R estate (branded ‘Variant’ in some markets), and although we’re not supposed to be seeing it until later in the year, the hot wagon has been given an early reveal.
Perhaps because we were already pretty sure it was coming, and since the way it looks won’t be a surprise, VW hasn’t bothered applying any camouflage to this latest test mule. Last year, a curious R mule with Mk7.5 Golf Alltrack parts was papped, but for this one, VW has merely removed the R branding.
The wheels, bigger brakes, unique front bumper and quad exhaust easily give it away, though. Under all that, it’ll be mechanically identical to the new R hatchback, meaning a 2.0-litre EA888 Evo will live under the bonnet and develop 316bhp.
It’ll be fed to all four wheels via a seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox exclusively. This isn’t a change - unlike the Golf R hatch, the estate has never been available as a manual.
As with the hatch, it’ll have an optional R Performance Torque Vectoring system, which can send anything up to 100 per cent of available torque to a single wheel. The setup leaves understeer “eliminated,” VW says, while also allowing for a no-doubt entertaining ‘drift profile’ in the settings.
You only get all that on the UK-spec Golf R hatch if the R-Performance package is specced. It’s worth going for, though, as it also ups the electronically-limited top speed from 155 to 168mph, enlarges the rear spoiler and puts the R on 19-inch wheels.
As for the estate, we’re expecting a reveal around the mid-point of 2021.