Waiting for the Golf TCR that Volkswagen South Africa doggedly refuses to confirm or deny in the face of mounting rumours? Well bridging the gap and winding down the clock until the Golf Eight arrives later this year is the most powerful version of the Golf R in South Africa.
Look at the raw stats; 228kW and 400Nm. That’s a gain of 15kW but it’s also no coincidence that the 2019 Golf R now finally enjoys performance parity with Audi’s S3. Prejudice towards Volkswagen’s handicapped hot hatch compared to Audi’s is now null and void – except perhaps for Audi’s higher brand cachet tipping the scales.
The cynical among us will be curious to know how VW suddenly liberated the extra power when for years we were repeatedly told that our hot weather climate and Golf’s restricted cooling through the front bumper meant it could not match the S3’s output despite sharing the same mechanical components in the ubiquitous 2.0-litre 4cyl turbo engine. The S3 still claims a quicker 0 to 100kph versus the new Golf R by 0.2secs – point to the 30kg weight difference and different gearboxes to explain that one.
And for your R676 000 – R20 000 more than a standard S3 which nobody buys – you get features like adaptive cruise control, panoramic roof, blind spot monitoring and the widest, brightest, gesture-controllest touchscreen VW has this side of a Touareg. The exterior communicates those 15kW through new titanium exhausts positioned further apart than before, a new alloy wheel called Pretoria and optional R Performance brakes, although VW’s been quite vague about what that entails. And why make them optional?
Perhaps this is VWSA’s own riposte to the TCR? Would you willingly pay more for the lower-powered, front-wheel drive TCR? To our mind this is as high up the Golf chain as you can climb…before climbing into an Audi S3 or upcoming Mercedes-AMG A 35.