Volkswagen Golf R 333 Limited Edition: The Potent Hatch Missing SA
If we measure a car's greatness by how thrilling it is to drive, the current Golf R is among the best at filling our faces with grins as a phenomenally fast hot hatch and surprisingly easy to live with.
It proved to be a formidable rival during our 2022 Speed Week instalment, and it keeps on dazzling the crowds with its qualities and fierce demeanour shaped by the original Golf 6 R, which replaced the long-standing R32 moniker.
Speaking of the Golf 8 R, it was late to arrive in Mzansi following production constraints due to the Covid-19 pandemic and consequent parts-shortage issues, which saw the R launching in SA roughly four years later.
Missing In Action
The delay subsequently affected the allocation of the limited-run '20 Years' Edition' models in 2022 that was crowned the fastest Golf R around the Nurburgring, and what a miss it was.
Regrettably, we're here to break some unfortunate news. The recently unveiled Golf 8 R 333 is another letdown. Volkswagen SA has confirmed to TopGear SA that this limited-edition model won't hit our showroom floors. As a side note, the locally-built Polo GTI Edition 25 isn't planned for our market either.
The Birth Of An Icon
But then, what is it? It's a more powerful variant of the Golf 8 R that is kitted with all the options.
Just as we foresaw when VW gave us a glimpse of the model last month, it boasts the same EA888 2.0-litre TSI engine that has been tweaked to unleash 245 kW (333 PS or PferdStarke in German) and 420 Nm. This is a hefty boost of 10 kW and 20 Nm compared to the regular Golf 8 R, and if you look closely, these are the same outputs that the Golf R 20 Years Edition delivers.
It has a substantial natural advantage in the form of the brilliant 4Motion all-wheel-drive system, it hurtles from 0-100 km/h in 4.6 seconds (4.8 for the regular R) en route to a top speed raised to 270 km/h as standard. It shifts through the same 7-speed DSG transmission.
Dressed in Lime Yellow Metallic garb, the Golf 8 R 333 Edition has some visual menace added to it. These come in the form of standard goodies such as a black-painted roof, design decals with the '333' insignia on the sides, matrix LED headlights, 19" Estoril black alloys wrapped in semi slicks as well as an Akrapovič exhaust system with titanium tips.
Inside, a sequential numbers badge is placed on the dashboard on the passenger side, while VW has thrown a range of standard features such as adaptive cruise control, a Harman Kardon sound system, and an ID. Drive package, a centre airbag and premium sport seats in Nappa leather to the mix.
The R 333 comes with the R-Performance Torque Vectoring and Drift and Special driving profiles for some added fun.
South Africa didn't get the 20 Years Edition and 333 limited-edition Golf R models, yet the standard Golf R remains the most enticing R we've experienced, providing more thrills on all sorts of roads. We still give it high marks despite its late landing in SA.
Volkswagen says only 333 units of the Golf R 333 Limited Edition will be sold for the German market, and each costs 76,410 euros (roughly R1.6-million). According to VW Germany, the special edition can be ordered at German dealerships from 2 June, and deliveries will begin in October.